Chief Communications Officer

The Chief Communications Officer (CCO), a newly created position, will be a key member of Helmsley’s senior leadership team and a thought partner to the CEO and Trustees.  S/he will work closely with the CEO and Trustees in determining Helmsley’s strategic goals and objectives, with a focus on communications – ensuring alignment between vision and messaging. 

Based in New York City, the CCO is responsible for providing strategic vision and leadership for a communications team whose mission is to work across all of Helmsley’s global priorities to enhance Helmsley’s reputation, broaden programmatic reach and deepen the impact of grantmaking, leading to increased awareness about the issues, mission, and work Helmsley supports. S/he will ensure alignment across the organization and will work in close partnership with the program areas and Helmsley leadership to drive a strategic communications strategy that leverages and tells the consistent story of impact on behalf of the organization and its programmatic focus areas. 


Internal Communications:

  • Leading Helmsley’s internal communication efforts with the objective of informing and engaging Helmsley staff and enabling knowledge sharing across the organization. 
  • Collaborating with the senior leadership team to ensure effective communications and messaging throughout the entire organization. Creating means for two-way communications, including employee feedback and sharing of ideas and best practices.
  • Ensuring that Helmsley’s culture, values and beliefs are integrated into its communication efforts and are consistent across programs and departments.

Program and Grantee Communications:

  • Working in a highly integrated way with the program teams to develop and align communications as a strategic tool and approach to help them achieve their programmatic goals.
  • Supporting the grantees in their communications and press work to help advance their impact and attract more capital to their causes.

External Communications:

  • Executing communications and media strategies to add value and enhance relationships with key stakeholders around the world.
  • Leading Helmsley’s web, digital and social media functions in support of all the communications activities; overseeing the content and design of Helmsley’s website.

Executive Communications:

  • Serving as the senior communications advisor to Helmsley’s leadership team and Trustees; providing proactive executive communication support for presentations, articles, speeches, and other materials to expand Helmsley’s thought leadership.

Health Communications Grants:

  • Overseeing Helmsley’s health communications-related grants including working closely with program teams to identify issues/causes to invest in, measure outcomes, and communicate impact.

Management and Leadership:

  • Providing day-to-day leadership and management to a high performing team of communications professionals in support of Helmsley’s objectives. Hiring the talent needed to achieve goals, providing coaching/ mentorship, supporting employee development, and recognizing achievements and lessons learned.

The ideal candidate is a leader of unquestionable vision and breadth with practical experience in the communications field. Working with colleagues with varying content specialties, the CCO will be responsible for shaping a coherent and nuanced approach for Helmsley’s internal, programmatic, external, and executive communications. The successful candidate will be someone who has previously driven change and has the persistence and perseverance to advance the communications function.

The CCO will exhibit the intellectual gravitas and curiosity to understand the broad, complex and differentiated contexts in which Helmsley’s grantees work.  Furthermore, s/he must bring a highly attuned cultural competency to operate effectively across a diverse and truly global constituency, so as to move and communicate seamlessly among and with different people, audiences, and influencers.

The successful candidate should be committed to Helmsley’s mission of achieving significant, lasting and measurable results in its areas of interest and commitment, and share Helmsley’s core values.

In terms of the performance and personal competencies required for the position, we would highlight the following:

  • Impact, Impression, and Communication: Is highly articulate and makes arguments in a compelling, logical, to-the-point manner.  Communicates with passion, energy, intensity, and enthusiasm.  Displays executive presence and confidence, gained in part through experience in a relationship-based position where effective communication skills influenced outcomes.  Stellar leadership skills that complement outstanding technical skills. A balanced ego and willingness to be hands-on in a role that is demanding.  Possesses exceptional writing and editing skills.
  • Strategic Acumen: Understands the big picture of Helmsley’s goals and role in the philanthropic sector and persuasively communicates a long-term vision for Helmsley to capitalize on opportunities. Anticipates future opportunities and challenges and develops communication strategies to address them. Serves as a trusted advisor often beyond the scope of purely communications.
  • Judgment: Relates organizational and communication decisions to core values and strategy.  Demonstrates sound thinking in evaluating appropriate risks.  Makes decisions that balance a variety of factors to achieve an optimal outcome.  Makes sound decisions quickly and efficiently. Demonstrates high integrity and courage in one’s own convictions and follows through on commitments.
  • Developing and Leveraging Relationships: Has a strong network of external relationships, including the press.  Builds and sustains excellent relationships at multiple levels in the workplace.  Gains the respect of senior leadership and the Trustees, while serving as a trusted advisor.  Uses relationship networks strategically and openly to accomplish objectives.

The position is based at Helmsley’s main office in New York City. We have retained Russell Reynolds Associates to assist with the search process for this role.  Please send a cover letter and resume to In compliance with federal law, all persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and to complete the required employment eligibility verification document form upon hire.


The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust aspires to improve lives by supporting exceptional efforts in the U.S. and around the world in health and select place-based initiatives.  Since beginning its active grantmaking in 2008, Helmsley has committed more than $1.5 billion for a wide range of charitable purposes.  For more information on Helmsley, visit

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by the incumbent(s) of this job.  They are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all responsibilities and activities required for the position.  Nothing in this job description restricts management’s right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities to this job at any time.