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Communications Director

Bush Foundation
Job Title: Communications Director
Job Type:
Saint Paul
Job Search Ends:
November 26th, 2017
Organization's Website:


Ballinger | Leafblad is proud to present the following information on behalf of our client, the Bush Foundation, in its search for a Communications Director.


The Bush Foundation is a private foundation based in St. Paul, Minnesota focused on investing in great ideas and the people who power them. Established in 1953 by 3M executive Archibald Bush and his wife, Edyth, the Foundation works in communities across Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and the 23 Native nations that share the same geography.


The Foundation uses its resources – financial and otherwise – to inspire and support creative problem solving, within and across sectors, to make our region better for everyone. 
The Foundation does this in two primary ways:

By supporting people and organizations working on the issues that are most important to their communities. The primary programs in this area include:

  • Communications and Convenings, where the Foundation shares stories of the people and organizations they invest in, and creates and supports events that inspire, equip and connect people across the regions served.
  • Community Innovation grants and the Bush Prize, where the Foundation supports organizations who are trying or demonstrating innovative approaches to solving community problems.
  • Leadership Programs, connecting leaders with people and ideas through the Bush Fellowship Program and Change Network.

By advancing specific strategic issues that are a priority to the Foundation through our strategic initiatives. Their current strategic initiatives include:

  • Education – Make education more relevant for all students.
  • Native Nation Building – Strengthen tribal governance.
  • Community Creativity - Make art central to problem solving.
  • Social Business Ventures – Help people do good through business.

Job Summary


The Foundation’s communications strategy is an essential part of its effort to inspire, equip and connect people working to make our region better for everyone.  As such, communications is much more than a support function. The Foundation thinks of communications as a program. In addition to strategic communications work, the team manages event sponsorship grants and produces major events and convenings. They also play a vital role in lifting up the projects and people the Foundation has invested in by developing and distributing compelling narratives.

Major projects include:


In 2014, the Foundation’s annual report was reimagined as an alumni magazine, designed to showcase the work of and build connections among current and past Bush Fellows and grantees.


In 2014, the Foundation implemented a new, large annual event called bushCONNECT (bushCON for short) designed in partnership with more than 30 other organizations. This event brings together leadership hubs from around the region along with Foundation grantees and current and past Bush Fellows. This strategy has expanded since then to include major events in North Dakota, South Dakota and Greater Minnesota. In 2017, the Foundation took bushCON on the road, sponsoring scholarships for more than 200 people from the region so that they could attend premier events like the Aspen Ideas Festival and Poptech. bushCON will return to the Twin Cities in 2018.


The Communications Director advances the goals of the Bush Foundation by providing strategic leadership of and daily direction for the Communications Team to build public understanding of and promote the Foundation’s strategy. The Communications team works to maximize the impact of the Foundation’s investments by amplifying, linking and promoting the great ideas and people that we’ve invested in. 
The team’s main priorities are:

  • to refine and maintain the Foundation’s website
  • to create and deliver amazing events and materials that introduce and connect leaders in this region to each other and
  • to lift up the projects and people that we’ve invested in through a proactive media relations strategy.

This team is one of the three on the Foundation’s Community Network team -- Communications, Leadership Programs and Community Innovation -- that share similar goals of inspiring, equipping and connecting individuals and organizations in the region to effectively lead change. 


  • Provide thought leadership across the Foundation on strategic and tactical communications.
  • Provide leadership, direction and operational management to the four members of the Communications team.
  • Create and continually refine a strategic communications plan that:
    • Manages and refines the Bush Foundation brand and other communications assets
    • Maximizes communications channels such as the website, marketing collateral, social media, etc.
    • Engages Bush Fellows and other key allies in the work of the Foundation.
    • Utilizes established and new media partnerships.
    • Builds networks of individuals and organizations.
    • Uses storytelling to capture and share lessons, stories and data related to the Foundation’s work.
  • Play a significant external role, representing the Foundation in the community and influencing regional dialogue and action.
  • Implement and direct internal and external communication initiatives, including Foundation special events and networking convenings.
  • Maintain positive reactive and proactive media relations.
  • Direct planning and budgeting for the Communications team.
  • Work with other program teams to develop, plan and budget for their communications strategies. Participate in proposal review and selection for grant and fellowship programs across the Foundation.
  • Serve as part of Management Team and ensure cross-foundation alignment on strategic direction and operations.
  • Actively demonstrate core organizational values in performing all duties.


  • At least seven years of experience and demonstrated success leading and managing complex work projects in highly collaborative and dynamic organizations. Supervisory experience is required, with demonstrated ability to lead a team effectively. 
  • Knowledge of the region, communities and media in the area where the Bush Foundation works is a plus. Experience working in or with rural/non-metro media partners is especially useful. 
  • High degree of responsiveness and ability to manage multiple projects with tight deadlines.
  • Persuasive and clear written and verbal communication skills.
  • Strategic and tactical experience using social media and other communication tools.
  • Strong relationship-building skills, with experience engaging a broad and varied group of organizations and people, and comfort working at all levels of organizations in a wide variety of community and organizational settings.
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively interact, communicate and collaborate with people from a wide range of cultural backgrounds.  


The compensation package for this position is competitive and includes participation in the organization’s benefits plan.


View the complete profile at:

For more information about this position, please join an informational webinar on Thursday, October 26 from 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m. central time. Click this link https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/4202949553896544514  at any time to sign up for the webinar. If you wish to remain anonymous on the webinar, please sign up as Archibald Bush. A recording of the webinar will be available at this same link after the webinar airs live.

How to Apply

For additional information and/or to apply for the position please email a cover letter, current resume and compensation requirements to Lars Leafblad via lars-at-ballingerleafblad.com. Review of candidates will begin immediately.

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