Senior/Communications Officer, France, Middle East and Southern Europe, London, United Kingdom 193 views

Application Deadline: January 15, 2021

At the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation we believe that by creating an environment for our employees to personally and professionally thrive, we will have maximum impact toward our missions to achieve our vision.

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Division Summary

In June 2020, the foundation hired a Chief Communications Officer and established a new Communications Division to oversee the foundation’s global communications strategy. The division brings together internal and external communications to advance the foundation’s mission of a more equitable world.

Group Summary

In addition to being a member of the Communications Division, this role will also be part of the Donor Government Relations team which leads the foundation’s geographic presence in the largest donor countries outside North America and China, covering Europe (with a focus on UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, the Nordics, Netherlands and European Union institutions,) the Middle East (Arab league countries) and the Asia-Pacific region (Japan, South Korea and Australia). Our focus is on government donors and we are most active in Europe, whose governments represent over half of global foreign aid. However, the nature of our work means that we also frequently engage with non-government actors such as the media, civil society organisations, think-tanks and academic institutions as we seek to make the case for sustained commitment to international development programs.

Leadership & Culture

Our culture shapes our choices about what we do and how we do it. We believe that energized people, working well together, fueled by great leadership in an inclusive environment can do extraordinary things. We expect foundation employees to intentionally and consistently embody our four agreements; show respect, offer trust, be transparent, and create energy.

Position Summary

Act as the strategic communications lead for France, the Middle East and Southern Europe (Italy and Spain). Primary focus will be on France as a deep engagement priority country for the foundation where this role will work closely with our French government relations team, Global Communications team and agency partners to build integrated advocacy and communications strategies for France which help to build awareness and understanding of the foundation’s work and helps to advance our organizational objectives. Secondary focus will be on leading a lighter touch communications approach for the Middle East region as a moderate engagement region (with a focus on the UAE and Qatar). This role will also have responsibility for the Southern European region (Spain and Italy) where the scope of work will primarily be on any risk management and opportunistic engagement. The Senior (SCO)/Communications Officer (CO) will form a crucial part of the small Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific (EMAP) communications team based in London and Berlin and will form part of the country teams for each of their allocated countries/regions.

The S/CO will work in partnership with the Global Communications and Program Advocacy and Communications teams to ensure our country communications strategies support the global communications and advocacy priorities in their target geographies. The role will also manage in-country agency resources. The country focus split will be roughly 75% France, 20% Middle East, 5% Southern Europe split which may vary over time given key priorities.

The overall strategic scope of the role is to:

Protect and build foundation’s reputation in these key donor markets

Build a supportive enabling environment for commitments to international development

Build awareness of, and support for, our programmatic objectives as relevant

Work with the wider partner and stakeholder community to advocate for support to global health and development programs

More specifically, for France, the S/CO will lead the foundation’s reactive risk management and proactive earned media approach, coordinate local language writing support to advance our objectives, work with our insights team to ensure we have research and insights to help inform our strategies and those of our partners, manage any in country branded content and event execution, and lead all aspects of communications related to specific critical initiatives executed in the country. The role will act as a thought partner to the country government relations lead, global communications, program and advocacy communications teams, other internal partners, and also relevant partners and grantees in market to ensure we smartly use foundation and partner assets in support of our communications and advocacy objectives in these important donor markets.

For the Middle East, the S/CO’s focus will primarily be on reactive risk management and limited proactive earned media approach in support of select brand building or advocacy related objectives. For Spain and Italy, the core focus will be on ensuring we remain attuned to any risks that emerge in those countries that could adversely impact our reputation and executing responsive media strategies on a limited basis as required.

Core Responsibilities

Prepare all communications activities in support of major foundation initiatives such as leadership trips/virtual event participation, foundation events, partner initiatives, and key advocacy moments

Ensure consistent communications engagement in these markets including story pitching, foundation spokesperson outreach, and capitalizing on foundation communications assets with relevance to the market

Lead the foundation’s proactive response to news cycles in market as deemed appropriate, ensuring we opportunistically inject foundation voice into existing market conversations with relevance to the foundation’s priorities

Manage the foundation’s reputation in these markets

Ensure all issues with implications for the foundation are closely tracked and that we work closely with appropriate colleagues to respond to risks as required

Lead on media relations activities to ensure we have a sustained media relations strategy and engagement program in place for priority markets.

Handle day-to-day media requests in core markets to ensure that we respond quickly and thoughtfully to media requests as they occur



external communications

global health

italian language


media relations

middle east

north america

political science

public relations

risk management

southern europe

strategic communication

Develop the key relationships with influential and emerging media voices

Manage agency resources to ensure these effectively support our country communications strategies

Work with Seattle teams to develop integrated editorial calendar and integrated campaign execution in country to support the foundation’s priorities

Act as day-to-day liaison with grantees and partners in priority markets to ensure clear, compelling and consistent communications on our principle issues and to ensure that we take advantage of communications opportunities as they arise

Position Reports to: Deputy Director, Communications, Europe, Middle East & Asia-Pacific

Core Knowledge and Skills

Understanding of the political, cultural and media contexts of the countries which the role will be responsible for.

Media relations and risk management expertise.

Demonstrates understanding of various tools and channels of communications within and external to the organization.

Contributes to efforts to simplify the message and provides ideas that align to the communications strategy.

Stays current in the evolving landscape of various channels and distribution approaches.

Connects the team’s vision to the foundation’s mission and strategies.

Proficient in French and English with knowledge of Arabic desirable. Some Spanish and/or Italian language skills also desirable.

Education and Experience

Masters or Bachelor’s degree in relevant field; Communications, Journalism, Literature, Public Relations, Political Science or other relevant area of study

Mid-to-senior level experience in similar roles in communications, journalism, public policy, or a related field, including management experience, collaborative experience with a wide range of internal and external partners, and excellent communications skills.

Experience working in non-profit/public health, government, communications agency, or private sector organization is strongly preferred.

*Must be able to legally work in the country where this position is located without visa sponsorship.


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