Finding the right candidate to lead impactful communications
The National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health builds Latina power to guarantee rights to reproductive health, dignity, and justice. With an open Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communications position, they wanted to rethink and re-establish the role of communications in advancing the mission.
How can communications support the mission?
Our work with the Latina Institute began with this question. Before spearheading the hiring process, we developed a strategic framework to answer it using insights from members of their senior leadership and communications teams.
The Latina Institute’s mission is multifaceted; they elevate Latina leaders, mobilize families and communities, transform the cultural narrative, and catalyze policy change. The communications team supports many aspects of this work, but with limited capacity it hasn’t always been clear where they should prioritize their efforts. By aligning on the organization’s mission-driven communications goals from the beginning, we equipped everyone in the hiring process with the tools they needed to select the right candidate.
Gaining insights from leadership and communications teams
We kicked off our work by facilitating a session with the Latina Institute’s leadership team. We led conversations on the current state of communications at the organization—strengths, weaknesses, and unseized opportunities. Together, we determined the core functions of communications at the Latina Institute, and brainstormed the skills and competencies the new Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communications would need to have under their belt to make it all happen.
Then, we held a second session to get input from communications staff. Team members outlined the structure of the department and its major workflows and processes. They identified where the communications team was thriving and where they felt challenged or unequipped to succeed. We listened to their vision for communications as a whole and the leadership qualities they felt were vital for the new hire to embody.
Defining the purpose of communications
Based on our conversations with leadership and staff, we created a strategic framework for communications at the Latina Institute. We outlined primary goals and key audiences, offered options for optimizing the department’s structures and functions, and wrote a profile for the Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communications role, including critical skills and competencies. The framework was an essential resource throughout the recruitment process and provided a useful guide for the new hire as they transitioned into the organization.
Reducing unconscious bias
Using the framework, we crafted a simple and compelling job description and ad, framing responsibilities and qualifications through the lens of the communications strategy and goals.
To ensure that every candidate who applied received fair and equitable consideration, we identified several points in the process to mitigate the interviewer’s unconscious bias.
The Latina Institute attracted a strong pool of qualified candidates to be interviewed by staff and leadership. In the last round of interviews, we assigned finalists an exercise that gauged their capacity for strategic thinking and gave them an opportunity to showcase their most relevant professional achievements.
Big Duck helped us align on goals for the role and our communications department as a whole. Not only did we find a great candidate, the strategic framework they created will serve us for years to come.”
As a result
The Latina Institute hired an excellent candidate with deep roots in reproductive justice and strong communication skills. Equipped with a framework for communications and guided by an aligned leadership team, this person stepped into their role with clear expectations and goals.