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Assistant Director – Corporate Reputation Communications

At Northwestern Mutual, we are strong, innovative and growing. We invest in our people. We care and make a positive difference.

We're strong and growing.  In a company with such a long and storied history, this may be the most exciting and important time to be a part of Northwestern Mutual. We're strong, innovative and growing.

We invest in our people.  We provide opportunities for employees to grow themselves, their career and in turn, our business.

We care.  We make a positive difference in our communities. Nationally, thousands have benefitted from our support of research and programs to fight childhood cancer. Each year, our Foundation, employees and financial representatives donate time, talent and financial support to causes they're passionate about.

Summary:

Responsible for leading the strategy and execution of the company’s corporate reputation communications strategies focused on managing and mitigating risks that could have a significant corporate or brand impact to Northwestern Mutual. Partners with others across communications and the business to identify potential issues and develops recommendations designed to protect and shape the company’s reputation among internal and external audiences. This role reports to the Sr. Director, Corporate Reputation as part of the company’s Strategic Communications team.

Primary Duties & Responsibilities:

  • Partners with the Senior Director of Strategic Communications to create and implement an annual reputation risk preparedness communications strategy with the purpose of identifying, evaluating, preparing for, responding to and supervising enterprise-wide reputation risks. Works closely with internal partners in Enterprise Risk Management to ensure that emerging risks are addressed from a reputation lens within the overarching risk mitigation framework.

  • Develops and carries out an annual strategic reputation risk assessment process advised by numerous internal business partners and external agency partners to capture inputs on reputation issues, identify key areas of reputation vulnerability and provide recommendations to best position the company to anticipate and mitigate reputation risk. Socializes annual assessment to vital team members across the company.

  • Works with teams throughout the organization including but not limited to Corporate Strategy, Consumer Insights, and Competitive Intelligence as well as external reputation agencies and partners to build a quarterly corporate reputation dashboard advised by strategic insights. Leverage dashboard to refine and elevate communications strategies and tactics with the goal of improving corporate reputation.

  • Connects regularly with team members in Communications, Law, Human Resources, Security, Technology and others to serve as a primary communications lead to handle and mitigate issues that arise (e.g. personnel matters, physical security issues, technology outages, etc.), providing communications counsel, creating written materials and disseminating updates to key partners.

  • Keeps communications leadership advised of emerging issues, status and resolution.

  • Leads a highly matrixed communications team through crisis and issues management preparedness through the implementation of a communications crisis action team, including educating the team to drive crisis communications, conducting communications exercises for a variety of scenarios and facilitating simulations.

  • Crafts communications contingency plans for a variety of scenarios inclusive of guidelines and considerations, key partners, escalation criteria, audiences and templated communications response materials. Draft communications templates to address internal and external collaborators including but not limited to company leadership, employees, financial representatives, clients, and media.

Knowledge, Skills, Abilities:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Communications, Journalism, Public Relations, Marketing, Business or Political Science or related field.

  • 10+ years of experience in professional public relations or corporate communications.

  • A minimum of 3 years hands on experience with issues management and crisis communications with the ability to work with sensitive information. Brings validated experience operating within a sophisticated organization that requires interacting with a range of collaborators and processes to gain alignment. Strong project management experience.

  • Sound problem identification, judgment, resolution and decision-making skills often in ambiguous situations. Works efficiently in and quickly with attention to detail.

  • Track record of building positive relationships across a diverse set of functions.

  • Skilled at implementing messages to target audiences using a full range of internal and external communication channels.

  • Experience working in the insurance industry or another highly regulated industry is preferred.

Benefits:

Great pay package, 401K, Company sponsored retirement plan, Educational assistance, Performance based incentive pay, Medical, dental and vision insurance, Parental leave, Caregiver time off….and more

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W e are an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, disability, age or status as a protected veteran, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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