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Strategic Planning and Communications, Assistant Director

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

At Northwestern Mutual, our vision is to deliver financial security to help our clients live their best lives by choice. A key pillar of our vision and success is our strong, vibrant sales force. This role sits within the Career Distribution (CD), which is at the forefront of working across the home office and sales force as one team to achieve the sales and growth objectives the company expects, while delivering the experience our distribution needs and deserves.


Reporting into the VP Field Talent & Performance, The  Strategic Planning and Communications, Assistant Director drives the strategic department vision, operating model, budget and planning activities, and outcomes for the department. May serve as a trusted, strategic advisor to a department head and leaders within the department or function.

Primary Duties & Responsibilities

Strategic Planning

  • Directs departmental strategy development and execution, ensuring alignment with key business priorities and outcomes.
  • Leads department/functional strategic initiatives that drive business value.
  • Collaborates, plans and organizes with and through people to bridge strategies across teams.

Business Operations

  • Responsible for strategy and planning to align business operations with the company's overarching strategy, mission and goals.
  • Identifies gaps between ideal and current state of operating model and recommends solutions to close the gaps.
  • Facilitates execution of departmental operating model to improve the health of the department and organization.
  • Exhibits high level of local (departmental) business acumen to identify and solve complex operational or organizational problems and identify innovative solutions.

Project Management

  • Partners with department leadership team to identify and track priority work, including identifying business outcomes and key metrics, portfolio management of key department priorities, developing strategy for project execution, and creating transparency on priority work in the department and throughout the enterprise.
  • Leads teams or projects with moderate resource requirements, risk, and/or complexity.

Department Planning Budgeting

  • Leads department planning and financial/budgeting process.
  • Provides data and recommendations and oversees budget forecasting, administration and reporting.
  • Manages multiple and complex funding mechanisms and provides guidance to leadership on securing resources to achieve business outcomes.
  • Aligns department planning and budget to functional and company priorities, working cross-functionally with peers in the function.

Meeting Planning

  • Plans and prepares agendas for departmental staff or leadership meetings and planning sessions.
  • Participates in regular department leadership meetings to evaluate barriers to success and develop courses of action to overcome issues at the departmental level.
  • Impacts the achievement of operational or project objectives and ensures alignment of departmental priorities to organizational strategy.
  • Facilitates cross-functional initiatives and the flow of information between stakeholders and other teams.
  • Coordinates requests for information from stakeholders and prepares reports and presentations in response. Interprets internal/external business challenges and recommends best practices to improve products, processes or services.

Trusted Advisor

  • Represents and provides support to an executive, functional or department head to facilitate effective decision-making which has a significant impact on the organization; this includes strategic planning, road map development, operational planning, leading key departmental priorities, and meeting planning and preparation. Has a high impact on the implementation of strategic initiatives that carry out overarching departmental objectives.


  • Minimum of 7 years' business leadership experience.
  • Proven leadership skills working with diverse teams.
  • Superior interpersonal skills to lead a group of people.
  • Experience in portfolio and/or project management, strategic and operational planning, and leading multiple complex projects with organization-wide impact.
  • Demonstrated organizational agility to work across organizational boundaries, influence, and collaborate with all levels on solutions that benefit the organization.
  • Ability to work horizontally w/ shared priorities elevate functional priorities over department objectives.
  • Thinks within lateral accountabilities and interdependence.
  • Proven skills in dealing with ambiguity and paradox, and leading change.
  • Exceptional business acumen and focus on achieving business impact through progressive practices and sound business judgment.
  • Ability to translate goals and strategies into executable business plans.
  • Strong integrity and proven ability to treat confidential information confidentially.
  • Demonstrated learning agility and outside-in perspective to identify future trends and practices.
  • Strong organizational skills; able to handle competing demands, and work under tight deadlines and short time frames.
  • Strong problem solving and strategic/critical thinking skills.
  • Ability to identify underlying issues and influence others without formal authority.
  • Facilitation and team building skills; ability to play an active, operational and communicative role.
  • Interpersonal savvy and comfort interacting with and presenting to all levels of the organization, including senior leaders
  • High degree of self-motivation with leadership and initiative in sharing information, contributing towards group goals, and accepting responsibility for results.
  • Pro-active and an ability to anticipate needs for a range of broad / complex business problems and staying ahead of them; comfortable working in an ambiguous environment.



This job is not covered by the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement.

Required Certifications:

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We 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.

If you work or would be working in Colorado or outside of a Corporate location, please click here for information pertaining to compensation and benefits.


We’re excited about the potential people bring to Northwestern Mutual. You can grow your career here while enjoying first-class perks, benefits, and commitment to diversity and inclusion.