Media Relations Director

December 5, 2017
Job Type


Job Description

The Organization:

Self-Help is a leading national community development financial institution (CDFI) headquartered in Durham, NC. Founded in 1980, Self-Help has provided over $7 billion in financing to 131,000 families, individuals and businesses underserved by traditional financial institutions. It helps drive economic development and strengthen communities by financing hundreds of homebuyers each year, as well as nonprofits, child care centers, community health facilities, public charter schools, and residential and commercial real estate projects. The Self-Help family of non-profit organizations includes North Carolina’s Self-Help Credit Union, Self-Help Federal Credit Union, Self-Help Ventures Fund and the Center for Responsible Lending, a national policy and advocacy organization addressing abusive lending practices. Through its credit union network, Self-Help serves over 129,000 people in North Carolina, California, Chicago and Florida and offers a full range of financial products and services. Learn more at, and

Position Description:

Self-Help is seeking a Media Relations Director to join our team in Durham. The Media Relations Director will directly manage media activities for Self-Help organizations across the US, and coordinate efforts with CRL media staff. S/he will work with Self-Help leadership and business teams to (1) secure high-quality coverage across the media landscape in support of our community development work; (2) expand media recognition and visibility for Self-Help; (3) craft effective public messages and strategies for disseminating these through the press; (4) build and manage durable relationships with key press; and (5) build the media relations skill and capacity of Self-Help staff.

Essential Responsibilities:

• Initiate and cultivate collaborative relationships with key journalists, producers, bloggers, editors and other opinion leaders, in order to amplify Self-Help’s messages and maximize impact.
• Serve as the initial point of contact for journalists, fielding inquiries and connecting press with internal subject experts. Maintain Self-Help’s database of contacts within broadcast, print and online media outlets, and record contacts and events in our Cision database.
• Expand Self-Help’s stable of accessible and trusted media spokespersons by creating media opportunities for a range of Self-Help staff and providing coaching to improve staff interview skills. As needed, serve as the Self-Help spokesperson with the press.
• Manage crisis communications.
• Develop, track and regularly report on key metrics to measure the success of media relations activities.
• Manage and leverage social media to achieve engagement and generate coverage. Manage Self-Help’s online newsroom and Cision relationship.
• Work with Self-Help leadership and business teams to develop and implement media plans that are proactive, supportive of Self-Help’s vision and goals, and favorably position Self-Help in the marketplace.
• Provide strategic media relations counsel to leaders and teams to help them advance their efforts – including media goals, messaging, targeted media outlets, and results.
• Monitor the news cycle to identify opportunities to generate or influence news coverage on Self-Help issues such as community development, home ownership, small business growth, immigration, etc.
• Take advantage of opportunities to promote SHCU and SHFCU local efforts with reporters, in order to support deposit-raising and lending goals. Conduct concentrated media work in locations of merged credit unions.
• Work with leadership and teams to develop core messaging and talking points on various Self-Help topics.
• Write, edit and distribute press releases and statements to external audiences using traditional and digital tools/vehicles.
• Advise staff on effective media engagement techniques and provide formal or informal interview coaching for staff spokespersons.
• Perform other duties as may be deemed necessary.

Minimum Qualifications:

• Bachelor’s degree or equivalent related experience required; 5 to 10 years of experience as a strategic communications advisor for a financial services firm, large nonprofit, or public corporation. Comparable experience with a reputable public relations agency also acceptable.
• Track record of success media work. Proven success in achieving high-quality media placements and extensive network of contacts in national and local media outlets.
• Demonstrated experience as a press spokesperson, and in supporting interviews by colleagues.
• Experience advocating corporate positions and explaining complex and high-visibility topics in a fast-paced environment. Ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously.
• Superior writing and editorial skills; ability to write quickly and on deadline; ability to formulate a clear point of view on complicated issues and create a concise and well-written narrative to express it.
• Ability to act effectively as a trusted advisor to senior management, and to build good relationships with staff at all levels of the organization. Strong team player with excellent interpersonal skills.
• Skilled in the use of social media in media relations.
• Thorough working knowledge of all common software applications, and experience using Cision PR software or equivalent.
• Ability and willingness to travel and work hours outside of the traditional work day when needed.

Desired Qualifications:

• Graduate degree in business or related field.
• 2+ years’ experience as a journalist.
• Knowledge of financial services issues and/or fluency in Spanish.

Physical Requirements:

Frequently requires use of manual dexterity and repetitive motions, primarily with the wrists, hands, and/or fingers. Must be able to occasionally lift and exert force of up to 10 pounds.


Competitive nonprofit salary, based on experience, plus a generous benefits package.


To apply, send resume and cover letter, describing why you are a fit for this position, to Please include the position title as the subject. Application must be received by December 15, 2017 to ensure consideration. Applications received after this date may or may not be considered, depending on the applicant pool. The position will remain posted until filled.

Self-Help is committed to providing equal employment opportunities to all persons regardless of race, color, class, age, gender, religion, disability that can be accommodated, marital status, ancestry, nationality, family status or sexual orientation.

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