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Access Living

Director of Communications

  • Location

    Chicago, IL
  • Posted On

    March 12, 2018
  • Job Type

  • Category

  • Experience Level

    5-10 Years
  • Education Level

    Bachelor's Degree
  • Salary

    Commensurate with Experience

Job Description


Ensure strategic direction of media efforts, outreach, training and other communications projects for Access Living.  The three primary goals of this position are a) to maintain an enhanced public image and gain greater visibility for Access Living in order to promote agency goals; b) to promote independent living and disability issues to the general public and c) promote and direct efforts related to Access Living’s Disability Inclusion Institute (DI2). DI2 is an initiative to provide disability inclusion training and consulting to businesses. This position supervises the Disability Inclusion Training Specialist, the Social Media/Website Specialist and the Disability Resource Coordinator.


  • Responsible for directing public messaging and awareness about Access Living’s programs and fundraising through media, publications and videos, website and social media
  • Supervise the Disability Inclusion Training Specialist, the Social Media/Website Specialist and the Disability Resource Coordinator (outreach position)
  • Direct and appropriately market the Disability Inclusion Institute
  • Responsible for developing Access Living’s public relations, social media, outreach and DI2, objectives, and budgets
  • Oversee development and maintenance of core Access Living marketing materials
  • Prepare written materials and coordinate production of internal and external communications including: media advisories, press statements, success stories, public education about disability topics, brochures, community calendar, PSAs, consumer newsletter, Annual Reports, etc
  • Coordinate Access Living membership program
  • Supervises design/development of Access Living web site and assures relevancy and upkeep of site
  • Develop and maintain cooperative working relations with producers, correspondents, reporters, writers and photographers from local, state and national media
  • Initiate media contacts and coordinate media access to Access Living information, positioning Access Living as a subject matter expert
  • Review and approve Access Living promotional materials produced by teams
  • Write speeches, as necessary, for President or others.
  • Coordinate Access Living’s photo opportunities and photo retention
  • Plan and implement specific communications and promotional projects and events as needed, including across departments
  • Coordinate media promotion of Access Living’s annual Gala
  • Develop and implement Access Living’s archival plan, assure upkeep
  • Assures all press events accessible/inclusive and accessibility of materials (both digital and in print).


  • Ensures program policies, practices and procedures that relate to Access Living’s communications work are established and implemented
  • Responsible for compliance with all relevant AL policies
  • Assures documentation by all Communications Department staff of relevant activities in CILs First
  • Monitors and evaluates outcomes and quality of communications, recommends and implements improvements.
  • Assures implementation of Communication goals in Access Living’s Strategic Plan
  • Serves on Administrative Planning Team (senior management) and helps make strategic decisions on behalf of the entire organization.
  • Coordinates and supervises department’s budget


  • Recommends to the Executive Vice President and President the type of workforce and staffing pattern necessary to conduct the activities authorized by the Board
  • Ensures that appropriately qualified staff are employed and supervised to effectively conduct and implement activities of the communication departments
  • Ensures direct reports meet job requirements. Appropriately handles issues of underperformance in consultation with the Director of Finance and Human Resources and Executive Vice President.
  • Ensures that an annual job performance appraisal is conducted for each staff member in the Communications Department on a timely basis

Board Relations

  • Provides staff leadership and coordination of 4-5 board committee meetings annually
    Attends all meetings of the Board of Directors
  • Provides qualitative and quantitative information to the Board to track department progress
  • Engages Board members as appropriate, in communications work of organization


Work requires knowledge of communication/public relations activities normally acquired through completion of a Bachelors’ Degree in Communication, Journalism, Public Relations, or related discipline required, masters preferred. Writing samples required.


5-10 years work experience in public relations or related discipline preferred. Strong media contacts preferred. Prior management experience strongly preferred. First-hand experience with disability community and civil rights movement preferred. Strong interpersonal skills. Demonstrated written and oral communication skills. Ability to work on deadline, sometimes with short turnaround.


Ability to travel, particularly in and around Chicago. Occasional travel to Springfield and/or nationally.

Access Living offers excellent benefits, vacation, sick leave, and holiday schedules.

Salary Range:  $75,000-$85,000

How to Apply

If interested, please send a cover letter, resume and writing samples to:

No phone calls, please.

When applying, mention you saw this opening listed on Disability Scoop.