Director of Communications

Communications La Jolla, United States


Organization Overview

Founded by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, West Health, and its affiliated organizations, focus on the mission of lowering the cost of healthcare to enable seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence.

Headquartered in La Jolla, California with an office in Washington, D.C., West Health includes the Gary and Mary West Health Institute, a nonprofit medical research organization and the nonprofit, nonpartisan Gary and Mary West Health Policy Center.

Position Summary

The Director of Communications is responsible for developing and executing communications and brand-building strategies that further West Health’s mission and strengthen its leadership and reputation. That work involves developing and executing public education and awareness multi-media initiatives and events that focus on the issues, solutions and policies needed to drive the national dialogue around healthcare costs and successful aging and increase stakeholder engagement with targeted high-level external audiences, including West Health’s boards, local and national media, business leaders, public officials, collaborators and other key influencers. The individual in this role will work closely with West Health leadership and other subject matter experts to identify external communications opportunities and define and execute appropriate strategies to support them. A primary aspect of this position will be to lead executive communications and support the Office of the Chief Executive and other senior-level leaders as assigned. The successful candidate will have experience in media relations and be an excellent writer and copy editor who is able to develop and craft speeches, briefings, talking points, opinion pieces and other materials that translate strategic ideas, initiatives and West Health’s positions into compelling messaging and stories that relate to the executive’s style, topic and intended audience.


  • A polished, articulate, succinct, and clear communications style, adaptable to the audience and/or subject at hand.
  • An excellent writer and communicator, with the ability to recognize and craft compelling stories and narratives that advance understanding of healthcare and policy matters through direct communication to stakeholders and through the media.
  • High personal energy, with a commitment to excellence and accuracy, and a proactive and positive approach.
  • A commitment to communicating accurately and effectively with all levels of the organization, external collaborators and partners.
  • Highly developed media relations, presentation and listening skills.
  • The ability to proactively anticipate and prepare responses to requests for information, media and community inquiries, and collaborate with other relevant staff and collaborators to do so.
  • The ability to effectively and succinctly articulate the mission, goals and priorities of West Health to the public and members of the press in an engaging manner.
  • Competent with technological resources and social media, having a thorough working knowledge of their role in increasing visibility and accessibility to the public and the media.

Essential Duties & Functions

Strategic Executive Communications

  • Serve as executive writer for the Founder, CEO and other senior-level leadership to ensure their voices are captured and West Health messages are conveyed in an inspiring and engaging way.
  • Write/edit talking points, executive speeches, press releases, frequently-asked questions, presentations, internal communications and other content.
  • Prepare and coach executives for speaking engagements.
  • Work with subject matter experts to craft messaging around West Health’s positions and ensure all copy is aligned with the overall messaging and intended audience.
  • Contribute to West Health’s media relations strategy, especially in support of executive-level spokespeople, including proactive pitching and preparing and providing briefing materials and other background information, as required.
  • Lead the communications support to West Health’s boards, including developing, coordinating and writing commentary for board materials to showcase the progress and results from West Health’s strategic initiatives in applied medical research, philanthropy, policy and advocacy.
  • Attend or participate in online and in-person events/forums to bring visibility to West Health’s executives and our role as a convener and leader of the field.

Communications Strategy, Vision and Leadership

  • Oversee West Health’s thought-leadership efforts by managing the strategic research and placement of the CEO and other executives in thought-leadership opportunities and proactively developing and disseminating mission-aligned content through a variety of communications channels to engage key stakeholders, increase visibility of the issues and strengthen West Health’s reputation – leading to measurable action and proven results.
  • Lead the development and execution of communications strategies to support West Health’s areas of focus – including overseeing the orchestration of multi-media, surround-sound communications plans and key tactics such as digital media development, presentations, advocacy campaigns, editorial opinion creation, media relations or stakeholder engagement activities – while ensuring consistent and accurate messaging across all platforms.
  • Work closely with subject matter experts and other members of the communications team to execute West Health’s communications strategies.

Qualifications and Experience

  • A./B.S. in English, Communications or Journalism required; Masters’ degree is a plus.
  • Minimum of 5 to 10 years’ experience working in a fast-paced communications or public relations environment. Previous experience and/or extensive knowledge in the healthcare industry preferred.
  • Candidate must be a strategic thinker, an inspiring leader and a team player.
  • Must be a strong writer/communicator, proficient in the use of the English language, strong copy editor and have substantial experience working closely with senior executives to craft strategic and succinct speeches, presentations and other materials.
  • Excellent story-telling abilities and experience developing audience-specific messaging to drive awareness, advocacy and action.
  • Demonstrate a strong understanding of the strategic objectives of the West Health entities and the ability to interpret them for specific audiences.
  • Must be highly motivated, possess a positive attitude with the ability to work efficiently, tapping into the strengths of the communications team to execute plans and managing multiple priorities, often under tight deadlines.
  • Ability to oversee management of communications resources such as public relations agencies and/or other outside communications vendors.
  • Ability to work with top-tier reporters, state and federal dignitaries and other senior executives/thought leaders within the industry.
  • Strength in effectively planning and executing communications and public affairs strategies and campaigns, including writing and producing presentations and press releases, dealing with inquiries from the public, organizing public promotional events, commissioning or undertaking relevant market research, liaising with collaborators, managerial and journalistic staff.
  • Must have excellent relationship and collaboration skills; a can-do attitude and be passionate about West Health’s mission.
  • Detailed understanding of social media channels and the ability to use these channels to effectively reach key audiences and drive share of voice.
  • Ability to exhibit the utmost level of professionalism, remain calm under pressure and execute results with precise attention to detail.
  • Sound judgment and demonstrated ability to deal with highly sensitive and confidential issues.

West Health is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate against persons on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, gender, marital status, age, disability or veteran's status.