Sr Communications Specialist - Public Engagement/Press

Posted Date 2 weeks ago(11/17/2023 5:57 PM)
Job ID
Clearance Required
Other Clearance
Facility Access (Public Trust) Clearance

Position Description

XL Associates, Inc. (XLA) has provided institutional support services to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for nearly twenty-five years.  XLA is now seeking candidates to fill a Senior Communication Specialist - Public Engagement/Press position to support the Bureau for Resilience, Environment, and Food Security (REFS) under a contract that was recently awarded. Through REFS, USAID works to advance inclusive agriculture‐led growth, resilience, nutrition, and water security, sanitation and hygiene initiatives in priority countries around the world to help them accelerate and protect development progress. 


The Sr. Communications Specialist will provide all functions needed to support Bureau or Operating Unit leadership and teams to operate effectively, and to meet overall objectives. They will support the creation and execution of strategic communications and outreach plans that support Bureau goals, working closely with other members of their team and across the Bureau, Agency, interagency, partner organizations, and the public.


The Sr. Communications Specialist will support day-to-day functions of the Technical Supervisor, Office, or Center to which they are assigned for day-to-day work assignments. Daily activities will include aspects of communications and outreach, content generation, research and analysis, program management and coordination, and knowledge management of REFS-related programs and activities.


The Communications and Outreach Unit, managed by the REFS Communications Director, guides Bureau strategic communications and outreach in coordination with the Bureau for Legislative and Public Affairs (LPA) and other stakeholders. The central team serves as the external affairs lead among U.S. government departments and agencies engaged in REFS’s multi-sectoral work. The team coordinates internal communications within the Bureau and between REFS and other Bureaus; coordinates the Bureau’s legislative engagement, providing information to Congress related to legislation and advising Bureau centers and offices on the status of pending legislation and related concerns of members of Congress; and houses the team that manages Bureau taskers and paper flow.


This position will also be responsible for developing and executing comprehensive press and event strategies to enhance the Agency's and Bureau’s visibility on key issues and engage with our target audiences. This role requires a dynamic individual with a strong background in public relations, event planning, and media management. The Specialist will play a crucial role in creating and maintaining effective communication channels, producing high-quality content that engages, educates, and inspires. The ideal candidate will have a strong command of the English language, an attention to detail, and a flair for creativity. The Specialist will contribute to the monitoring and measurement of the effectiveness of communications efforts through feedback, metrics, and employee surveys, and make necessary improvements. Domestic (approx. 4 trips per year) and international (approx. 2 trips per year) travel anticipated.


Key Responsibilities:

Communications and Outreach

  • Develop and maintain high-quality content such as talking points, press releases, press guidance, briefs, and other communications materials
  • Cultivate and maintain relationships with local, regional, and national media outlets, journalists, and influencers
  • Create and distribute press releases, media kits, and compelling content to generate positive media coverage
  • Monitor media coverage and analyze the effectiveness of PR efforts
  • Plan, coordinate, and execute a variety of events, including launches, roundtables, panel events, and site visits
  • Develop event timelines and project plans
  • Manage all event logistics, such as venue selection, catering, audio-visual setup, and guest lists.
  • Provide support on a range of communications and outreach activities, including digital content and engagement, as well as complete a wide range of day-to-day tasks related to communications and outreach
  • Develop, coordinate and execute integrated strategic communications strategies and campaigns across web and social media that elevate engagement and awareness among target audiences online around key announcements and events
  • Serve as key liaison to manage incoming requests or external outreach within or outside of USAID on behalf of Office/Center/Division
  • Support generation and/or management of intranet, internet, or social media site content
  • Serves as key liaison with other Offices and Centers to gather information and collaborate with others in the Bureau, Agency, and interagency as needed


Research and Analysis

  • Conduct research and synthesize data, information and stories into high-quality, targeted strategic messaging and communications materials that elevate engagement and awareness among target audiences online around key announcements and events
  • Provide desk research, simple data analysis, and interpret data as needed
  • Support data syntheses and analyses reports; present findings
  • Collaborate to develop and socialize research strategies


Program Management and Assistance

  • Contribute to team projects and activities, such as writing and editing, responding to requests for information, internal communications, and strategic planning.
  • Propose, plan, track, and report on public events for both Bureau and Agency leadership.
  • Provide logistical support to organize meetings, schedule conference rooms as necessary and ensure proper equipment and materials are available for meetings at least one day prior
  • Capture and distribute meeting minutes, summaries of conclusions, and action items


Knowledge Management

  • Save documents and maintain file structures using USAID portals
  • Develop and maintain internal trackers including for logistics and milestone tracking
  • Track and follow clearances for Bureau documentation and ensure that formal documentation is of high quality
  • Maintain awareness of and follow Agency and Federal guidelines for file retention



  • An MA/MS and a minimum of 3 years of experience or a BA/BS and a minimum of 5 years’ experience
  • In lieu of a Bachelor’s degree, candidates can substitute an Associates’ and 9 years’ experience or a high school diploma and 11 years’ work experience
  • Ability to obtain a USAID facility access (Public Trust) clearance
  • Excellent writing, editing and content development skills, including taking complex ideas and distilling for a wide range of audiences
  • Strong judgment
  • Ability to work independently with limited supervision
  • Specialized experience in organizing and implementing communications and outreach events and activities
  • Specialized experience engaging with the press
  • Familiarity with media tracking and analytics tools
  • Proficiency in social media platforms and content creation
  • Exceptional project management and organizational skills with keen attention to deadlines
  • Experience taking initiative and delivering written products and materials that support an organization’s communications and outreach goals
  • Excellent oral, interpersonal, and written communications skills to effectively interact with government clients, high-ranking officials, and other stakeholders
  • Positive and professional attitude and demeanor
  • Detail-oriented and interested in producing quality work products
  • Proficiency in Google Suite of products
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Suite of products including excel, word, and PowerPoint
  • Experience with USAID, USG or other related organizations is a plus
  • Must be willing to travel both domestically and internationally.


Sorry the Share function is not working properly at this moment. Please refresh the page and try again later.
Share on your newsfeed