The Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) is the voice of innovation in microbusiness and microfinance in the United States. For 25 years, AEO and its more than 450 member/partner organizations have helped millions of entrepreneurs contribute to economic growth while supporting themselves, their families and their communities. AEO members and partners include a broad range of organizations that provide capital and services to assist underserved entrepreneurs in starting, stabilizing and expanding their businesses. Together, we are working to change the way that capital and services flow to low-wealth entrepreneurs so that they can create jobs and opportunities for all. 


Position Summary 

The Vice President Strategic Engagement and Communications is responsible for multidimensional strategies to shape AEO’s brand and reputation, engage key audiences, build strategic partnerships, create high-impact content, and increase member engagement. S/he initiates, directs, and implements a comprehensive range of activities that strengthen the work of AEO and its members and partners. Reporting to the President and CEO, the VP is positive, creative and nimble as well as a collaborative problem-solver and team-builder. 


Key Priorities 


Leadership. Oversee and manage AEO’s national brand and reputation through strategic, proactive and creative communications and marketing programs. Lead and strengthen a collaborative, high-performing team of staff, consultants and interns. Work with the SVP New Initiatives and other team leaders to integrate strategies and priorities across the Association’s programmatic work streams. Provide the business and relationship savvy to build trust of colleagues and stakeholders alike as the AEO brand adds additional brands, new companies and spin-offs. In addition, the VP oversees and provides strategic communications counsel to these established teams. 


Communications. Guide the AEO team in developing and executing a broad-spectrum, integrated communications plan to increase AEO’s thought leadership, reputation and fundraising around the country. AEO’s communications department has a critical role in shaping our members’ and the public’s perception of AEO and safeguarding AEO’s reputation as the microfinance/microbusiness industry leader in innovation. Focused on AEO’s institutional goals to build awareness and support for inclusive entrepreneurship, the department is charged with implementing communication strategies to reach AEO priority audiences using a range of high-impact channels and approaches. Exercise judgment to prioritize media opportunities and engage press to ensure coverage surrounding AEO programs, special events, public announcements and other projects. Prepare talking points, speeches, presentations, and other supporting material as needed. 


Stakeholder engagement. Ensure that AEO’s communications and engagement initiatives fully align and strengthen AEO’s policy agenda, program investments, partnerships, and membership priorities. Guide the team in identifying and engaging key stakeholders including members and corporate partners. AEO has a strong heritage in conducting its work through shared value partnerships. These partnerships focus on creating mutual business value and growth by using collaboration as an imperative organizational strategy. 

Stakeholders are very often shared across multiple AEO work streams and teams. The VP is responsible for developing strategic, sustainable engagements that maximize AEO’s collaborative and shared value imperative. The department is responsible for all elements of strategy and execution for this function including marketing, prospecting, engagement, and coordinating ongoing relationship management and planning the annual conference. 


Marketing and brand management. Guide the team in amplifying AEOs brand, especially through clear, consistent messaging and creative content. The Marketing and Brand Management function produces compelling content and digital strategies to reach and influence target audiences. It produces all marketing communications, including AEO brand standards, graphic design, social media strategies and signature print and online content. 


Development. Support the development function by implementing communication strategies and plans leading to the successful achievement of priority fundraising goals. 


Executive and internal communications. The VP and communications team oversees the positioning of the CEO, other Executive Team members, and board of directors as national thought leaders through targeted speaking opportunities, written pieces and media profiles. The VP oversees the development of a clear, consistent and effective internal communications framework to support the AEO organizational alignment strategy and ensure brand consistency among staff. 


Measurement and metrics. Work closely with AEO leadership and Board to develop brand benchmarks and ongoing metrics to ensure the AEO reputation and integrated work are achieving desired results and impact. 


Other responsibilities. Additionally, the Vice President, will: 

  • Contribute to decisions regarding organization goals, priorities and strategies. 
  • Create a positive, collaborative and high-performance work environment supported by the innovative use of technology, optimal organizational design, effective performance management, accountability and goal setting. 
  • Establish a strategic operating plan, budget and calendar for Engagement and Communications as well as metrics for measuring success. 
  • Serve as an ambassador to members, the media, State Microenterprise Associations, other related industry associations and organizations.  


Qualifications and Required Skills Required Skills 

  • Superior strategic communication skills 
  • Decisive and resourceful with the ability to flex with rapid change, anticipate and act quickly on opportunities 
  • Transparent communicator who readily shares information and values and incorporates feedback 
  • Digital savvy—must have deep understanding of the power of integrated, multichannel communications, including social media 
  • Creative and innovative 
  • Intellectually curious and capable of understanding the multiple, facets of AEO’s work 
  • A facilitator and integrator of ideas and teams 
  • High level of energy and the emotional intelligence and sensitivity to work with and lead a group of diverse personalities and to foster and champion team efforts 
  • Ability to fully integrate a broad range of communications/engagement initiatives, resulting in an effective, efficient and strategic work plan 
  • Strong program management skills, driven by a commitment to quality, results, fiscal responsibility, and efficiency 
  • Excellent written and oral communications skills with full capability to write articles, position statements, print and e-communications, as well as public speaking and making presentations to stakeholder groups and the public 
  • Experience with and innovative spirit to maximize new media platforms such as video and microsites and social media platforms including but not limited to websites, Twitter, Facebook 
  • Ability to coordinate the efforts of multiple parties and to work in team environments 
  • Sound, strategic decision-making, based on analysis, experience and judgment 
  • Ability to build productive relationships with internal and external constituents 
  • Politically savvy and diplomacy 
  • Willingness to do what it takes to get the job done 
  • Respectful of others and consummate team player 



To perform this job effectively, a Master’s Degree in Communications, Public Affairs, or equivalent, is preferred, together with a strong knowledge of business, and experience in managing effective, external relations. In addition, 5 to 7 years of experience in the areas of responsibility listed above is a must. 


Salary and Benefits 

Salary is commensurate with experience. AEO offers a comprehensive benefits package and generous leave policies. 



This position is in Washington, DC with occasional travel expected. 


Please submit applications to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT AEO? Visit us on the web at http://www.aeoworks.org 


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