Associate Vice President, Communications

Job ID
Regular Full-Time
Communications and Marketing


Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center is an independent, nonprofit organization providing adult cancer treatment and groundbreaking research focused on cancer and infectious diseases. Based in Seattle, Fred Hutch is the only National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center in Washington.


With a track record of global leadership in bone marrow transplantation, HIV/AIDS prevention, immunotherapy and COVID-19 vaccines, Fred Hutch has earned a reputation as one of the world’s leading cancer, infectious disease and biomedical research centers. Fred Hutch operates eight clinical care sites that provide medical oncology, infusion, radiation, proton therapy and related services, and network affiliations with hospitals in five states. Together, our fully integrated research and clinical care teams seek to discover new cures to the world’s deadliest diseases and make life beyond cancer a reality.


At Fred Hutch we value collaboration, compassion, determination, excellence, innovation, integrity and respect. These values are grounded in and expressed through the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion. Our mission is directly tied to the humanity, dignity and inherent value of each employee, patient, community member and supporter. Our commitment to learning across our differences and similarities make us stronger. We seek employees who bring different and innovative ways of seeing the world and solving problems. Fred Hutch is in pursuit of becoming an anti-racist organization. We are committed to ensuring that all candidates hired share our commitment to diversity, anti-racism and inclusion.



The Associate Vice President (AVP) of Communications will be an experienced, cross-functional team leader who develops and leads internal and external communications strategies that achieve organizational goals. The role is part of an organizational team that positions and promotes Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center (Fred Hutch) as both a premier cancer treatment center and a global leader in research discoveries spanning cancer, infectious disease, and basic science.


Fred Hutch recently merged with long-time clinical care partner Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. The AVP Communications plays a key role in articulating and promoting the value of this organizational integration both to internal and external audiences.


This role reports to the Chief Marketing & Communications Officer and will oversee an 15-member team. The work schedule accommodates some virtual work but requires ability to come to campus routinely for key meetings and in crisis support situations so should be Seattle area based.


The role oversees the following areas of organizational communication:

Internal:  Communications targeted to faculty and staff working across both our healthcare and research programs.

Patient: Informational mass communications aimed at current patients. This is separate from patient marketing outreach; these are typically notices of key operational issues or changes affecting all or large segments of patients.  

External: Earned media outreach and response, crisis communications, issues management and social media channel management.

Executive: Support of the President and Director via crisis communication counsel and development of talking points, press release quotes, town hall agendas/scripting, and other support as needed.


In addition to working in a highly integrated fashion with fellow leaders in the Marketing and Communications Department, this role collaborates closely executive leaders and colleagues in the Director’s Office, Clinical Operations, Patient Experience, Philanthropy, Government & Community Relations, Human Resources, Business Development, Information Technology, Facilities & Operations, Research Administration and Faculty Affairs.



  • Elevate the reputation of Fred Hutch as preeminent national leader in cancer and infectious disease research, as the top provider of adult cancer care regionally with a focus on earned media and social engagement strategies. Target audiences include current and potential patients, donors, professional peer audiences and funding sources.

Earned media:

    • Oversee the development of earned media strategies that will best support the strategic priorities of the organization, aligning team beats/assignments, processes and measures to support these priorities.
    • Provide oversight for media visits and events, as well as preparation of media pitches, briefings, news releases, fact sheets, talking points and other supporting content to execute earned media strategy.
    • Ensure a robust system for timely response to media inquiries as well as crises/issues management including managing the media relations on-call schedule, clear, expedient processes for identifying subject matter experts and obtaining approvals.
    • Provide media training/briefing of subject matter experts as needed to maximize their impact/success.

Social Media

    • Content creation for social channels is a distributed function, but this role oversees the editorial calendar management of content for the primary organizational social channels. The communications division is responsible for content related to organizational announcements, amplification of organizational news, and reputation-building content.
    • Ensures strong social engagement, working with other departmental leaders to ensure the channels have well-defined audiences, well-established goals, clear and strategic editorial/ posting processes, and coordinated paid strategy plans (which are primarily led by marketing)
  • Elevate the reputation of Fred Hutch as a great place to work, developing internal communication strategies and campaigns that strengthen employee trust, create a shared understanding of the Fred Hutch mission and values, advance strategic goals, increase brand loyalty and support our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
    • Working in close collaboration with teammates and leaders across the organization, engage employees by ensuring timely, respectful communication about organizational news, decisions and information that will impact them.
    • Ensure forums/channels for information exchange that will allow the voices of all employees to be heard and appropriately addressed by organizational leaders, helping support a culture of transparency that will advance success in recruiting and retaining talent.
    • Develop communications resources and toolkits that support departments and divisions in providing consistent, ongoing and quality communications for their teams.
    • Use employee survey data and other information to propose, test and establish new communications channels, approaches, content and tools to support employee needs and organizational goals.
  • Develop and manage crisis communication plans and proactive reputation management strategies.
    • Develop mechanisms for proactive identification of challenges and emerging issues faced by the organization and strategies to mitigate these.
    • Lead comprehensive crisis response/issues management efforts, including proactive/reactive communications internally and externally.
  • Develop reliable methods for monitoring communications trends, technologies and best practices to continuously improve efforts. Identify relevant KPI’s and methods of measurement to provide meaningful performance reporting.
    • Develop/maintain key measures for earned media coverage in a manner that is meaningful and informs our efforts, such as competitive share of voice, national coverage of key priorities, etc.
    • With marketing, determine best approaches to measuring brand awareness and reputation.
    • Identify the best engagement measures to track social media performance.
    • In partnership with Human Resources, ensure supportive strategies for employee satisfaction measurement.
  • Select and oversee external consultants and agencies as needed.
  • Develop and manage an annual communications budget.
    • Track expenditures, ensuring effective budget and resource utilization.
    • Work with finance and department peers on budget planning and forecasting.
    • Develop business cases for resources.
  • In concert with the appropriate teams within Marketing & Communications, serve as the lead for communications strategies in support of integrated promotional campaigns.
  • As appropriate to our strategic needs, effectively engage appropriate stakeholders, including healthcare professionals, clinical and community partners, and current and prospective faculty, patients and donors through appropriate channels.
  • Build, lead, mentor and retain a high performing, well-integrated team that works collaboratively with their colleagues in and outside of the department and reflects our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Ensure robust and consistent use of the organization’s brand standards, inclusive of creative style, voice, and attributes.



Minimum Experience

  • Bachelor’s degree in communications, public relations, journalism, marketing or related field required; advanced degree preferred.
  • 10+ years of progressive experience in roles that can include marketing, digital strategy, and/or communications, and which must include:
  • 5+ years managing a strategic communications function and team.
  • 3+ years in a communications role with a health care, scientific research or academic organization.
  • Proven success at building and leading matrixed teams of marketing and communications professionals, including mentoring, coaching, and developing talent.
  • Record of successfully developing close advisory relationships with organizational leaders.

Preferred Experience

  • Experience overseeing both internal and external communications functions.
  • Experience in a fully-integrated marketing and communications department.

Other Experience, Knowledge, Skills:

  • Proven record of accomplishment creating, building and leading a successful communications function, preferably in a healthcare or biomedical research organization.
  • Ability to drive innovation within a complex, consensus-minded organization with diverse internal and external stakeholders.
  • Demonstrated skill at analyzing problems, developing well-informed recommendations, and influencing successful strategic decisions.
  • Able to quickly acquire the background needed to make informed decisions in a fluid, rapidly changing but highly regulated environment.
  • Willingness and ability to respond rapidly to internal customers outside of traditional business hours and across time zones.
  • Excellent writing, editing and verbal presentation skills; ability to distill complex information into easy-to-understand concepts.
  • Significant experience with crisis and issues management.
  • Ability to execute plans and initiatives with cross-collaborative teams and external agencies.
  • Demonstrated success with proactive national media placements; established relationships with healthcare/science/business media strongly preferred.
  • Experience using data and analytics to drive insights and decision-making.
  • Skilled at planning, organizing, prioritizing, and executing simultaneous projects and activities at the same time.
  • Fiscally responsible.

This position is patient facing and/or requires access to Fred Hutch clinical facilities. As such, full COVID-19 vaccination is required as a condition of employment, without exception. Booster doses are strongly recommended but not required. If declining a booster, completion of the COVID-19 Vaccination Status Form Questionnaire and COVID-19 Booster Declination Training is required. Because of our immunocompromised patient population, there are no medical or religious accommodations available for any employee who is patient facing and/or requires access to Fred Hutch clinical facilities. Only employees whose positions are fully remote, who are not patient facing and/or require no access to clinical facilities, may apply for medical or religious accommodations. As a condition of employment, newly hired employees must provide proof of vaccination before their first day of employment.


A statement describing your commitment and contributions toward greater diversity, equity, inclusion, and antiracism in your career or that will be made through your work at Fred Hutch is requested of all finalists.

Our Commitment to Diversity

We are proud to be an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) and Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) Employer. We are committed to cultivating a workplace in which diverse perspectives and experiences are welcomed and respected. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, creed, ancestry, national origin, sex, age, disability (physical or mental), marital or veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity, political ideology, or membership in any other legally protected class. We are an Affirmative Action employer. We encourage individuals with diverse backgrounds to apply and desire priority referrals of protected veterans. If due to a disability you need assistance/and or a reasonable accommodation during the application or recruiting process, please send a request to our Employee Services Center at or by calling 206-667-4700.


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