Join the CLA team.

Director of Public Engagement



The Chicago Literacy Alliance is looking for one amazing Director of Public Engagement to join our team!  At the CLA, our core values are Empowerment, Equity, Connection, Curiosity and Generosity of Spirit. We seek a dynamic, entrepreneurial professional to identify key messages, platforms, and strategies to advance public awareness and stakeholder engagement in our work. Strong communications skills and an inventive approach are essential, as well as a passion for literacy and an ability to develop data, research, and member stories into compelling, informed, and strategic messaging. As a member of the CLA’s Leadership Team, the Director will work with members, the Member Council, and the CLA Board to create the conditions for greater public support and alignment among internal and external partners in service of greater literacy, equity, and opportunity for all Chicagoans.

Reports to: Executive Director

The Director of Public Engagement will spearhead CLA efforts to grow public support for literacy, building visibility among public stakeholders and community members for the importance of promoting literacy. Under the oversight of the CLA Board and Executive Director, the Director will work with CLA membership and our leadership cohort on the Member Council to develop a long-term vision and strategies to orient community partners, governments, and institutions to the urgency and importance of this cause. The Director will partner closely with the Program and External Relations teams to inform an agenda that will drive effectiveness in the CLA’s advocacy and alignment efforts. The Director will work creatively to craft initiatives to garner public attention and drive visibility of the CLA and its members, highlighting innovation and our drive toward greater equity in and through literacy.

Organizational Background

The Chicago Literacy Alliance improves literacy in Chicago by driving collaboration and increasing the impact of our community’s literacy organizations. We envision a 100% literate Chicago, where the transformative power of literacy is accessible to all. We serve a network of over 120 literacy-focused organizations, driving improvements in literacy through capacity building, alignment, and advocacy. The CLA promotes collaboration and coordination of their efforts in order to help them become more efficient and effective. To promote collaboration, the CLA manages the nation’s first co-working space dedicated to literacy organizations and their cause, the Literacenter. In addition to fostering creative, productive, and fun physical space, the CLA sustains a suite of programs and activities aimed to disseminate best practices, grow new partnerships, and increase effectiveness among our member organizations.

We value a workforce that is as diverse in thought, perspective, and culture as the residents of Chicago. We are looking to add amazing changemakers to our team who will bring diversity across many lines. The CLA is an equal opportunity employer, and does not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity, color, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, non-disqualifying physical or mental disability, national origin, veteran status, or any other basis covered by appropriate law.

Essentials Duties and Responsibilities

  • Working with the Executive Director, manage the CLA Member Council to develop and advance a “united voice for literacy,” as articulated in the CLA strategic plan–promoting a consistent message of the importance and urgency of growing literacy across our communities, investing in the work of our members, and for the role the CLA plays in building capacity and promoting collaboration among member organizations.
  • Develop and implement initiatives to generate greater public awareness and support for literacy and for the work of the CLA and its members. Develop content and messaging strategies to leverage earned and social media to drive public opinion and to promote stakeholder engagement and policy advances across relevant public institutions.
  • Manage theme and content development for the CLA’s annual State of Literacy Symposium, partnering with the Development and Community teams on planning the event.
  • Help advance the creation of a knowledge base of key indicators and metrics that tell the story of the Alliance’s work and can serve as a resource for member organizations.
  • Partner with the Community team to curate opportunities for members to present in the CLA Confab and other externally-facing programs.
  • Build relationships with community stakeholders to advance the presence of the CLA in the literacy field. 
  • Working with the Evaluation and Strategic Planning Committee of the Board of Directors and with external evaluators, develop and implement field-level outcome measurements for assessing the network’s impact.
  • Supervise part-time staff in the collection, analysis, and visualization of programmatic data across our network in order to identify insights, gaps, and opportunities for alignment.
  • Supervise Marketing Manager (f-t) position to advance public visibility of the CLA, establishing growth targets for earned media and social media, and developing strategies to draw public attention to the importance of CLA and member efforts.
  • Lead programs that offer members the opportunity to coordinate their efforts with one another to reach broader audiences or deliver additional services.


  • Bachelor’s degree required, graduate degree preferred
  • 7 years of experience in advocacy or public relations work in a non-profit setting; previous management experience preferred; experience in literacy and/or education preferred
  • Commitment to the mission of the CLA in promoting literacy among all ages and communities in Chicago
  • Entrepreneurial and collaborative mindset, prepared to act creatively and proactively to build new audiences
  • Working knowledge of best practices in advocacy and public relations
  • Detail-oriented, organized, flexible, and able to multi-task effectively
  • Strong interpersonal, verbal, and written communication skills.
  • Candidate must be responsible, dependable, and committed to upholding the highest levels of confidentiality, integrity, and ethics.
  • Experience with Salesforce or comparable CRM system. Facility with common office software, including project management and team communication systems.

Benefits & Perks

  • Health/Dental/Vision/Life insurance plan
  • 401k retirement plan
  • Unbelievable PTO plan
  • Chance to work at the Literacenter, the country’s first nonprofit shared workspace dedicated to literacy, and use of its facilities (including the LitLounge, Literascooters, free coffee, frequent snacks, and more)
  • Discounts at local businesses and partners, from acupuncture and climbing gyms through delicious lunches and used books

Diversity & Inclusion Statement:

The CLA is an equal opportunity employer, and embraces and celebrates diversity in the community it seeks to foster.  Diversity of ethnicity, skin color, background, experience, lifestyle, skillset, physical limitation, education, religion, sexual orientation and gender within the CLA team is essential to the organization’s culture and mission.