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Account Director, Higher Education Public Relations



Marketing & Communications, Sales & Business Development
New York, NY, USA
Posted on Tuesday, August 29, 2023


BerlinRosen is a fast-growing, full-service communications firm with more than 400 communications and campaign strategists in New York, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles. Since its founding in 2005, BerlinRosen has powerfully expanded its presence in real estate, architecture, design, urbanism, land use, social impact/ESG, nonprofit, fine arts, education, media, racial justice, healthcare, hospitality, lifestyle, technology, issue advocacy and workers’ rights communications. We have received more than 50 awards and recognitions, including being the only agency to be named #1 on Observer’s PR Power List for three consecutive years, PRNews’ Large PR Agency of the Year (2023; 2021), PR News’ Digital Firm of the Year (2023) and 5/5 Stars on Forbes’ latest Best PR Agencies in America list.

Beginning in 2022, we’ve established partnerships with Onward, Derris, M18, Glen Echo Group and Inkhouse, further integrating our agency and communications network while expanding our reach in DEI consulting and the consumer, lifestyle, real estate, hospitality and technology sectors.

People of color, people with disabilities and women are strongly encouraged to apply. BerlinRosen is committed to building and maintaining a diverse staff, and recognizes that its continued success depends on hiring and retaining high-quality, creative professionals with a variety of backgrounds and experiences. Opportunities for advancement exist, and we are committed to helping all staff develop and grow.


BerlinRosen’s Cities practice comprises over 70 communications professionals who bring a unique campaign-style approach to strategic communications. We work with visionary clients in New York, Los Angeles and other major cities across the country on issues ranging from urban planning, affordable housing, issue advocacy, social impact and progressive policy, public affairs, healthcare, higher education, real estate, travel, lifestyle, arts & culture, and more. Whether it’s winning community and political support, policy change, elevating new projects and brands or launching some of our city's most visited attractions, we help our clients shape the future of cities.

The Public Affairs and Advocacy team works with leading advocacy organizations, issue campaigns, civic groups and companies at the forefront of changing policy to build a more equitable New York City and state and delivering critical services for New Yorkers. We help our clients advance issues that include criminal legal system reform, clean energy, creating a fair cannabis industry, expanding economic opportunity and access to good jobs, housing and early childhood education, improving transit and infrastructure, and combating hunger and poverty; our clients advocate on behalf of immigrant and working New Yorkers, New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and food insecurity, and children and families involved in the child welfare system.


BerlinRosen is seeking an Account Director to lead the work for our higher education clients on our growing Public Affairs and Advocacy team. This is an exciting opportunity for someone with experience leading strategic communications strategy for colleges, universities, graduate programs and community colleges.

Our clients work at the forefront of national conversations around the evolution of higher education, research, job preparation and universities’ relationship to their missions and their communities.The right candidate will be able to demonstrate an ability to effectively communicate around these vital social issues.

The Account Director will help develop client strategy, manage staff to drive an overall work plan, lead day-to-day client relations, conceptualize pitches and media placements and play an active role in talent and business development. Our Account Directors lead project management on 4-5 accounts and influence client communication strategies that produce major wins.

Role location: This role is based in our New York, N.Y. office on a hybrid basis. The Cities team is in-office 2-3 per week.


As an Account Director on the Public Affairs team, you will…

  • Lead development of large-scale communications strategies along with teammates
  • Drive high-touch, daily client communications with the same client leads: brainstorming, flagging concerns and problem-solving
  • Manage a team of junior staff on each account you lead, strategically influencing deliverables’ quality and staff development by delegating, modeling smart practices and providing feedback
  • Conceptualize and drive new story angles and other media opportunities for clients: such as landing feature stories for clients even when there is no news to announce, or drafting a persuasive and compelling pitch on behalf of a client for a high-profile interview, award or conference
  • Work closely with senior team leaders on capacity planning to ensure that the team is being run efficiently
  • Place numerous stories through persistence and creativity, identifying new targets and trying new approaches until the story is landed
  • Contribute to business development and growth efforts

Essential skills:

  • At least 6 years of experience in communications: in-house for companies, nonprofits or higher education institutions, media or journalism; PR agency experience preferred
  • Can conceptualize, develop and produce client plans and client recommendations to later present to client, executives and partners in thoughtful formats
  • Effectively collaborate and gather input from peers, clients and internal staff to improve strategies and adjust as needed
  • At least 1 year of experience managing a client team or equivalent
  • Has a strong news savvy and knowledge of the media spanning verticals and issue areas
  • Strong storytelling through op-eds, pitches and other materials that form strong overall narratives driven by client goals
  • Versatile writer with experience creating material for informal, conversational and formal settings as necessary

Preferred skills:

  • Communications experience within higher education or research-driven organizations

Note: Interested in this role but it’s not quite the right match? Applicants who meet some but not all or exceed the above criteria are still encouraged to apply! We are eager to speak with candidates with diverse backgrounds and can assess role leveling on an individual basis.


Compensation philosophy: BerlinRosen offers competitive industry rate salary bands with the goal of retaining and growing talented individuals. We regularly review and adjust our compensation structure as needed to ensure equity across teams and levels.

The salary range for this role is commensurate with experience and is as follows:

  • Starting minimum: $110,000
  • Role cap: $130,000

Account Directors are eligible for end of year bonuses based on firm, team, and individual performance.

Benefits: BerlinRosen will make sure that you have what you need to excel in your role, encourage self-care and drive professional development, including…

  • 100% coverage of Health, Dental, and Vision insurance monthly premiums
  • Company-sponsored Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA)
  • Pre-tax Flexible Spending Account (FSA)
  • Mental health assistance with company-sponsored memberships to Talkspace and Calm
  • 401K with a 4% employer match and no vesting period
  • Generous paid time off (PTO)
    • All incoming staff receive 36 days total of PTO, inclusive of general PTO, wellness days, collective PTO the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays and 11 paid bank holidays
  • Pre-tax commuter benefits via WageWorks
  • Full mobile phone reimbursement for data and minutes
  • Employer-funded life insurance
  • Discounted annual bikeshare membership
  • Corporate discounts through Tickets at Work
  • Continuous skills training tailored to your role


To ensure that applicants are matched with the job that best suits their qualifications and interests, information that you submit may be shared with our subsidiaries, Onward, Glen Echo Group, Derris, M18 and Inkhouse.

By providing your information, you are consenting to allow us and our subsidiaries to keep your information on file and to contact you regarding job opportunities, recruitment events and other related updates.