Vanderbilt University is seeking a dynamic and innovative Executive Creative Director who is passionate about leading a team of highly creative professionals to expand and enhance the visual identity of the university through a wide range of platforms and channels. This position will play a crucial role in shaping how the university expresses its values and aspirations through graphic design, video, and photography. This role will work collaboratively across the Communications and Marketing division and throughout the university to expand brand visibility through best-in-class uses of media and design.
This role requires superior art direction skills and a proven ability to maintain a clear focus on delivering impactful, high-quality results that advance the Vanderbilt brand. A successful candidate will be a forward-thinking leader who can grow and manage a network of freelancers to expand access to a wide range of creative talents and services. In support of that, strong budget management skills and experience managing vendors and agencies will be crucial. The ideal candidate will have experience working with executive leadership and the ability to balance numerous projects and demands simultaneously.
This position reports directly to the Vice Chancellor for Communications and Marketing and serves as a member of the Vice Chancellor's core leadership team. This position has supervisory responsibility over a team of videographers, designers, photographers, and production managers.
The Communications and Marketing team at Vanderbilt is a dynamic and collaborative group. The division serves as the institution-wide center of excellence for communications and marketing, developing and executing strategies that inform, engage, and inspire others to participate in Vanderbilt University's global academic and research mission. The division is a key strategic adviser and partner for the mission-based work of the university, providing comprehensive communications and marketing plans and thoughtful analysis on messaging opportunities and constraints. The Communications and Marketing team delivers impactful marketing and communications results across key audiences to serve the larger mission, values, and priorities of the university.
This role requires the ability to report to work in person on the Vanderbilt University campus.
Duties and Responsibilities
Oversee the design, creative direction, and execution of the Vanderbilt brand creative strategy across all touchpoints internally and externally.
Bring to life the refreshed brand identity and positioning through powerful, distinctive, and relevant creative executions across mediums and for various audiences, including prospective and current students, faculty, staff, alumni, athletics audiences, and key stakeholders.
Guide the development of campaigns and supporting assets that expand the awareness of the brand and deepen engagement with the mission of the university.
Set the look and feel for all athletics channels including social media, in-game, and marketing.
Expand and enhance the digital asset management (DAM) system as a key point of distribution and creative collaboration throughout the university.
Continue to center the university's values of diversity, equity, and inclusion in all communications as part of an ongoing effort to reach out to and engage with diverse audiences throughout the Vanderbilt community and beyond.
Lead, inspire, enable and develop the creative team, including videographers, photographers, designers, production managers, freelancers, and agency partners. Facilitate a results-driven culture of collaboration, self-empowerment, and accountability. This includes setting goals across the team, monitoring progress toward results, and overseeing both performance and professional development.
As part of establishing goals for the Creative team, direct the collection of key performance indicators (KPIs) for the team and individual staff members' success, including through qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis.
Be a key member of the Communications and Marketing Leadership Team, partnering with peers in Marketing, University Communications, Public Relations, and Executive Communications and Institutional Projects on divisional strategy and operational decisions.
Review, critique, and guide work generated by the team and creative agency partners.
Understand how creative is meeting objectives and key results and have both the accountability and drive to continuously improve, as we grow and develop the refreshed brand.
Act as a team player who can work cross-departmentally within Communications and Marketing to ensure expectations are aligned and optimized for performance goals.
Engage with strategy leads and analytics staff to ensure creative work is in line with strategic goals and on message for the target audience for each campaign.
Develop and optimize systems, tools, processes and workflows for creative teams and align teams to a strategic vision.
Demonstrate the ability to present and sell concepts and creative strategy across all levels of leadership and create synergies with diverse stakeholder teams to drive results.
Act as a proactive self-starter and team player who thrives in a collaborative and fast-paced environment.
Demonstrate attention to detail, execution and follow-through.
Direct and manage the Creative budget.
Recruit and retain talent.
Represent the Communications and Marketing team at key events and meetings, both internal and external.
Demonstrate excellence in judgment and a sense of what is appropriate for the Vanderbilt University brand.
Adhere to confidentiality and business ethics; demonstrate outstanding judgment and discretion.
Demonstrate understanding of the university's mission, values, goals, and priorities and an ability to ensure that all are considered in developing communications strategies.
Communicate and collaborate effectively with a wide range of audiences--including leadership, staff, faculty, coaches, students, alumni, and vendors.
Efficiently and effectively manage multiple, complex, and results-oriented projects with both quick turn-around requirements and long lead times.
Work outside regular business hours as needed in order to perform job responsibilities, including being officially on-call.
Provide overall support as needed and assigned for institutional priorities.
Perform other relevant duties as assigned.
A bachelor's degree in communications, art, design, media, or related field is required.
At least 2 years of leading a creative team at an agency or in-house is required.
At least 8 years of experience in a creative role is required.
Experience across the full range of brand expression: print, events and experiential, digital, SMS, social media, film, and motion is required.
Deep understanding of the whole Adobe Creative Cloud suite of tools with demonstrable knowledge of best practices putting tools into action is required.
Demonstrated knowledge of computer applications and project management software, including Microsoft Office, Slack, Trello, Box, Monday (or similar) is required.
Experience with events, conferences, digital media, apparel, and advertising is strongly preferred.
Experience hiring and scaling a team of varied skills for growth that's appropriate to the forecasted needs of the organization is strongly preferred.
Expertise in leading and managing a group of cross-disciplinary teams is strongly preferred.
Experience building a network of freelancers and vendors is strongly preferred.
Experience managing a budget is strongly preferred.
Commitment to Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
At Vanderbilt University, we are intentional about and assume accountability for fostering advancement and respect for equity, diversity, and inclusion for all students, faculty, and staff. Our commitment to diversity makes us who we are. We have created a community that celebrates differences and lets individuality thrive. As part of this commitment, we actively value diversity in our workplace and learning environments as we seek to take advantage of the rich backgrounds and abilities of everyone. The diverse voices of Vanderbilt represent an invaluable resource for the University in its efforts to fulfill its mission and strive to be an example of excellence in higher education.
Vanderbilt University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer. Women, minorities, people with disabilities and protected veterans are encouraged to apply.
Please note, all candidates selected for an offer of employment are subject to pre-employment background checks, which may include but are not limited to, based on the role for which they have been selected: criminal history, education verification, social media review, motor vehicle records, credit history, and professional license verification.
Vanderbilt University is a center for scholarly research, informed and creative teaching, and service to the community and society at large. Vanderbilt will uphold the highest standards and be a leader in the quest for new knowledge through scholarship, the dissemination of knowledge through teaching and outreach, and the creative experimentation of ideas and concepts. In pursuit of these goals, Vanderbilt values most highly intellectual freedom that supports open inquiry, equality, compassion, and excellence in all endeavors.