Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs


Posted Date
Job ID
Job Function
Executive Leadership
REI City
REI State
REI Location
Seattle HQ
Remote Eligible
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What's cool about this job

The Vice President, Communications and Public Affairs contributes to REI’s success by creating enterprise strategies, planning, organizing and directing REI’s activities in the arenas of public affairs/relations, internal communications, external communications, community affairs, government affairs, philanthropic giving and community activation.

Reporting to the Chief Customer Officer and working with and through functional teams, this leader will develop and drive comprehensive and progressive strategies that reinforce and enhance the REI brand and align with our enterprise customer and business strategies—including specific initiatives related to scaling the co-op’s mission and purpose through our efforts in sustainability, community partnership, giving, public policy, government affairs and broader advocacy.

The co-op will look to this leader for the thought leadership that positions REI as a global presence in corporate social responsibility and a consistent voice of influence and impact within the outdoor industry and the broader business space. This position ensures alignment and consistency of internal and external communications with brand promotion and marketing efforts to support REI’s overarching business and organizational objectives across all four measures of our success—employees, members, business and society. This leader will closely collaborate with our senior leadership, marketing, brand strategy, corporate strategy, human resources, digital, retail, Experiences, S&CS, merchandising, co-op brands, sustainability and impact efforts, to drive a consistent narrative and execution across all touchpoints. Models and acts in accordance with REI’s guiding values and mission.

At REI Co-op, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived and exist to inspire and enable a life outside for everyone.  To deliver on that promise, we are working with our 17,000+ employees, 23M members and the broader outdoor community toward a reality where everyone has the opportunity to be themselves, to access opportunities and find their place in the outdoors. For us, that means: 

  • Investing in work that removes the barriers people and communities face to getting outside.
  • Delivering relevant products, experiences, and expertise to equip and inspire a new generation of outdoor stewards.
  • Cultivating a workforce that reflects the demographics of the markets we serve.
  • Leading the industry’s efforts to welcome people and communities historically underrepresented into outdoor media and culture.


Leading the Way

  • As a member of the Senior Leadership Team, develops a deep understanding of, effectively communicates and broadly supports execution of company strategies and priorities.
  • Translates company strategies into actionable divisional plans and executes successful delivery.
  • Works cross-divisionally to drive execution of specific divisional and company strategies, initiatives, and projects.
  • Strengthens retail, DC, S&CS and Experiences staff’s access and connection to leadership through regular field visits and district conference calls; drives engagement and builds trust in REI’s leaders.
  • Identifies and communicates key responsibilities and practices to ensure the organization promotes a successful attitude, confidence in leadership, and teamwork to achieve business results.
  • Supports the implementation of company programs, procedures, methods and practices to promote REI key messages.
  • Challenges and inspires employees to achieve business results.
  • Ensures employees adhere to legal and operational compliance requirements.
  • Oversees training and development of employees directly and indirectly managed and makes effective staffing decisions.
  • Builds capacity of individuals and teams through effective employee development, involvement, communication, and supervision efforts.
  • Provides coaching, direction, and leadership support to employees in order to achieve department, company and customer results.
  • Creates a strong, mutually supportive work spirit and culture where people can do their best.
  • Establishes and maintains visibility within the department.
  • Monitors operational statistics, reports trends, variances, and issues, and takes appropriate action.

Your Planning & Navigating Requirements

  • Creating the vision for and driving the execution of co-op's impact agenda—ensuring that effort is aligned and integrated as we engage our internal and external audiences and community.
  • Develop and direct REI’s community affairs strategy in a manner that leverages REI's capabilities and aligns with REI’s overall strategies and objectives. This work includes oversight of corporate giving and REI sponsored community events and guiding the development and implementation of REI’s legislative and policy agendas.
  • Develop and direct REI's strategies for public relations, media relations, community partnerships, and crisis communications in ways that align with and enhance the REI brand and reputation.
  • Elevates and advocates for the role of communications as a strategic business function. Understands the role of communications in driving a strategic plan and business growth and has proven experience in tying communications efforts to business results.
  • Oversees and elevates executive leadership and CEO communications and thought-leadership efforts.
  • Develops executive communications strategy and plan for senior leadership team.
  • Advise executives, communications leaders, and divisions on communications issues.
  • Integrates change management principles and methodologies into strategies and plans, providing subject matter expertise on the people side of change and building communication strategies that maximize employee adoption and minimize resistance.
  • Identify emerging topics, leading rapid and effective response. Positions the co-op effectively in response to issues, opportunities and threats and is proactive in efforts to guide business actions that reflect REI’s values and key stakeholder expectations.
  • Develop and direct REI’s internal communications strategies in a manner that aligns with our brand, engages employees in real and meaningful ways, and ensures a unified culture across the organization.
  • Guide the development and implementation of efforts to raise awareness, both internally and externally, of REI’s corporate responsibility (social and environmental).
  • Works strategically within and beyond the co-op to promote alignment and action in addressing our prioritized impact agenda.
  • Provide guidance on co-op responses to questions or statements of position on policy and social issues at both the local and national level.
  • Oversees the development of a governance structure for impact at REI.
  • Evaluate and track the effectiveness of REI’s cooperative affairs initiatives and oversee the publication of the REI annual Impact Report.
  • Foster and maintain effective and collaborative relationships between Public Affairs and Marketing, particularly those departments responsible for social media, brand promotion, product promotion, and co-op membership.
  • Foster strong relationships with key external stakeholders, including community groups, Non-Governmental Organizations, policymakers, and media.
  • Build and maintain a cooperative network of peer counterparts in other organizations to gather information, share ideas, and develop new partnerships.
  • Represent REI and maintain active participation in well-regarded professional organizations that align with REI strategy.
  • Act as a key advisor to the Board of Directors, the CEO, Chief Customer Officer and other senior leaders. Develop and maintain strong working relationships across the organization while bringing an independent view of the meaning of member engagement and service to the members.
  • Be an active participant in REI’s leadership team, including being knowledgeable about the events, trends, and developments in the outdoor industry and corporate social responsibility.
  • Identify emerging topics, leading rapid and effective response. Positions the co-op effectively in response to issues, opportunities and threats and is proactive in efforts to guide business actions that reflect REI’s values and key stakeholder expectations.
  • Develop and submit for approval a yearly operating plan and budget, including staffing projections, for all areas of responsibility. Ensure that timely and accurate services are provided to internal and external customers by providing managerial leadership, direction, and effective monitoring of performance.  Establish departmental and individual goals and objectives that are consistent with the operating plan.
  • Develop and maintain policies and practices that effectively manage business risks within the scope of responsibilities.
  • Develop and communicate job standards for all staff, and update as necessary in accordance with competencies. Provide ongoing coaching, training, and mentoring to direct reports to develop and encourage their performance.
  • Have a working knowledge of impact and sustainability issues, philanthropy, non-profits, volunteerism and community relations.
Bring your passion and expertise
  • 15+ years of progressively responsible leadership of communications teams including at least 7+ years in a leadership role managing multiple teams in a national or multinational company with annual revenues greater than $2B.
  • Must possess strong communication skills, both verbal and written including the ability to translate strategy into action to key stakeholders.
  • Ability to work well under the pressure of deadlines, unpredictability and on multiple priorities.
  • Exceptional media relations skills with proven experience of positive results from working with national-level press.
  • Experience and knowledge of change management principles, methodologies and tools
  • Strong influencing skills to promote dialogue and achieve buy-in across various constituencies.
  • Demonstrated track record of employing exceptional judgment in decision-making and all working relationships. Demonstrates strong emotional intelligence in interactions, negotiations and communications.
  • Communications experience in a multi-channel retail company with revenue of $2B+
  • Proven experience in counseling and influencing senior executives.
  • Expertise in both traditional and emerging media and communications; technology savvy and demonstrated practical experience working with new media and internet communications.
  • Experience selecting, giving direction to and managing an advertising agency relationship.
  • Demonstrated ability to clearly articulate a compelling vision and strategy.
  • Demonstrated success planning, leading and consulting on change initiatives.

As required by applicable Pay Transparency laws, REI provides a range of compensation for roles that may be hired in locations under these requirements. Factors that may be used to determine your actual salary may include a wide array of factors, including: your specific skills and experience, geographic location or other relevant factors.

The base pay for this role is: $265,000 - $350,000 per year.   In addition to base salary, this role is eligible for annual and long-term incentive compensation.


At REI we offer an enviable work environment that Fortune Magazine has recognized on the "100 Best Places to Work" list since the award's inception – 23 years in a row! Sure, we work hard, but it’s balanced with time off to play—a strategy that works for us as we continue to grow and thrive. Want to enjoy a workplace where you can be yourself, be heard and be respected while having a job that challenges you? This is the place.

With more than 160 retail locations (and growing), REI offers unique competitive benefits to its more than 15,000 employees, including healthcare, gear and apparel discounts, free equipment rentals and challenge grants to help employees reach personal outdoor goals, generous retirement plan contributions, public transit subsidy, adoptions assistance, paid sabbaticals, and more.

REI is an Equal Opportunity Employer

Posting Range
$215300 - $411800 per year
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§753. Factors to be considered concerning a previous criminal conviction; presumption.

1. In making a determination pursuant to section seven hundred fifty-two of this chapter, the public agency or private employer shall consider the following factors:

(a) The public policy of this state, as expressed in this act, to encourage the licensure and employment of persons previously convicted of one or more criminal offenses.

(b) The specific duties and responsibilities necessarily related to the license or employment sought or held by the person.

(c) The bearing, if any, the criminal offense or offenses for which the person was previously convicted will have on his fitness or ability to perform one or more such duties or responsibilities.

(d) The time which has elapsed since the occurrence of the criminal offense or offenses.

(e) The age of the person at the time of occurrence of the criminal offense or offenses.

(f) The seriousness of the offense or offenses.

(g) Any information produced by the person, or produced on his behalf, in regard to his rehabilitation and good conduct.

(h) The legitimate interest of the public agency or private employer in protecting property, and the safety and welfare of specific individuals or the general public.

2. In making a determination pursuant to section seven hundred fifty-two of this chapter, the public agency or private employer shall also give consideration to a certificate of relief from disabilities or a certificate of good conduct issued to the applicant, which certificate shall create a presumption of rehabilitation in regard to the offense or offenses specified therein.