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Astellas Pharma Associate Director, External & Social Media Communications in Northbrook, Illinois

Do you want to be part of an inclusive team that works to develop innovative therapies for patients? Every day, we are driven to develop and deliver innovative and effective new medicines to patients and physicians. If you want to be part of this exciting work, you belong at Astellas!

Astellas Pharma Inc. is a pharmaceutical company conducting business in more than 70 countries around the world. We are committed to turning innovative science into medical solutions that bring value and hope to patients and their families. Keeping our focus on addressing unmet medical needs and conducting our business with ethics and integrity enables us to improve the health of people throughout the world. For more information on Astellas, please visit our website at

This position is based in Northbrook, Illinois, however remote work from certain states may be permitted in accordance with Astellas' Responsible Flexibility Guidelines. Candidates interested in remote work are encouraged to apply.

Purpose & Scope:

The Associate Director, Communications is an external communications expert, with a depth of knowledge and leadership in dealing with traditional and social media in a spokesperson and strategist role. The candidate should have a depth of knowledge around the evolving digital space. They should also have a solid understanding of product communications, including how products influence and impact brand and reputation. This position is also responsible for working across the organization to positively influence corporate image and employee engagement as well as build brand/product pipeline awareness both regionally and globally. It is responsible for directing and driving employee engagement and corporate communication with an emphasis on patient focus through digital media strategies, media relations, organizational development, change management and an internal news bureau directed toward Astellas US employees. The role liaises and collaborates with relevant communication partners in Commercial Communications and Therapeutic Area communications, Government Affairs to integrate resources and responsibilities with consistent and shared processes and interaction models to deliver business objectives.

Drives change management communications in the US region, in collaboration with Organizational Development lead in HR. This position will support business objectives with engaging, creative, timely and effective communications solutions that help employees understand and deliver on the company's strategy. To include: development of communications strategies, channels, messages and tools that influence corporate action to support the company's mission. Lead and develop a team responsible for the corporate intranet, e-mail announcements, employee publications, meeting content and presentations.

Accountable for building strong and collaborative relationships within the region, throughout the commercial communications function, and across the globe to provide communications leadership and counsel to all parts of the organization, including the management team, and serves as a senior advisor on employee-related issues in strategic business planning.

This role executes global commercial communication strategies that support the advancement of the Commercial Division, creates and builds strategy and implements communication plans to stakeholders within the region, identifies local communications needs and partners with global team to support affiliate/AREA or regional needs, and customizes and executes communications for local product/brand Phase III and beyond activities and initiatives (e.g., patient/HCP education programming).

Core Tasks, Responsibilities and Authority:

  1. Building trust and corporate image externally
  • Drive a positive conversation about Astellas across traditional and social media. Serve as a public face to the company.

  • Support the company to build and maintain good relationships with media, digital opinion leaders, industry, government bodies, customers and the general public in order to maintain a positive view of the company and its products.

  • Plan and implement external-facing strategic communications program annually that engages wider stakeholder audiences such as patient groups, business and media.

  • Support senior management to maximize on media and awards opportunities.

  • Manage the development of corporate materials which will support the company profile and company organized media events such as press conferences /media interviews (materials such as press releases, Q&As, key message documents, press packs, brochures, corporate advertising).

  • Manage media monitoring and corporate inboxes.

  • Manage the digital channels of Astellas US to ensure it is kept up to date, compliant and aligns with the company messages.

  1. External communications
  • Serve as media spokesperson for US media

  • Liaise with the product communications team as needed to ensure a coordinated approach to publicizing the release of R&D/clinical data milestones, patient education programming, HCP awareness campaigns.

  • Ensure timely provision of approved core regional media materials.

  • Drive a collaborative and patient-focused employee culture committed to engagement, diversity & inclusion and operating with the highest ethical standards

  • Develop and execute streamlined, consistent internal and external commercial-wide digital communications strategies, platforms, channels and measurement framework

  1. Issues/ crisis management
  • Support Communications and Business leadership to execute communications in the event of any form of crisis to minimize negative media coverage, including maintaining the US Commercial Markets Crisis Manual up-to-date and making revisions as necessary.

  • Monitor internal feedback and external media coverage when an issue/ crisis occurs

  1. Employee engagement communications
  • Develops and implements a strategic vision and mid-term plan for employee communications in support of business objectives.

  • Develops and implements an integrated strategic employee communications plan to broaden understanding and awareness of Astellas' vision, strategy and business objectives, thereby enhance employee engagement through internal communications.

  • Works with Commercial Communications team globally, IMT members, Leadership team members, and staff to recognize internal communication opportunities and solutions, and defines and executes appropriate strategies to support them.

  • Develops and implements plans to increase exposure of MT members to affiliates in delivery of key strategic messages.

  • Co-leads with Information Systems in management of new intranet to increase the effectiveness of internal communications and engagement.

  • Facilitates two-way communications and feedback sharing between senior management and employees, utilizing communication channels such as town hall meetings.

  • Develops measurement criteria and processes that effectively evaluate internal communications programs and actively tracks effectiveness.

  • Builds and maintains strong working relationships with corporate, regions and functional communications professionals.

  • Coaches and motivates employee communications team.

  1. Senior communications counsel
  • Ensures internal communications' consistency and effectiveness through the creation of internal communication processes and guidelines, including SOPs for all employee emails in US Commercial Markets

  • Provides senior strategic communications counsel to internal business partners and other team members, including the development of communications plans and tactics that support key initiatives, events and crises.

  • Provides strategic guidance to the executive management team and business line owners in developing the most effective ways to communicate key messages to internal audiences.

  • Works collaboratively with other parts of the Astellas organization that has employee communications responsibilities to align communications and ensure consistency and increase effectiveness of messages within functions and across the organization.

  1. Change management communications
  • Oversees change management communications in the US-C region, in collaboration with Organizational Development lead in HR.

  • Develop and manage effective overall communications plan for change/enhancement initiatives relating to culture, new business processes, strategic communications, new leaderships etc., in support of business owners involved.

  • Develop and lead integrated internal communications plan for major change initiatives, including relevant regulatory body to ensure compliance in communications.

Mandatory Compliance requirements:

To act as Subject Matter Expert and Trusted Advisor to equip and enable personnel to understand and strictly adhere to the Astellas Group Code of Conduct and associated policies and procedures and other applicable laws and regulations.

To fully understand, comply with, and challenge as appropriate. To raise any concerns in a timely manner with the relevant manager(s) including reference to the Ethics and Compliance team and/or Ethics and Compliance Helpdesk. Regularly undertake and refresh mandatory Ethics and Compliance training in order to maintain knowledge and expertise to enable informed consent and personal accountability.

Comply with the Astellas Way and Astellas Competences, in terms of expected values and behaviors, Astellas' HR policies, procedures and guidelines.

Quantitative Dimensions:

Oversee communications budget

Interpersonal Relationships:


  • Employees at all levels within US Commercial Markets

  • Senior management throughout the company, including affiliate management

  • Legal/Compliance and Medical signatories

  • Affiliate General Managers and Communications Leads

  • Regional Communication counterparts

  • Global Headquarters


  • External suppliers and consultants

  • Professional and Regulatory bodies

  • Media (both traditional and digital -- top tier and trade)

  • Patient groups/ NGOs

Specific Physical Abilities:

Willing and able to undertake some international travel

Specific Environmental Factors:

Aligned to US-C regional headquarters in Northbrook, IL. Willing to work additional hours as required by the business.

Professional Profile:


Customer Focus:

  • Fosters a culture where everything is done to enhance value to patients. Intentional about meeting/exceeding customer expectations (internal/external).

  • Strategic Orientation:

  • Credible leader: engages colleagues/team to effectively deliver strategic plan and secure the confidence of key stakeholders.

  • Considers broader picture and embeds a 'best practice' culture to increase operational performance within a multi-cultural, matrix and global organization.

Innovation and Change:

  • Acts as ambassador for change; proactively fosters a continuous improvement and ideas generation culture.

  • Secures commitment from peers/colleagues to adopt new work processes, systems, and approaches to embed change.

Results Orientation:

  • Demonstrates personal accountability for business performance (unit/function); consistently delivers high performance results addressing risks/obstacles in a constructive manner.

  • Proactively supports team/colleagues to deliver effectively; sets clear expectations, priorities, and objectives utilizing resources for optimum performance.

  • Demonstrates integrity, sound judgment and decision making skills. Addresses non-compliance.

  • IT literate; able to utilize MS Office and virtual collaboration tools, database, compliance systems/applications, online knowledge repositories etc.

Communication & Collaboration:

  • Strong collaborative skills: able to work cross-functionally and with virtual teams, to build trust, commitment and engagement. Adjusts approach to secure a positive and respectful outcome.

  • Regularly seeks and provides constructive feedback with due recognition for individual contribution.

  • Ability to deliver management reports and metrics and give 'formal' presentations and updates to diverse audience(s) (e.g. compliance, training, corrective actions, qualitative/quantitative updates etc.).

Developing & Inspiring:

  • Creates an environment which fosters learning and development with appropriate stretch and 'risk.' Provides constructive feedback to utilise strengths and identify development needs.

  • Adopts a coaching approach to develop others and build future leaders with due respect for diversity and inclusion.

Working as One Astellas:

  • Acts as an ambassador of ethics and compliance; incorporates cross-cultural perspective when addressing challenging situations.

  • Creates an environment which fosters mutual respect, integrity and value.


  • BS or BA Degree or Equivalent in journalism, communications or related field

  • Minimum of 8+ years of increasing corporate communications or public relations experience

  • Blue chip experience (Pharma beneficial) with strong customer focus; in multi-disciplinary, matrix and cross-cultural settings.

  • Track-record of leading planning process with excellent organizational and collaboration skills

  • Solid experience in the media or media management

  • Extensive corporate communications or public relations experience

  • Prior management of change management communication initiatives

  • Experience managing and/or using a wide array of internal communications tools

  • Experience providing effective strategic counsel to senior management, including President/CEO and HR

  • Ability to be a flexible team player with the highest ethical and business standards

  • Experience leading people and building strong working relationships across organizations

  • Experience of managing agencies

  • Demonstrable experience of developing robust communications strategies that support internal engagement

  • Proven ability to be visionary, innovative, creative and experience in new communications trends, with a proven track record in providing confident, persuasive and appropriate communications counsel to senior leaders

  • Credible dealing with top/senior management and key stakeholders

  • Small team leadership and coaching skills

  • Self-starter, able to initiate, drive and share strategic communications initiatives

  • Flexible and solutions driven approach to work

  • Customer focused approach - working closely with internal stakeholders to ensure joint projects / programs align with the objectives set out

  • Strong strategic thinking and problem-solving skills

  • Able to work in a changing environment

  • Able to work in global or multi-national environment, seeing 'bigger picture'

  • Ability to retain and manage confidential information effectively

  • BSc degree or equivalent in journalism communications or related field is required

  • Awareness and understanding of the US codes of practice and how they apply to Communications

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skill

  • Professional copy writing experience in public relations Able to perform under pressure

  • Willing to work overtime if the workload requires

  • Able to manage competing demands and manage priorities

Benefits :

  • Medical, Dental and Vision Insurance

  • Generous Paid Time Off options, including Vacation and Sick time, plus national holidays including year-end shut down

  • 401(k) match and annual company contribution

  • Company paid life insurance

  • Annual Corporate Bonus and Quarterly Sales Incentive for eligible positions

  • Long Term Incentive Plan for eligible positions

  • Referral bonus program


Category Pharmacology and Toxicology

Astellas is committed to equality of opportunity in all aspects of employment. EOE including Disability/Protected Veterans