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Astellas Pharma Associate Director, M&D Communications (Gene Therapy & Leadership) in Northbrook, Illinois

Developing innovative therapies is one of the most challenging, most essential and personally rewarding fields in science. This is the most exciting time to be a part of Astellas, a company with a uniquely collaborative and patient-focused culture. There's something special about working at Astellas. It's reflected in our focus on the people we serve, the way we treat each other and the results we achieve together as a company. Astellas is announcing an Associate Director, M&D Communications opportunity in Northbrook, IL.

Purpose & Scope:

  1. This position identifies and supports Medical & Development business objectives through timely, effective and measurable communications strategies that increase employee engagement and productivity and raise the profile of Astellas among key internal and external stakeholders.

  2. The Associate Director works closely with the Director of M&D on a variety of strategic communication programs that support the Chief Medical Officer and his leadership team, including Head of Gene Therapy M&D to improve organizational alignment to the M&D Mission, including strategic projects linked to the Corporate Strategic Plan such as internal and external communication programming.

  3. This position is responsible for working in close collaboration with other M&D Communications and Regional Communication colleagues to pull through global initiatives and ensure alignment and continuity.

  4. The Associate Director, working closely with the Director of M&D, will serve as lead communications counselor to M&D Leadership Team members / divisional heads including Head of Gene Therapy and will collaborate with cross-functional senior leaders across the enterprise.

Essential Job Responsibilities:

M&D Overall

  • Partners with executive leaders on the Chief Medical Officer's leadership team to lead internal and external communications for respective organizations. This includes developing and implementing a communications strategy that reflects the goals of the organizations and aligns with the broader M&D organizational strategies (to include effective employee communications and external media / stakeholder engagement strategies that advance business objectives, taking into account regional and country-level differences and nuances).

  • Counsels divisional teams on business matters that benefit from communications strategy and programming.

  • Implements tactical needs for various M&D functional Leadership Teams that oversee M&D operations globally.

Culture, change and employee communications

  • Implements significant organizational change projects in partnership with team and oversees implementation of communications and change management activities.

  • Works with M&D Communications, business leadership and other support functions to implement programs that measurably establish and advance organizational culture.

  • Implements strategic communications programs to align colleagues on key priorities for M&D functions globally.

  • Helps instill and advance a sense of community amongst M&D colleagues globally.

  • Helps identify and promote examples of best practices that support overall M&D objectives and strategies, including contributions of content to M&D Intranet.

Corporate brand, reputation and preference

  • Supports implementation of global corporate brand and reputation initiatives from an M&D perspective, as needed.

  • Helps pull through employee-facing brand and reputation initiatives for M&D colleagues globally. Works in close collaboration with region-based corporate communications teams to ensure alignment between M&D and other Astellas divisions.

  • Helps enhance Astellas' brand awareness by adapting consistent and compelling narratives that portray the work and mission of the organization for use regionally/locally, with an emphasis on supporting the M&D-driven scientific narrative and "external ambassadors" programs globally.

  • In partnership with overall team, provides input on opportunities for M&D leadership to present, speak and engage with external conferences, publications, boards etc. to strategically increase the profile of Astellas.

  • Manages issues/crisis management strategies and execution that have M&D focus.

Communications functional excellence


  • Has a solid foundational understanding of communication measurement strategies and best practices.

  • Develops and maintains metrics to ensure effectiveness of all communications and appropriate ROI.

Communication Strategy

  • Develops and executes communications plans that are aligned with the company's mission, values and strategic imperatives and appropriately tailors them to meet the strategic communications needs of client organizations.

Content Strategy

  • Leads content strategy across the team and organization; revamp strategy and communicate changes with leadership teams (with support of director)

  • Manages and executes strategic writing assignments, such as speeches, articles, town hall presentations, internal and external R&D presentations, announcements, scripts and Q&As for senior management.

  • Prepares and briefs M&D leaders on message delivery, media engagement and internal / external speaking opportunities.

  • Manage flow of internal communication requests and developing strategy/calendarization in collaboration with other key stakeholders (HR, Finance, Ethics & Compliance, etc.

  • Determines and implements the most effective, efficient and impactful methods and channels to achieve communications objectives.

  • Manages vendors who provide communications support to senior leaders and their teams.

Cross-functional and cross-geographic engagement

  • Builds strong relationships with client organizations and their stakeholders to understand their business functions and to formulate appropriate strategies to achieve both functional and corporate objectives.

  • Works with Corporate Communications functions at both the global and regional levels to continuously analyze and improve existing, or develop new, employee channels for communications.

  • Collaborates with global communication partners to identify opportunities to consistently communicate the M&D message strategically both internally and externally across all countries and regions and this includes identifying relevant messages that relate to the business on a broader scale.

Quantitative Dimensions:

Responsible for multiple deliverables for communications and messaging that supports the M&D Mission, Corporate Strategic Plan, business objectives and strategic initiatives across the M&D organization.

Organizational Context:

Position reports on solid-line basis to Director, M&D Communications and will work with multiple cross-collaborative project teams and have matrix responsibilities acorss the M&D organization.

The Associate Director will collaborate with the following colleagues:

  • M&D: Functional leadership teams/functional employees

  • Corporate: Directors / Associate Directors in Communications and Events, Ethics and Compliance, Legal, Finance and IS

  • External: Event Planning, PR agencies, Productions Companies



Educational + Previous Experience Requirements

  • BA or BS Degree or Equivalent communications, public relations or related field is required

  • Requires a minimum of 7-10 years of corporate and/or employee communications experience

  • Experience working in a global communications role for a complex matrix organization across multiple global regions with minimal oversight

Project Management Requirements

  • Demonstrated ability to manage multiple projects and competing priorities

  • Strong organizational skills and high attention to details, ability to coordinate large and diverse projects simultaneously

  • Strong strategic thinking and problem-solving skills

  • Proven experience in effectively communicating with top-level global executives

  • Understanding of technical and scientific issues and ability to translate complex information for non-scientific audiences

  • Demonstrated capability to influence without authority and effectively lead cross-functional work teams/projects.

  • Must have strong executive presence, excellent writing skills and ability to work under tight deadlines with great attention to detail

Technical Requirements

  • Demonstrated high level of competency with, SharePoint, IS and web-based systems and MS Office applications

  • Media relations experience and excellent communication abilities including presentation, verbal and written skills

  • Demonstrated ability to analyze and develop business performance metrics, and identify and implement process improvements

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

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.


  • Internal and external communication experience

  • Health care / pharmaceuticals industry experience


Category Medical & Development

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