University of Waterloo

Senior Communications Officer

Requisition ID
Job Category
Student Services
Employment Type
Time Type
Hiring Range
$74,287 - $92,859


Term: 1 year


Velocity is University of Waterloo’s leading entrepreneurship program. It’s composed of two units. The Velocity Incubator supports early stage tech companies through to the seed stage and provides customized business advisement and product development facilities. Concept, by Velocity infuses the UWaterloo community with inspiration and information about entrepreneurship and operates pre-incubation programs to ready soon-to-be entrepreneurs for building a company. As a flagship and evolving department at the University of Waterloo, internal and external communications are critical to Velocity’s success. Further, the scope of communications is truly global and must support Velocity’s goal of being a global powerhouse for venture creation.


The Senior Communications Officer (SCO) is a full-time position responsible for strategic communications, supporting both the Velocity Department and UWaterloo media relations, social media, stakeholder relations, story development and writing, public outreach and brand marketing at a regional, national and international level. The SRO peers at UWaterloo are Media Relations Managers. Reporting to the Executive Director, the SCO works closely with colleagues in Concept, Velocity Incubator, internal and external partners to ensure outreach efforts are maximized across all channels. Particularly important is the relationship with the larger communications and University Relations group at the University of Waterloo. The position also contributes to Velocity’s social media channels and supports stakeholder engagement.


This role is contingent on funding.


Planning and strategy

  • Develop and implement strategic communications plans that build positive awareness of Velocity’s impact, expertise, economic and social performance, events and other initiatives – particularly as it relates to storytelling, public relations and marketing

  • Guide the message development for key speaking opportunities, events and announcements

Media Relations

  • Support UWaterloo Media Relations to develop and maintain contacts with print, broadcast and online media in collaboration with UWaterloo’s Media Relations

  • Identify stories with news value; write, pitch and distribute news releases and media advisories

  • Coordinate with UWaterloo Media Relations to respond to media requests for expert commentary and coordinate logistics

  • More generally and in collaboration with UWaterloo Media Relations, develops and manages delivery of tactics to support the Velocity’s media relations strategy to meet established program targets:

  • Executing press outreach, attends media events, initiate media calls, develop collateral/press materials

  • Monitor Velocity events and developments, identifying those with the greatest potential for being picked up by the media ensuring an emphasis on institutional priorities, specifically increasing Velocity’s research and international profiles

  • Gather information, conduct research, interview sources, and write a variety of materials for the media on a wide variety of subjects (e.g., news releases, social media releases and multi-media content in support of news releases); Strategize and tailor messages appropriately

Quality Control and Measurement

  • Monitor, analyze and evaluate media coverage, and prepare regular internal reports as required

  • Regularly meet with designated Velocity staff to review upcoming initiatives and proactively identify external public relations opportunities

  • Oversee database of key achievements and performance metrics for Velocity to support Velocity’s overall story telling efforts

  • Ensure articulation of Velocity’s brands is consistently communicated across the organization in line with the mission, vision and brand strategy of Velocity and its association with the University of Waterloo

  • Work closely with Velocity companies to identify existing and emerging opportunities that can be used to showcase their work and the work of Velocity

  • Oversee Velocity’s overall social media presence and ensure active engagement with followers

Content Development

  • Inform development and distribution of marketing products including impact reports, brochures, pamphlets and display materials (both print and online)

  • Book advertising space and co-ordinate placement; proofread and edit ad copy

  • Plan and implement internal communications activities including internal messaging to University and Velocity partners from Directors and Executive Director

  • Work collaboratively with department staff to leverage and support social media, online and multimedia content development and outreach


  • Other duties as assigned by the Executive Director


  • University degree, preferably in communications, public relations or journalism, or equivalent experience
  • At least 7 to 10 years of media relations experience with a proven track record in a complex, fast- paced environment
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills, knowledge of Canadian Press style, high proficiency in grammar, spelling, sentence structure and rules of composition

  • Strong familiarity with national and international news media and newsroom operations

  • Strong background in the development of overarching corporate narratives as well as individual stories

  • Hands-on experience developing and implementing media and public relations strategies is an asset

  • Strong strategic communications planning and campaign delivery experience

  • Good interpersonal skills, both for internal relations and for exceptional customer service, including tact, diplomacy and good judgment

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English, with a second language preferred

  • Working knowledge of media monitoring and social media applications 

  • Strong proofreading and creative skills, including for reviewing creative concepts and artwork for print and online content

  • Discretion and tact in dealing with sensitive information

  • Detail-oriented and organized. Strong ability to multitask, work independently and under pressure, set priorities and meet deadlines

  • Highly motivated and results oriented with a passion for commercialization, students, and startups

  • Work outside the normal operating hours of UWaterloo can be expected in this role


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