Chief of Communications

Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans, LA | Full-time


The Position

The Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans (SWBNO) is seeking a Chief of Communications to lead internal and external communications. As a leader, the Chief meets the agency's strategic goals and actively works to enhance the overall image and reputation of the agency. The role develops, manages, coordinates, executes, and measures internal and external communication strategies and programs that further the mission of the SWBNO.

The Chief of Communications reports to the Executive Director and supports the executive team’s efforts to engage the public, media, regulators, the agency’s workforce, and other stakeholders. The Chief will develop, implement, manage, and measure external messaging. Additionally, the position will provide support to the Executive Director in public engagements and other areas as required. This will require utilizing various types of delivery platforms and media to educate various stakeholder groups about the work and services SWBNO is doing.

In support of organizational goals and objectives, the Chief of Communications builds and manages an effective and high-performing communications team. Internally, the Chief provides consistent and timely information to employees through a variety of communications platforms and actively promotes cross-functional awareness and team building. The communications annual budget is both proposed and managed by the Chief of Communications.

The role performs a variety of highly responsible and complex management and communication duties, including developing, implementing, and communicating utility strategy and key messages to a wide variety of audiences in clear, concise, and audience-focused language. The Chief develops and maintains relationships and partnerships with other public and private agencies and organizations and non-profit and community groups. Additionally, the Chief determines and manages communications related to vendor contracts and relationships. By overseeing the SWBNO website, the lead ensures the accuracy of content and timeliness of updates and works with internal developers to maintain the site's hosting platform and structure.

Importantly, the Chief of Communications leads issues management, as well as crisis communications planning and response, and manages proactive and emergency communications on all social media platforms and the SWBNO website. Acting as the agency’s spokesperson, the lead oversees, manages, and proactively engages with the media and their inquiries and, additionally, leads media training. By monitoring and evaluating communication effectiveness, the Chief leads the production of reports on communication metrics which include media coverage, social media interaction, and website analytics.


  • Provide expert strategic communications leadership, assistance, and advice to facilitate the success of the SWBNO Smart Meter Program.
  • Provide expert strategic communications leadership, assistance, and advice to facilitate a successful, collaborative, and transparent rate adjustment campaign.
  • Provide expert strategic communications leadership, assistance, and advice to continue the ongoing project to successfully re-brand the Sewerage and Water Board.

The Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans

SWBNO has served as a model agency for much of its existence. The organization is a quasi-City/State entity that is an unattached Board of the City Government created by the State Legislature and governed by an eleven-member Board of Directors (Board). The Board consists of the Mayor as chair, the chair of the City Council’s Public Works, Sanitation and Environment Committee (or their designee), two representatives of the Board of Liquidation, and seven citizen members, of which five represent Council districts and two are consumer advocates. The seven citizen members are nominated by a selection committee composed of locally recognized leaders and reflect the diversity of the community. Two citizen members are consumer advocates with community advocacy or consumer protection experience, or experience in a related field.

The Board is authorized to administer the construction, maintenance, and operation of the Water, Sewer, and Drainage Systems for the City of New Orleans. The SWBNO also provides some services to neighboring parishes. It appoints an Executive Director who serves at the pleasure of the governing Board and oversees the day-to-day operations of the SWBNO, including drinking water, wastewater, and drainage activities in Orleans Parish, as well as the power systems to support them. Recently, the SWBNO has gone through a reorganization resulting in three Enterprise systems which include Engineering, Operations, and Pump and Power.

The SWBNO has over 1,000 employees and serves a population of over 400,000. The Utility’s 2022 operating budget was $224 million with $124 million coming from water revenues and $156 million from wastewater. Drainage revenues come from ad valorem taxes of $60 million. Additionally, SWBNO has a 10-year $1.4 billion capital program.

The Ideal Candidate

The next Chief of Communications brings with them a history of demonstrated knowledge of community relations, as well as public and media relations principles and practices, paired with successful experience managing internal and external communications strategies. Ideally, the successful candidate will bring with them top-tier communication skills and a deep understanding and experience in creating and implementing successful campaigns.

The successful candidate has experience working in a utility or similar agency and has demonstrated success working with internal departments and external partners to build diverse and inclusive relationships that advance common goals and support the agency. The next Chief of Communications will bring a history of developing, building, and executing successful communication campaigns within or for a utility. The ideal Chief of Communications brings valued consultative expertise to the opportunity and both embraces and fosters innovation within SWBNO’s communication strategies.

The Chief brings vast experience in successfully building and managing communication teams by assessing, developing, and empowering staff. With a high level of demonstrated leadership, the selected candidate will be able to operate under pressure while still producing accurate and high-quality work. Having experience managing content and social business software will also be vital. The successful candidate is politically savvy and maintains objectivity in working with elected officials and the public.

The City of New Orleans

New Orleans is a consolidated city-parish located along the Mississippi River in the state of Louisiana. The Greater New Orleans metropolitan area had a population of over 1.25 million in 2020. The City of New Orleans is one of the United States’ most culturally rich and historically significant cities, from its colonial neighborhoods to Mardi Gras to its festivals and award-winning food scene and everything in between.

The City is more than just an internationally renowned visitor destination. New Orleans is considered one of the fastest-growing “traditional” cities, according to the U.S. Census. Serving as a major port, New Orleans is considered an economic and commercial hub for the broader Gulf Coast region of the United States.

New Orleans has a Mayor-Council form of government where the City Council consists of seven members, five of who are elected by district, and two at-large members. The Mayor serves a four-year term. Both the Council and the Mayor are limited to two consecutive terms. New Orleans’ government is largely centralized in the City Council and Mayor’s office.

Offering a host of family-friendly neighborhoods and City events, a thriving youth sports environment, and an engaging arts scene, the City never fails to have something for the family to do. With dozens of music venues, theaters, museums, and multiple professional sports teams there truly is something for everyone, and every lifestyle, in New Orleans. New Orleans is an intellectual hub with seven universities, three HBCUs, two medical schools, two law schools, a dental school, a public health school, and four community and technical colleges.

  • 2022 “South’s Best Food City” by Southern Living Magazine
  • 2022 #3 Destination in the U.S. for City Lovers by Tripadvisor's Travelers' Choice
  • 2022 #2 happiest travel destination in North America by Club Med
  • 2022 #2 on the Top 10 U.S. Cities list by Travel + Leisure
  • 2021 Time's list of World's Greatest Places 2021 by Time

Experience and Education

Minimum requirements include a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in Journalism, Marketing, Public Relations, Communications, or a related field. Eight years of progressive experience in public relations and/or communications, including designing and executing successful campaigns and programs for a utility or comparable organization or entity with at least three years of team management experience and two years of content and social business software management experience.

Preferred qualifications also include experience working for a water utility or similar public agency in a communications or public outreach capacity and experience as a media spokesperson. Exceptional communication skills, including writing and presenting, with extensive experience drafting written materials such as press releases and talking points as well as public information officer training is ideal.


The expected hiring range is $130,000 - $160,000, depending on qualifications, with an excellent benefits package.

How to Apply

Applications will be accepted electronically by Raftelis. Applicants complete a brief online form and are prompted to provide a cover letter and resume. Open until filled with the first review of applications on March 13, 2023.


Please direct questions to Pamela Wideman at and Robert Colichio at


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