VP, Convention Marketing and Communications

National Restaurant Association

About Us:

The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is the largest foodservice trade association in the world*—supporting over 500,000 restaurant businesses. In partnership with our state restaurant associations, we work every day to empower all restaurant owners and operators to achieve more than they thought possible.

We represent and advocate for foodservice industry interests—taking on financial and regulatory obstacles before they hit our members’ bottom line. We provide tools and systems that help members of all sizes get significantly better operating results. And we offer the kinds of networking, education and research resources that are only possible because of our vast, and active, membership base.

We save our members time, money and headaches by helping them take on what matters most for their success and growth—whether that’s protecting their economic interests, sharing best practices, or getting them in front of emerging trends.

We strive to move our industry forward by finding answers to the tough questions, distilling complex information into practical knowledge and helping our members navigate the issues that can leave them in the weeds. And that makes us the go-to resource for smart, relevant intelligence that helps our members run their businesses better.

At the NRA, we believe that there is strength in numbers. When we come together as an industry, our collective voice is stronger and our impact is greater than when any of us stands alone. And that means our shared spirit of hospitality, passion for serving others and belief in the American entrepreneurial dream will be safeguarded and advanced.


Position Details

VP, Convention Marketing and Communications
Chicago Illinois
Chicago, IL

Summary of Position:

Under the supervision of the EVP, Convention & Strategic Alliances, the VP, Convention Marketing & Communications is responsible for overseeing the overall marketing & communications strategy and functions of the Convention products.

Responsibilities include:

  • Providing the perspectives and market intelligence needed by the EVP, Convention & Strategic Alliances to establish the group’s strategic goals, especially in the areas of exhibitor and attendee acquisition, programming, new product development, and advancing the Association member value platform by building appreciation and value of the NRA; 
  • Overseeing product marketing, assessment of existing and potential markets, product development/management, marketing communications, online marketing, brand management, market research and public relations; 
  • Developing long-range marketing plans for the Convention business, translating the overall strategy into tactical plans to achieve the Convention goals and objectives; 
  • Collaborating with enterprise-wide Marketing and Communications teams to develop media, content and event strategies that generate revenue and engage members.

Principal Duties:

  • Work as part of Convention team to accomplish Association goals. 
  • Work through EVP, Convention & Strategic Alliances to assist with determining strategic direction of the Group and oversee its implementation through strategic and creative marketing and communications planning, product development and programming insights.
  • Support all internal team members and departments, following the Association mission and values while promoting Association culture. 
  • Develop and implement an integrated strategic marketing and communications plan to advance NRA Show, BAR and NEFS brands; broaden awareness of its programs and priorities; increase exhibitor and attendee acquisition, and expand the visibility of its programs across key stakeholder audiences. 
  • Develop and implement marketing / public relations / social media strategies that will cultivate and enhance meaningful relationships with targeted, high-level audiences, including but not limited the media, exhibitors and attendees. Identify challenges and emerging issues faced by the organization. 
  • Work with leadership team and staff to recognize internal and external marketing and communications opportunities and solutions, and define and execute appropriate strategies to support them. 
  • Develop all creative elements of NRA Convention businesses. 
  • Serve as marketing and communications subject matter expert, both internally and externally. 
  • Oversee development of all NRA Convention print and digital marketing/communications including attendee and exhibitor acquisition marketing collateral materials, Convention websites and new media; manage relationships with associated vendors. 
  • Exercise judgment to prioritize media opportunities, and prepare talking points, speeches, presentations and other supporting material as needed. 
  • Actively engage, cultivate, and manage press relationships to ensure coverage surrounding NRA Convention programs, special events, public announcements, and other projects. •As needed, serve as spokesperson and lead point person on media interactions that help promote and/or impact the organization. 
  • Oversee the day-to-day activities of the Marketing & Communications Department including budgeting, planning, execution and staff development. 
  • Recruit and manage appropriate Marketing and Communications team to support the development and execution of the marketing and communications strategy. 
  • Promote a culture of high performance and continuous improvement that values learning and a commitment to quality. 
  • Mentor and develop staff using a supportive and collaborative approach on a consistent basis. 
  • Establish and monitor staff performance and development goals, assign accountabilities, set objectives, establish priorities, conduct annual performance appraisals, and administer salary adjustments. 
  • Act as Convention communications expert, leading creation of strategic plans, presentations and other documentation of Convention business strategy and initiatives for broader Association, Board and allied audiences. 
  • Lead development of research and data analysis capability in Convention group. Procure, evaluate and report out on business intelligence to inform exhibitor/attendee acquisition, product development and inform programming. 
  • Collaborate with Enterprise Sales leadership to strategize new and customized ways to engage key exhibitors and sponsors, including development of sponsored assets, benefits and deliverables for sponsorship programs, and execution of sponsorship initiatives. 

Essential Use of Following Tools:

  • Computer/Printer 
  • Digital marketing & Social Media 
  • Content management and database software 
  • Tradeshow software 
Essential Training/Certifications:
  • Bachelor’s Degree required, Master’s preferred 
  • Minimum of 15 years’ experience in marketing or advertising – marketing agency and event experience preferred 
  • Minimum of 10 years' experience in a senior marketing management role either in-house or with an agency 
  • Minimum of 10 years’ experience managing a specific area

Essential Skills/Knowledge:

  • Demonstrated experience and leadership in developing comprehensive strategic marketing and communications, media relations, and marketing programs to advance an organization’s mission and goals. 
  • A minimum of five years' experience in planning, writing, editing, and producing newsletters, press releases, annual reports, marketing literature, and other print and digital marketing and communication vehicles.

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