Communications & Marketing Associate III

  • Grand Rapids, MI
  • Full-time

Company Description

Van Andel Institute (VAI) is an independent research and educational organization based in Grand Rapids, MI, dedicated to preserving, enhancing and expanding the frontiers of medical science, and to achieving excellence in education by probing fundamental issues of education and the learning process. Through world-class basic and translational research and life-changing educational programs, VAI is committed to finding solutions to the looming health threats of the 21st century.


Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) is a world-class biomedical research facility that has gained recognition for basic and translational research into the genetic and molecular origins of cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other diseases. VARI works to translate discoveries into therapies that conquer illness and enhance lives.

Through programs that provide hands-on, inquiry-based learning opportunities across the entire educational spectrum – from elementary through graduate school up to the professional development level – Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) is dedicated to strengthening science education and preparing and motivating individuals to pursue science-related professions. VAEI’s Science Academy offers major programs to engage students, teachers, and community members in science and promote science-related fields for all children, regardless of gender, race, or socioeconomic status. The Van Andel Institute Graduate School offers a unique, hands-on Ph.D. program to prepare students for careers in cell and molecular biology.

Job Description


Van Andel Institute has an opening for a seasoned professional, reporting to the Director of Communications and Marketing.


This position will play an integral role in communicating VAI’s mission and vision, through a comprehensive marketing communications program. Responsibilities include planning, drafting and implementing communications projects of varying size and complexity; providing experienced leadership and project management for internal and external communications, programs and events of key significance to the advancement of the overall goals and objectives of the Institute.  



  • Research, write and disseminate prepared remarks, speeches and talking points for senior executives.
  • Draft and develop annual report, donor communications, and translate science technical language into consumer language.
  • Draft, develop, and distribute pitch letters, media advisories, press releases, photo captions and other forms of media correspondence, backgrounders, fact sheets, bios, newsletters, prepared remarks, program elements and standby statements.


Additional Duties may include:

  • Ensure proper positioning and treatment of relevant communications and marketing website content and graphics on VAI internal and external websites.
  • Respond to media inquiries in accordance with media relations procedures and represents the Institute in a professional manner; make appropriate arrangements for interviews with VAI staff; escort media representatives while on VAI property; develop and enhance relationships with appropriate media representatives.
  • Support daily public relations activities, such as updating media lists, writing and distributing press materials, distributing media coverage reports, fielding incoming media inquiries.
  • Support events and provide on-site staff support.
  • Ensure message consistency across all materials and proofread content for proper grammar usage, typographical errors, and content accuracy; utilize skills in the area of writing, editing, and proofing of different types of content (web, email, print).
  • Assist internal departments with communications related projects, ensuring the maintenance and consistency of the VAI brand and message.
  • Maintain photo archive and provide logos and/or images to internal and external contacts as appropriate.
  • Perform all other duties as assigned.



  • Prefer MBA or Master’s Degree in Communications
  • Prefer APR or PCM accreditation
  • More than ten years of demonstrated experience in marketing & communications
  • Strong verbal and written communication skills including a thorough understanding of correct grammar
  • Over ten years of experience in writing speeches and talking points, news releases, feature stories, pitch letters, and ability to create targeted messages for a variety of media outlets
  • Ability to work well under pressure and deadlines and be flexible and adaptable to unexpected changes; with the proven ability to meet deadlines and excellent interpersonal skills
  • Significant experience in an online/Web-based communications environment required, including digital marketing and communications and search engine marketing and optimization
  • Non-profit and life sciences/research experience preferred
  • Demonstrated ability to manage Internet and intranet web sites, experience creating content for sites and level of knowledge required to oversee web sites

Additional Information

This is a full time job with an annual salary of $75,000, plus a comprehensive benefit package.

Other benefits include (and may or may not be limited to):

  • A great office space.
  • A café onsite which serves breakfast and lunch with a new menu every day! 
  • Covered parking.
  • 24x7 onsite workout facility.
  • A TGIF happy hour every Friday.
  • A team of people who care deeply about what they're doing.


Please apply with a cover letter and resume explaining how your experience aligns with this great opportunity by visiting or