Founded at the University of Michigan Medical School, TRAILS (Transforming Research into Action to Improve the Lives of Students) is among the most innovative and rapidly-growing school-based mental health solutions in the country. After a decade in the academic setting, TRAILS spun out from the University in 2022 and launched as an independent organization with approximately 35 staff. Within a year, our staff size had more than doubled. Today, our growing team is working toward the TRAILS mission of transforming the landscape of youth mental health care delivery by equipping school staff with the training and resources they need to provide evidence-based and culturally responsible programming to their students. 

To date, TRAILS has brought essential skills and resources to more than 14,000 teachers, administrators, and school mental health professionals. Our best-in-class program materials are built specifically for the school setting, and our unique training model is driven by research from the field of implementation science. Our website and library of materials are utilized by educators and clinicians across the United States and in more than 100 countries around the world. While our impact today is greatest in our home state of Michigan, TRAILS is expanding nationally with strong support from education and health sector leaders, public offices, and state policymakers. 

As we work to respond to massive demand for TRAILS programming from schools and districts throughout the United States, our team is guided by a core commitment to equity: The TRAILS growth strategy identifies Title I designated schools as our broadest target population, and we aim specifically to impact students who experience high risk for poor mental health outcomes and disproportionate barriers to quality care. As we grow our team, we seek candidates who share our commitment to equity in health and healthcare access, who practice cultural humility, and who thrive in and contribute to an inclusive working environment.

Team: External Affairs

Reports To: VP of External Affairs

Location: Remote, United States (Physical office in Ann Arbor, MI - optional)


The Director of Marketing and Communications is the leader of all TRAILS branding, marketing, and communications efforts. Along with a small team (Communications Manager and Communications Specialist), the Director is responsible for creating a TRAILS marketing strategy and then executing it with their team and across the organization. On a day-to-day basis, this could look like creating slide decks for an upcoming CEO trip, revising one-pagers and marketing materials for a conference, or working across teams to create a report for a specific group of education administrators. This is a perfect fit for a candidate who has a strategic mindset and doesn’t hesitate to execute their vision, and who is eager for the chance to work at a rapidly growing organization with national-level impact and reach.



  • Create and execute a marketing plan focusing on key TRAILS audiences (policymakers, school administrators, school mental health professionals, and educators)
  • Create and update high-quality marketing materials, including presentation slide decks, reports, flyers / one-pagers, graphics, and more
  • Manage and regularly update all TRAILS external marketing channels, including mass email and social media
  • Create and maintain TRAILS talking points and messaging, from general inquiries to needs for a specific event or rapid-response moment
  • Evaluate all existing communications and marketing efforts, centering data and  metrics; make thoughtful decisions and recommendations based on that data
  • Manage and/or assist with TRAILS media relations, including op-ed writing and placement and relationship-building with reporters, outlets, and other partners
  • Center diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in all TRAILS communications, ensuring they reflect our organization’s overarching DEI Philosophy and Values
  • Represent the needs of Marketing and Communications (and External Affairs, when asked to do so by the VP of External Affairs) at internal and external meetings; ensure that the Marketing and Communications Team knows about all updates to projects and tasks that would affect their work


  • Create and maintain sustainable marketing systems for storing and updating TRAILS marketing resources (e.g., systems for when and how to update TRAILS marketing materials, organization format for simple and easy access to TRAILS marketing materials and documents in Google Drive, etc.)
  • Refine and protect the TRAILS brand identity and voice, including communications led by other TRAILS staffers (e.g., unified use of slide deck template, logos, fonts)
  • Collaborate across the organization to ensure a unified TRAILS design strategy (involving designers from the Technology Innovations department, Training and Materials department, and beyond as appropriate)
  • Build relationships and work collaboratively across teams; Marketing and Communications often supports other teams throughout the organization, requiring clear communication across teams and regularly testing our project management skills


  • Provide leadership, guidance, and communication to team members to ensure high-quality deliverables and a culture of welcoming feedback (needed improvements or changes should not be communicated implicitly or postponed)
  • Coach and mentor team members to align team and organizational goals with team member strengths and interests when possible, and to significantly further their careers
  • Hold yourself to high standards as a leader of your team, especially on issues of feedback and accountability
  • Attend all staff meetings and retreats, workgroups and other relevant TRAILS meetings as necessary
  • Support TRAILS team with all hands on deck events as needed and other team initiatives


Our experience suggests that the following types of professional experiences lend themselves to this work:

  • A strategist who has created marketing plans and adapted those plans as needed
  • A leader who contributes to every aspect of the work, not only at a strategic or delegation level
  • A human-centered manager with experience building strong and supportive teams
  • Willingness to work flexible hours to occasionally accommodate business hours in other US time zones as necessary
  • ​​Willingness to travel up to 2-4 times per year
  • Commitment to TRAILS’ service, mission, and equity journey

Our experience suggests that the following types of skills lend themselves well to this work:

  • Project management: takes complicated, often cross-team projects from idea all the way to execution
  • Accountability: takes responsibility for goals and duties, and advances work even/especially without close supervision
  • Editing and writing skills: able to edit and hone written content and tailor communications to different audiences
  • Strong ability to work collaboratively and helpfully across teams, even/especially when that work doesn’t translate directly to Marketing and Communications Team goals
  • Strong organizational and time management skills


The salary range for this role is $117,000-130,000.

TRAILS offers a comprehensive benefits package including medical, dental, and vision as well as a 403B with a safe harbor match and short- and long-term disability. We offer a generous holiday and paid time off package. 



Addressing inequities in access to evidence-based mental health care is intrinsic to the TRAILS mission. The intentionality behind this approach is woven into everything we do at TRAILS, resulting in a staff-wide commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion for all facets of our program. If this commitment is something to which you could positively contribute, we encourage you to apply, particularly if your voice represents a historically excluded perspective. 

TRAILS, a project of Tides Center, is an “at-will” and equal opportunity employer. Applicants and employees shall not be discriminated against because of race, religion, sex, national origin, ethnicity, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender (including pregnancy and gender expression) identity, color, marital status, veteran status, medical condition, or any other classification protected by federal, state, or local law or ordinance.


  • Our job descriptions reflect TRAILS’ assignment of essential functions and qualifications of the role. Nothing herein restricts management's right to assign, reassign or eliminate duties and responsibilities to this role at any time. 
  • We can only consider applicants who are legally authorized to work in the United States.
  • Please note that all TRAILS employees are required to undergo a background check as performed by our fiscal sponsor, Tides Center. Findings do not automatically exclude candidates from the hiring process, but will be taken into consideration.

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