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Director of Organizing Programs

Essie Justice Group

Essie Justice Group

Oakland, CA, USA · Los Angeles, CA, USA
125,000 – 155,000 USD per year
Posted on Wednesday, February 22, 2023

The Opportunity

Essie Justice Group (Essie) is building grassroots power to dismantle the US incarceration system, the most egregious creator of racial and gender injustice of our time. We are a loving and powerful community of women with incarcerated loved ones. Our community includes cisgender women, transgender women, formerly incarcerated women, gender nonconforming (GNC) people, elders, and young people.

After eight years of building an active membership across California and beyond, Essie is deepening its base-building and leadership development strategies with the 1 in 4 women with incarcerated loved ones to propel bold decarceration agendas across the nation. We seek to transform the criminal legal system and create a Black feminist future rooted in care, equity, community safety, and liberation. Ready to double-down on our base-building strategy to break the invisibility and isolation of women with incarcerated loved ones, we are seeking a seasoned and bold leader to join our team as Director of Organizing Programs.

This senior-level role will lead Essie’s Membership & Organizing Team to carry out three vital strategies: deepen the impact of our programming, strategically expand our leadership development offerings, and grow our membership through our core organizing model. The ideal candidate knows and loves the power of deep, relational organizing, and has exceptional skill in wielding it to build the political potency of a community. As a senior member of the organizational leadership, the Director of Organizing Programs will help shape Essie’s present and future—contributing to strategic decision making in the present while helping to architect Essie’s internal growth in alignment with our values.

Start date: July 24, 2023

Application due date: March 12, 2023

Core Responsibilities

Vision, Strategy, and Culture-Setting for Membership & Organizing Team - Lead the strategic coordination of the team towards a collectively built strategy.

  • Manage and guide the Membership & Organizing Team to set strategic goals, priorities, and collaborative work plans in alignment with an ambitious organizational strategy.
  • Directly supervise and coach supervising staff. Develop professional development supports for staff as needed. Foster a culture of growth, innovation, and inclusion.
  • Create and maintain processes by which we regularly measure and evaluate the team’s impact and progress.

Develop & Manage a Team to Implement Organizing Programs - Building on Essie’s mostly CA-based Healing to Advocacy program, oversee the growth of the comprehensive base-building programming that will facilitate the leadership development of women with incarcerated loved ones across the country.

  • Oversee the implementation of Essie’s core organizing model, our Healing to Advocacy Program. Lead methodical programmatic revisions to enhance our ability to realize our theory of change.
  • Develop agendas and serve as a Lead Facilitator for Essie convenings and trainings. Manage a team to hold multiple trainings and leadership development retreats a year.
  • Oversee the design and manage the implementation of new leadership development and political education programs for Essie’s membership to facilitate deep learning of self, systems, and histories of oppression and resistance necessary for inclusive organizing spaces and bold intersectional demands.
  • Design evaluation materials and/or processes to ensure successful organizing program delivery and outcomes; lead a team to evaluate and respond to challenges as programs continue to be implemented in new areas.

Organizational Leadership - Serve on the Essie Directors Team in order to strategically steward organizational resources in alignment with Essie’s mission and vision.

  • Work collaboratively and consistently with other directors at Essie to define strategic priorities, make decisions about unanticipated opportunities, and manage to operational plan goals, leading in special projects as needed.
  • Establish and maintain sound stewardship of Essie’s Membership & Organizing materials, intellectual property, and departmental budget.
  • Hold external relationships necessary to run the Membership & Organizing Department successfully.
  • Embody and promote Essie’s Black Feminist culture and values internally and externally.

Who We’re Looking For

Ideal Qualifications

  • 10+ years experience in organizing, preferably in distributed organizing contexts, within network, affiliate, or chapter models.
  • Demonstrated experience with program design, implementation, and evaluation.
  • Advanced experience in facilitating retreats, workshops, and/or popular education training.
  • Meaningful experience supervising multiple full time staff, especially managers of managers, and experience supporting colleagues with direct experience of incarceration.
  • Significant experience supervising people in a way that acknowledges differentials in privilege and power, recognizes their gifts, encourages their confidence, supports their growth, and holds them accountable to standards.
  • Track record as a collaborative leader who excels in managing multiple projects, and is comfortable working in a fast-paced work environment.
  • Impeccable attention to detail and effective writing, editing, and verbal communication skills.
  • Adept with Mac operating systems, Google Suite, and MS Office Suite (especially Excel, Powerpoint and Word).
  • Commitment to the beliefs and values of Essie with a demonstrated passion for progressive politics, specifically in gender justice, race justice and ending mass incarceration.


  • Experienced movement leader. Developing directly impacted leadership to usher in a fair and free future is your life’s work. From years of dedicated practice as a movement leader, you’ve developed an analysis of what is needed for transformative social change to occur and what is needed in existing liberation movements. You think constantly about how change happens and how that shows up in the people we organize, mentor, and manage. You have a refined ability to make sense of what feels confusing, and bring people along with you. And you may have such a collection of well-worn, on-politic statement tees that your dresser drawers have become hard to close!
  • A sophisticated builder. You love helping people learn and grow, try new things, and think more deeply about their own potential for impact. In this way, you build the confidence of others and you build strong teams. But you are not satisfied with that alone, you care deeply about the tangibles of what those teams create. You are good at coming up with new models, programs, and structures and managing participatory creative processes. You employ numbers, SMART goals, and evaluative data because you connect to their pragmatic value, rather than an empty “best practice.”
  • Discernment and honesty we can trust. You are a thoughtful team member who acts in alignment with your integrity and are unfailingly trustworthy.
  • Committed to evolution. You are committed to continuously deepening and evolving your own understanding of systems of oppression through study, openness, and humility. And you easily recognize your own relationship to privilege and power, examining and shifting your behaviors as appropriate.
  • Values people, process, and results. You are an exceptionally hard worker. You have an uncanny ability to create an inspiring environment in which stuff gets done with speed, great impact, and focus.
  • Uplifting and additive. You see mistakes as opportunities for growth; problems as catalysts for solutions, and inspire others along the journey. You carry a positive approach, can-do attitude, a sense of humor, and authentic kindness wherever you go.

The Position

The Director of Organizing Programs is a full-time, salaried, exempt position. This position is supervised by the Executive Director. The salary for this position is between $125,000 - $155,000 depending on experience with full medical, dental, and vision benefits, optional 401(k), a substantial vacation package, and a monthly personal wellness stipend. The position is based in one of Essie’s offices in Oakland or Los Angeles, California. All Essie staff are required to be vaccinated against Covid-19, with limited exceptions for medical or religious reasons.

To Apply

Please address a personal, specific, and thoughtful cover letter to the “Essie Hiring Committee” and submit along with a resume through our hiring portal (https://essiejusticegroup.bamboohr.com/jobs). Your resume tells us what you can do; your cover letter should tell us who you are and why you want to work with Essie.

Essie Justice Group provides equal employment and advancement opportunities to all staff members. Employment decisions are based on merit, qualifications, and skills. Essie does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, national origin, immigration status, socioeconomic status, ancestry, age, size, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, familial status, veteran status, disability, AIDS/HIV status, medical condition, prior conviction, arrest history, traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Essie values and specifically seeks applicants who are people with incarcerated loved ones; formerly incarcerated people; people of color; women; queer, transgender, gender non-conforming (gnc), and gender fluid people.

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, performance assessment, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

About Essie Justice Group

Essie Justice Group is a non profit organization of women with incarcerated loved ones taking on the rampant injustices created by mass incarceration. Our award-winning Healing to Advocacy Model brings women together to heal, build collective power, and drive social change. Essie is Great Place to Work-Certified™ by Great Place to Work. Learn more at www.essiejusticegroup.org.

Essie Justice Group is an equal opportunity employer.