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Director of Campaigns & Advocacy

Essie Justice Group

Essie Justice Group

Oakland, CA, USA
Posted on Saturday, January 20, 2024

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 — and include cisgender women, transgender women, formerly incarcerated women, gender nonconforming (GNC) people, elders, and young people.

After nine 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. As the opportunities to build upon our advocacy work grow, we seek an experienced and politically aligned Director of Campaigns & Advocacy to build power-based campaigns that transform systems of control and confinement.

The Director of Campaigns & Advocacy is a visionary leader who believes in the power of people to change systems of oppression, a strategic leader who can create and execute a winning plan, and an inspirational leader who can cultivate and energize people and teams to win and grow together. Goal-oriented and tuned in to the political landscape, the Director of Campaigns & Advocacy wields their expertise, experience, and influence in focused ways that strengthen our members’ ability to move decision-makers to make policy that divests from the carceral state and invest in the care infrastructure our communities need. As a senior member of the organization’s leadership team, the Director of Campaigns & Advocacy 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.

Core Responsibilities

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

  • Manage and guide the Campaigns & Advocacy 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.

Development & Implementation of Campaign Strategy - Build and maintain the campaign infrastructure and design and implement strategies that bring about decarceration wins in California and beyond.

  • Develop and lead strategic, impactful decarceration and criminal justice campaigns rooted in Essie’s abolitionist, Black feminist politics and the power of our base.
  • Oversee legislative strategy; build and co-hold influential relationships with public officials and staffers.
  • Train Essie members in various campaign development and implementation aspects, write and publish training curricula, and find other ways to maximize multi-tiered participation in campaigns and advocacy.
  • Manage a team in publishing short policy reports, white papers, policy position letters, and other materials to further campaign demands.
  • Skillfully develop and maintain organizational partnerships through nuanced and thoughtful consideration of people, positioning, and the health of our broader movement.
  • Represent Essie in key coalitions as needed and oversee Essie’s participation in coalitions held by other Campaigns & Advocacy Team members.

Organizational Leadership - Serve on the Essie Directors Team 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 operational plan goals, leading in special projects as needed.
  • Establish and maintain sound stewardship of Essie’s Campaigns & Advocacy materials, intellectual property, and departmental budget.
  • Hold external relationships necessary to run the overall Campaigns & Advocacy program successfully.
  • Embody and promote Essie’s Black feminist culture and values internally and externally.

Who We Are Looking For

Ideal Qualifications

  • 7+ years experience in legislative, electoral, or political grassroots campaign development and implementation, with at least 5 years serving in a vital leadership role in a high impact campaign from beginning to end.
  • Demonstrated experience creating power-based campaigns that operate outside of system-prescribed avenues for change, and demonstrated ability to make accurate and clear assessments and recommend next steps within a constantly changing political landscape.
  • 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.
  • Impeccable and effective writing, editing, and verbal communication skills.
  • Track record as a collaborative leader who excels in managing multiple projects.
  • 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.


  • A pragmatic visionary. Leveraging people power in campaigns to end systems of oppression is your life’s work. You carry an optimism that is rooted in an accurate and clear appreciation of what is possible. You find yourself thinking four steps ahead and as a result, you have a precise eye for seeing unaccounted for risks, gaps in strategy, and latent potential. Because you’re exceptionally strategic, it’s a quality you tend to prize in your comrades.
  • Values people, processes, and results. You are an exceptionally hard worker. You thrive in inspiring environments in which stuff gets done with speed, great impact, and focus. You are the kind of leader that rolls up your sleeves and gets in the work with your team as a way to both model the leadership you seek to build and learn from your people as you engage in strategic action together.
  • 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.
  • Discernment and honesty we can trust. You are a thoughtful team member who acts in alignment with your integrity and are unfailingly trustworthy. You earn rather than demand the trust of people by listening and making decisions thoughtfully.
  • 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, and authentic kindness wherever you go.

The Position

The Director of Campaigns & Advocacy 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 nonconforming (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 nonprofit 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.