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Director of Operations & Finance

Essie Justice Group

Essie Justice Group

Accounting & Finance, Operations
Pasadena, 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. In the midst of significant organizational growth, we are seeking an enthusiastic, mission-driven, and financially savvy Director of Operations & Finance to join our team.

At Essie, our values are foundational to how we operationalize our work. Building innovative approaches to non-profit functions that push us closer to a society free from race, gender, and class inequality will be a compelling challenge for this person. The Director of Operations & Finance is an experienced and strategic professional who thrives on thoughtfully building and growing a solid infrastructure from which our ambitious and visionary movement-building organization can be successful. This role is crucial to successfully implementing Essie’s multiyear plan for growth.

The Director of Operations & Finance designs and facilitates systems that strategically manage Essie’s resources in alignment with Essie’s values. The ideal candidate is a highly collaborative, seasoned, and confident leader who will lead a team to identify and implement operational and administrative solutions across the organization, with a strategic approach to managing our financial and risk management systems, database, and facilities. The Director of Operations & Finance is comfortable planning and overseeing big infrastructure projects but is passionate about getting all the details right. This person approaches their organizational responsibilities with rigor, precision, and a strong connection to our politic and movement purpose. This accessible, trustworthy, and transparent leader operates from an unwavering commitment to ethics on a daily basis.

As a senior member of the organizational leadership, the Director of Operations & 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

Accounting and Financial Management - Strategically manage financial resources, budgets, and expenditures to ensure that Essie’s teams are well-equipped to make values-driven decisions.

  • Independently make decisions around financial management rooted in experience and judgment.
  • Lead the operations team in ensuring smooth and accurate financial processes, including internal controls and annual audit preparation.
  • Lead on big infrastructure projects (for example: property purchases, investment strategy, and adding organizational entities) and guide both planning and implementation for successful outcomes.
  • Direct the development of organizational budget and regular reporting procedures for cash flow projections and management.
  • Prepare financial reports and budgets for funding proposals.
  • Support and advise the Board of Directors’ finance and audit committees in conducting their responsibilities on behalf of the organization.
  • Lead organizational financial strategy, including investment strategy and management, through a collaborative process.
  • Develop and manage relationships with financial vendors including banking and credit card accounts, accounting firms, retirement advisors, and investment management firms.
  • Oversee annual audit preparations and serve as an internal resource, model, and steward of strong internal controls.
  • Support and advise Directors in managing their resources.
  • Continually assess the efficacy of internal financial policies and recommend and draft updates, as needed.
  • Address inquiries regarding organizational finances from external partners such as funders, inspiring confidence through representation of Essie values and fiscal responsibility.

Risk Management - Regularly assess and mitigate potential harms to the organization.

  • Collaboratively design and recommend risk management policies and procedures, including insurance policies, and recommend system changes as necessary in alignment with growth of Essie’s staff and budget.
  • Develop and oversee implementation of new infrastructure as unique needs arise (e.g. fiscal sponsorship, pass-through grants, bail funds, 501c4, etc.).
  • Oversee all risk-management policies including but not limited to digital security, COVID-19 protocols, and any other risks to physical or reputational wellbeing across the organization.

Operations Management - Lead the development and maintenance of internal administrative systems/solutions to keep Essie functioning smoothly.

  • Directly manage 1-2 senior level staff, who may manage additional staff, to run day-to-day operations, systems/technology oversight, and financial management processes.
  • Identify new operational system needs; delegate and oversee implementation.
  • Identify or vet needs to customize or upgrade our internal database.
  • Manage major organizational infrastructure projects such as establishing new offices.
  • Serve as a Directors Team resource on the features and effective use of the technological tools and other software we use.
  • Ensure careful management of resources, vendors, technology, and tenant-landlord matters across Essie’s two offices in Oakland and Los Angeles.

Who We’re Looking For

Ideal Qualifications

  • 10+ years of experience in operations and finance with a minimum of 3-4 years serving in management role(s) within the nonprofit sector.
  • Seasoned risk manager with a deep understanding of finance,its relationship to the work, and the infrastructure of nonprofit organizations.
  • Superior knowledge of multiple operational functions and principles, including finance, risk management, and data management.
  • Specific experience in movement-based organizations with a clear understanding of the fiscal implications and structures of advocacy work.
  • Proven experience designing systems and processes that are deeply aligned with organizational values and support the achievement of organizational goals and mission.
  • Impeccable attention to detail and solid ability to connect the details to the big picture for others.
  • Effective writing, editing, and verbal communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to consistently make accurate and clear assessments about a constantly changing organizational landscape and with foresight, make determinations, produce insightful ideas, and set forth impactful next steps.
  • 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 and non-traditional work environment.
  • Adept with Mac operating systems, Google Suite, Xero, 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.


  • Sees infrastructure as their contribution to people power. You care deeply about the impact of systems and processes on people. You believe that by demystifying inaccessible systems, you can help organizations and teams be more financially effective, and individual team members be more confident in the process. Moving with a keen awareness of the organizational power inherent in your role, you can self-regulate in order to mitigate the harms of hierarchy.
  • Lends gravitas to the day-to-day of “back-office”. You understand exactly why and how seemingly small items – like accurate codes in a chart of accounts or a clearly drafted rental agreement – can impact the successful pursuit of an organization’s mission and goals, and you are able to clearly explain that connection to others. You are accomplished in your field and consistently make strategic decisions that inspire respect and confidence from others. You bring clarity and calm to your collaborative 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.
  • 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 Operations and Finance is a full-time, salaried, exempt position. This position is supervised by the Deputy Director. The salary for this position is between $120,000 - $140,000 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™ and a recognized leader in Black feminist institution building.

Learn more at www.essiejusticegroup.org.