Operations Associate, Advocacy & Vera Action
Vera Institute of Justice
Who we are:
The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is a nonprofit criminal justice organization that strives to build just government institutions and safe communities free from the scourge of racism, white supremacy, profit, and inequity that is pervasive in this country’s legal systems. We are an “inside” lane organization that drives change at scale with ambitious public sector leaders who share our commitment to building anti-racist, reparative systems that deliver justice. We leverage our access to government to transform these systems and work collaboratively with stakeholders across many movements—including advocacy, grassroots, and grasstop organizations. Our role is to pilot solutions that are transformative and achievable, harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice, and use advocacy and communications to change narratives and norms.
Vera has a staff of 300 people and offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. We are an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace. We expect our staff to embody respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, anti-racism, and equity—both in our outward-facing work and the internal culture of our workplace. We value a range of experiences in people’s educational backgrounds and encourage people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to apply.
About Advocacy & Partnerships and Vera Action:
Vera’s Advocacy & Partnerships (A&P) department serves as the organization’s “center of gravity” for initiatives and projects as we work in greater alignment with others in the movement ecosystem to win real, transformative criminal legal and immigration policy change. In addition to being substantive experts in criminal legal and immigration reform, A&P staff have expertise in leading and supporting campaigns, navigating political government, and executing on movement strategies, and creating data and evidence for policy change.
Advocacy & Partnerships is responsible for coordinating the vision, strategy, and institutional development across Vera’s initiatives on advocacy, and to foster strong relationships and alignment with others so that we win policy change on our core issues. We bring to bear our strongest advocacy assets, including producing the data, evidence, and solutions that advance an advocacy or policy goal; leading and / or supporting the development of advocacy and campaign strategy, in coalition with other national and local organizations (or independently, but in alignment); researching and drafting policy, including legislation, directives, and regulations; and influencing elected officials and those in power to adopt and champion our criminal legal and immigration policy solutions.
The Advocacy & Partnerships Department is comprised of three core functions:
- State and Local Policy, which leads or partners with Vera initiatives to shape advocacy in state and local legislatures, as well as city councils, across the country
- Federal Policy, which leads Vera's advocacy strategies with the Administration and on the Hill in Washington, DC
- Vera Insights, a rapid response hub for developing and producing data and data visualizations that advance key policy goals
In addition, Vera’s Advocacy & Partnerships team benefits from close collaboration with Vera Action, Vera’s independent 501(c)(4) entity, to support strategic priorities through lobbying, political outreach, voter education, and political activity.
Who you are:
You can see the big picture from 30,000 feet above it all, with the ability to zoom into any one point on the radar, then back out again! The Operations Associate, Advocacy & Vera Action will assist with the day-to-day functions of the A&P Department, as well as provide executive support to the Vice President, with some administrative support to Vera Action. The Operations Associate will provide ongoing support to the Vice President of Advocacy and Partnerships, senior members of the Advocacy & Partnerships team, and to Vera Action’s deputy director. This will include calendar management, maintenance of file systems, meeting and event coordination, including logistics and preparation of materials and notetaking, making travel arrangements, managing internal and external stakeholder relations, and helping to manage department priorities. The Operations Associate will be a strong communicator who can conduct themselves with internal and external stakeholders at the executive level, stay organized and proficient at time management, and complete tasks independently and in a timely fashion, handling challenges well and proactively changing strategies when an effort is unsuccessful.
What you'll do:
- Provide ongoing support to the Vice President, including calendar management and scheduling to conserve the VP’s time.
- Serve as an administrative contact and liaison with external contacts, typically for scheduling virtual and in-person meetings, events, or interviews.
- Support document preparation, note-taking and other clerical tasks.
- Process expenses, produce and edit PowerPoint presentations, and other documents as needed.
- Provide daily updates on scheduling, administrative tasks completed, and those pending.
- Provide administrative and clerical support to the Advocacy Department and Vera Action as needed, including:
- Scheduling and arranging all meetings and activities for the VP, A&P, and Vera Action, setting up, and owning the logistics, for all in-person and remote meetings, identifying meeting spaces, conference lines, and other necessary components.
- In partnership with the Associate Director of Operations, plan and be responsible for all aspects of the Advocacy Department’s monthly team meetings.
- Review each week’s meeting agendas in advance and prepare necessary briefing materials for relevant participants as needed.
- Manage conflicting scheduling issues and unexpected changes with supreme attention to detail.
- Handle all communications around scheduling with excellent service and professionalism.
- Coordinate scheduling, logistics, and detailed preparation for senior staff in A&P and Vera Action to attend external events.
- Document notes and necessary action items from key team meetings, such as monthly department engagements.
- Schedule and arrange meetings for senior team members, as needed, and support all team members in travel logistics, where needed.
- Handle travel arrangements and reimbursement documentation for VP and senior team members.
- Provide coverage and support for various Advocacy Team functions such as reception desk and special events support as needed.
- Facilitate procurement processes, including direct correspondence with Vera’s Legal Department and external vendors/partners.
- Handle invoice submission for the VP and A&P staff corporate credit card/reimbursement submittals.
- Track all non-staff expenses and invoices for all engagements and prepare summary reports to the VP as needed.
- Support Advocacy Team and Vera Action project management infrastructure, including project development, documentation, execution, and closeout.
- Work closely with project leads to ensure that projects/activities meet objectives within agreed budgets and timelines.
- Keep open lines of communication with members of A&P and Vera Action.
- Support Advocacy Team in working with portfolio of internal and external partners, including but not limited to, tracking deliverables and outcomes, conducting periodic evaluations to ensure program objectives are met, and collaborating with Advocacy Team leadership to ensure the integration of program goals.
- Other duties as assigned .
Race, Equity, and Inclusion:
- Participate as a contributing member of Advocacy & Partnerships’ REI working group
- Support REI Working Group by thought-partnering, scheduling, researching, and developing learning strategies for the department among other duties as assigned.
What qualifications are we looking for?
- 3-5 years of experience as an assistant with administrative, project, and logistical support proficiency.
- Exceptional written and communication skills, organizational skills, attention to detail, and outstanding project management skills.
- Proven ability to adapt and respond, overcoming challenges and leading with solutions.
- Ability to handle and prioritize multiple time-sensitive projects.
- Knowledge of administrative filing systems and project administration techniques.
- Can successfully and effectively operate in a team environment and on an independent basis.
- Established experience in executing operations with confidentiality and personal responsibility.
- Demonstrated accuracy and efficiency in document preparation with the ability to produce documents with minimal editorial changes required prior to distribution.
- Experience within the advocacy space, preferred
- Experience working on campaigns and /or electoral operations settings, understanding the rapid and vital needs of up-to-the-minute responses, preferred
- Bachelor’s degree or equivalent work experience in lieu of the degree; we welcome candidates who self-assess that their skills and strengths match the needs of the position.
Knowledge, Skills, & Abilities you'll bring:
- Expertise with Microsoft Office Suite
- Skill in creating and editing charts, tables, graphs, and presentations
- Familiarity with Smartsheets and Asana, including experience in creating Smartsheet dashboards
- Exhibited ability to take initiative to organize, prioritize, and follow through on work assignments
- Strong ability to navigate fast moving and quickly changing/growing projects
- You are flexible and able to pivot, prioritize, and manage multiple activities in a fast-paced environment
- Must be able to handle themselves professionally, calmly, and politely as they will have direct interaction with other executives within the organization as well as external shareholders.
- Ability to work effectively with a diverse array of people and positions, including advocates, funders, government officials, criminal legal system personnel, practitioners, and people who are directly impacted by the criminal system.
- Most of all, you must be committed to transformational change and share the belief that, for Vera’s advocacy work to be effective, it must be rooted in anti-racism and aligned with the priorities of people and communities most impacted by this country’s criminal and immigration legal systems.
Please note this role will report to our Brooklyn, NY office. Vera employees adhere to a hybrid schedule and are in-office on an alternating schedule that generally amounts to 10 days per month.
Compensation and Benefits:
The compensation range for this position is $70,000 - $75,000. Actual salaries will vary depending on factors including but not limited to experience and performance. The salary range listed is just one component of Vera Institute’s total compensation package for employees. As an employer of choice in our field, supporting Vera staff—both personally and professionally—is a priority. To do this, we invest in the well-being of our staff through other rewards including merit pay, generous paid time off, a comprehensive health insurance plan, student loan repayment benefits, professional development training opportunities and up to $2,000 annual for education costs and fees relevant to Vera work, employer-funded retirement plan, and flexible time.
Applications may also be faxed to:
ATTN: People Resources / Operations Associate, Advocacy & Vera Action
Vera Institute of Justice
34 35th St, Suite 4-2A, Brooklyn, NY 11232
Fax: (212) 941-9407
Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.
No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.
In order to ensure a healthy and safe work environment, Vera Institute of Justice is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccine before their start date. Employees who cannot receive the vaccine because of a disability/medical contraindication or sincerely-held religious belief may request an accommodation (e.g., an exemption) to this requirement.
Vera is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without unlawful discrimination based on race, color, creed, national origin, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual orientation, military status, prior record of arrest or conviction, citizenship status, current employment status, or caregiver status.
Vera works to advance justice, particularly racial justice, in an increasingly multicultural country and globally connected world. We value diverse experiences, including with regard to educational background and justice system contact, and depend on a diverse staff to carry out our mission.
For more information about Vera, please visit www.vera.org