Director of Campaigns and Advocacy

Oakland/Los Angeles, CA
Feb 25, 2019
Mar 27, 2019
Position Type
Full Time
Experience Level

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 people, elders, and young people. After four years of focused base building, we are seeking a Director of Campaigns and Advocacy to develop and carry out campaigns that leverage our collective power and transform systems of control and confinement.

The Director of Campaigns and Advocacy is a visionary campaigner-at-heart and an experienced leader of people and teams. The work that this Director architects and helps oversee at Essie will bring life to the demands published in our groundbreaking report, Because She’s Powerful: The Political Isolation and Resistance of Women with Incarcerated Loved Ones. In 2019, this Director will lead our staff and members in developing a statewide campaign to help manifest the demands published in this report, as well as oversee select national advocacy initiatives.

As a senior leader at the organization, the Director of Campaigns and Advocacy will help shape our present and future—contributing to strategic decision making in the present while helping architect Essie’s growth in alignment with our values. At Essie, how we win is as important as what we achieve and our ideal Director of Campaigns and Advocacy approaches organizational culture and campaign goals with equal rigor and commitment.


Core Responsibilities

Community-Based Campaign Development and Implementation

  • Develop and lead strategic decarceration and criminal justice campaigns rooted in Essie’s abolitionist, race- and gender-justice perspective.
  • Design and implement campaign structures and processes appropriate for member-led campaigns.  
  • Create campaign strategy, employ well-honed campaign methodology, and carry out tactics that may include but are not limited to direct action, lobbying, policy advocacy, canvassing, and cultural organizing.
  • Train Essie members in various aspects of campaign development and implementation, write and publish training curricula, and find other ways to maximize multi-tiered participation in campaigns and advocacy.
  • Lead the Campaigns and Advocacy team in the publishing of short policy reports, white papers, policy position letters, and other materials to further campaign demands (subject areas could include pretrial conditions, sentencing, visiting regulations, conditions in women’s prisons, reentry, corrections budgets, policing, etc.).
  • Skillfully develop and maintain organizational partnerships through nuanced and thoughtful consideration of people, positioning, and the health of our broader movement.
  • Represent Essie in coalitions, in media, and at events to build support for campaign and advocacy activities.

Organizational Leadership

  • Work collaboratively and consistently with directors at Essie to define strategic priorities, make decisions about unanticipated opportunities, and manage to goals.
  • Build and manage a dynamic Membership and Organizing staff team.
  • Co-develop organization-wide staff management and professional development systems and practices as needed. Oversee the development of management and work systems for the Membership and Organizing team.
  • Establish and maintain sound stewardship of Essie’s Membership and Organizing materials, intellectual property, and budget.
  • Lead in special projects as needed.
  • Embody and promote Essie culture and values internally and externally.  


Who We’re Looking For:

Ideal Qualifications

  • A minimum of 7 years experience in legislative, electoral, or political grassroots campaign development and implementation with a minimum of 5 years serving in a vital leadership role in a high impact campaign from beginning to end.
  • Experience creating campaigns that operate outside of system-prescribed avenues for change.
  • Demonstrated ability to consistently make accurate and clear assessments about a constantly changing political landscape and with foresight, make determinations, produce insightful ideas, and set forth impactful next steps.
  • Advanced experience in facilitating retreats, workshops, and/or popular education trainings.
  • Meaningful experience supervising multiple full time staff 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.


  • 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.
  • Sees #Woke as a verb. 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.
  • Discernment we can trust. You are a thoughtful communicator who acts in alignment with your integrity. You are a confident and collaborative decision-maker and unfailingly trustworthy.
  • 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 Campaigns and Advocacy is a full-time exempt position. This position leads the Campaign and Advocacy Team and is supervised by the Founder & Executive Director of Essie Justice Group. The salary for this position is between $90,000-$95,000 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 will be based in either Los Angeles or Oakland. 

To Apply
Please address a thoughtful cover letter to the “Essie Hiring Committee” and submit along with a resume through our hiring portal (

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, and gender fluid people. We welcome applicants who thrive in the pursuit of social justice.

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, ancestry, age, size, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, familial status, veteran status, disability, AIDS/HIV status, medical condition, prior conviction, arrest history or any other characteristic protected by law.

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