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Director of Membership and Organizing

This job is no longer available

Oakland, CA, USA

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. We want to reach the 1 in 4 women who have loved ones behind bars and bring them into our sisterhood for social justice. After four years of testing our Healing to Advocacy organizing model (graduating 17 cohorts and over 100 women into our membership in California), we are ready to build the first national community of women with incarcerated loved ones in the United States. We seek an exceptional leader to join our team and help us organize hundreds of thousands of women across the country.

The person filling this new senior-level position will be responsible for creating a membership structure and adapting our existing Healing to Advocacy Program to engage women with incarcerated loved ones across the United States. The Director of Membership and Organizing, like all organizers at Essie, knows the power of interpersonal organizing. But, what makes the Director of Membership and Organizing special is that they passionately obsess over the development of participatory systems, structures, and programming that allow what’s working locally to be available to hundreds of thousands of women across the country. As distinct from the day-to-day work of campaigns or policy, the ideal candidate finds their movement energy in program development, political education, curricula building, and deep work with members.

As a senior leader at the organization, the Director of Membership and Organizing 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 whatwe achieve and our ideal Director of Membership and Organizing approaches organizational culture and community organizing goals with equal rigor and commitment.

Areas of Responsibility: 

Core Responsibilities

Build Organizing Infrastructure and Grow Member Base

  • Building on Essie’s CA-based Healing to Advocacy program, design and manage the comprehensive community organizing program and membership structure that will one day facilitate the engagement of hundreds of thousands of women with incarcerated loved ones across the country.  
  • Design and implement the political education program 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.
  • Oversee and further develop the Essie nominations program to consistently organize women with incarcerated loved ones, through expanding our partnerships with incarcerated people who nominate women in their lives to Essie.
  • Create and maintain processes by which we measure our impact.
  • Evaluate effectiveness of current member engagement strategies and develop new standards.
  • Oversee all aspects of implementation of multiple Healing to Advocacy cohorts from launch to graduation.
  • Broaden access to Essie’s program and advocacy work to women with incarcerated loved ones who are monolingual Spanish speakers.

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.  

Ideal Qualifications

  • A minimum of 7 years experience in program design and implementation in community organizing contexts, preferably within network, affiliate, or chapter models.
  • 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.



  • Experienced movement leader. Building people power to end systems of oppression is your life’s work. From years in the work, 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 a collection of statement tees that make others jealous.
  • 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 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

How to Apply: 

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

Additional Information: 

The Director of Membership and Organizing is a full-time exempt position. This position leads the Membership and Organizing Team and is supervised by the Founder & Executive Director of Essie Justice Group. The position can be based at either of Essie’s offices in Los Angeles or Oakland.

Organization Info

Essie Justice Group

Oakland, CA, USA
1-10 employees
About Us

Essie’s mission is to harness the collective power of women with incarcerated loved ones to end mass incarceration’s harm to women and communities.


Healing to Advocacy Program

The incarceration of a loved one is a life altering experience. Women with incarcerated loved ones take on an extraordinary financial and emotional toll as we strain to bring resources into our families in the context of often overwhelming criminal justice costs (phone calls, prison visits, commissary bills, attorney fees, bail bonds debt, and more). Moreover, the separation from a loved one by prison or jail is traumatic. Although millions of people experience the effects of mass incarceration, social support for women with incarcerated loved ones can be hard to find due to the intense stigma surrounding incarceration. The result is isolation. Women with incarcerated loved ones experience significant or extreme isolation, which is a barrier to our health, joy, and power to create change in our families and communities. Read more in our report “Because She’s Powerful: The Political Isolation and Resistance of Women with Incarcerated Loved Ones.

Breaking Isolation from Healing to Advocacy

Our nine-week Healing to Advocacy model works to break isolation, increase wellness, and facilitate personal and community transformation among women with incarcerated loved ones. Women who join one of our cohorts commit to nine-weeks of 3 hour weekly sessions. During the nine weeks,12 -15 women move together through individually held pain to begin journeys of collective healing, share resources that offer beams of support to families during crisis, and gain confidence to advocate for change. To reduce barriers for women’s leadership, Essie provides transportation support, childcare, and meals. All cohorts are facilitated by graduates of our Healing to Advocacy program and follow three pillars: advocating for self, advocating for family, and advocating for community.

Our Nominations Process

Joining Essie begins with a nomination. Incarcerated men and women serve as the organization’s most important partners, writing nomination letters about the women in their lives, which they mail to us. The women they write about are then invited to join our Healing to Advocacy cohorts. If you are a woman with an incarcerated loved one, you can also nominate yourself. Formerly incarcerated people, or members of the community may also nominate.

Why Work For Us?: 

About Essie

Today, we live in an age of mass control. Patriarchy, racism, and punitive criminal justice policies are devastating women’s health, resources, and civic engagement. This is especially true for women who are low-income, women of color, queer and trans women, and all women whose loved ones are caged and criminalized. Essie Justice Group is building a nationwide bold and loving network of women with incarcerated loved ones to end all state-sponsored violence against women and communities of color, and queer communities. We work through holding nine-week Healing to Advocacy cohorts, leading local and statewide campaigns to bring all of our loved ones home, and building platforms to uplift the thought leadership of women with incarcerated loved ones who are creating transformative visions for how we will end mass incarceration’s harm to women and communities.

We are looking for exceptionally hard working applicants who have a fierce commitment to race and gender justice to join our Team. We strongly encourage people with incarcerated loved ones, people who are formerly incarcerated, people of color, queer people, and people who are trans, gender variant, or gender nonconforming to apply.

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Listing Stats

Post Date: 
Jun 19 2019
Active Until: 
Jul 19 2019
Hiring Organization: 
Essie Justice Group