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Communications Manager

At the Vera Institute of Justice, our vision is a society that respects the dignity of every person and safeguards justice for all. At a propitious moment for justice reform, we are standing up and driving change on a variety of fronts – ending cash bail, ending mass incarceration, vastly improving life behind bars, ensuring that immigrants get due process, and centering all this work on racial equity. Convincing people to change the way they think and act in order to serve justice is in our DNA. We have a robust and growing communications team, advocating for our vision with our stakeholder and public audiences. Are you interested in helping a super-dedicated and productive team use best-in-class communications strategies and tactics to drive change in the justice system?

 

If so, read on.

 

Over the past five years, with 2.2 million people behind bars, we’ve reached a tipping point and justice reform has become mainstream. It’s on the front pages, it’s bipartisan, it’s got new funders, it’s attracting cultural attention. Vera has been on the cutting edge of this change. Long known for our research and technical assistance, communications has more recently become one of the core pillars of how we do our work. Accordingly, we have more than tripled our communications team and devoted unrestricted dollars to our work over five years. Importantly, we embed communications in our program and project work from the start. Our efforts have paid off – with an award-winning rebranding and website overhaul, with significant media attention, with dramatic growth in social media followers, and with new partnerships. But more can be done, and the need is urgent. We need to leverage the increased attention to justice and to Vera’s work in particular, deploying communications strategies to elevate our issues and our brand. We are seeking a Communications Manager to join a diverse and growing team and to manage our jails and pretrial work across several program areas.

 

The Communications Manager is responsible for implementing integrated strategies to promote Vera’s efforts, change narratives and norms, and ultimately build support to significantly reduce the reduce the number of people incarcerated in jails by advancing bail and pretrial reform.

 

Candidates must be excellent communicators and negotiators, expert at strategic communications campaign architecture and project management, adept in racial equity, and have high emotional intelligence. The Communications Manager will report to the Managing Director of Communications, and partner with several program teams to implement strategic campaigns, create content, and support coordination between Communications and program staff.

 

The Communications Manager joins a team of 16 representing content creators (editorial, design, blog, website), media and messaging, and social media, and public affairs. The team works closely across all units at Vera.

 

What You’ll Do

The Communications Manager will help develop and run projects and campaigns anchored in Vera’s work to decrease the jail population and advance bail and pretrial reform (including In Our Backyards, Safety and Justice Challenge, Greater Justice New York, and other efforts). Using a full suite of communications activities – editorial, video, media, social media, validators, and advisors – the Communications Manager will help shape narratives about the role of jails and transform the justice system by advocating for alternatives to arrest, money bail, and unjust fines and fees.

 

The Communications Manager will be responsible for:

  • Developing, implementing, and managing a comprehensive communications strategy that includes traditional and digital media
  • Working with Vera’s media team to design and  implement strategies to garner local and national media – print, online, radio, television, and podcasts – that shift the narrative about pre-trial detention. Responsibilities may include:
    • Managing day-to-day media outreach and developing the messages
    • Cultivating and building relationships with reporters
    • Responding to media requests, ensuring reporters have the correct information, and coordinating interviews with Vera staff as necessary
  • Drafting campaign materials that make the essential connection between the issues plaguing our justice system and our country’s history of racism including  press releases, media advisories, op-eds, letters, fact sheets, brochures, statements, articles, and other campaign materials as needed.
  • Serving as a liaison between the communications and program teams, and providing weekly report backs about program focus and how tactics are aligning with strategy

 

What We Need in You

  • Knowledge and interest in social justice. You don’t have to be an expert in criminal justice, but you need to be paying attention and to have worked in some area of social justice communications.
  • A tactical tilt. You can see the tactics needed to execute a communications campaign and/or a finished product. You have experience managing communications campaigns and large-scale projects from start to finish. You can identify communications related risks and opportunities, and project manage around them. You’re comfortable reaching out daily to media outlets to pitch, confirm, and coordinate coverage. You’re social media savvy and well-versed in the media landscape.
  • Exceptional writing, editing and communication skills.
  • A commitment to racial equity. In a system built on racism and inequity, we are working to ensure equity both in our workplace and in the world. You incorporate this value and share it with others.
  • A collaborator, rigorous thinker, and problem-solver. Collaboration is a Vera value. We thrive when we learn and build on each other’s ideas. We’re open to giving and receiving feedback – both in our team and across the institution.
  • Emotional intelligence. You have strong social and emotional awareness your team and external partners coupled with an awareness and openness of your opportunities to learn and grow. You exercise good judgement and don’t allow urgency to trump relationships.
  • Project management. You are detail-oriented but can see the big picture. You keep track of multiple competing deadlines and priorities across a range of projects.

 

Additional Qualifications

  • At least five years of progressive strategic communications experience, including campaign strategy and execution, media relations, or developing creative content.
  • Ability to develop and track quantitative and qualitative metrics.

 

Who we are 

The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is an independent, non-partisan, nonprofit organization that combines expertise in research, technical assistance, and demonstration projects to assist leaders in government and civil society examine justice policy and practice and improve the systems people rely on for justice and safety. We're passionate. We're dynamic. We're innovative. In a nutshell, we drive meaningful change. What this means is that: 

  • We study problems that impede human dignity and justice. 
  • We pilot solutions that are at once transformative and achievable. 
  • We engage diverse communities in informed debate. 
  • We harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice. 

  

We work with others who share our vision to tackle the most pressing injustices of our day—from mass incarceration, racial disparities, and the loss of public trust in law enforcement to the unmet needs of the vulnerable, the marginalized, and those harmed by crime and violence. Vera has offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. Vera is an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace—specifically, we value diverse experiences with regard to educational background and justice system contact. We hire employees that reflect our values: respect, independence, collaboration, and commitment. 

 

Salary

Based on experience and including excellent benefits. Vera believes in compensating its staff members at or above market.

 

How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter and your resume. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until position is filled. Online submission in PDF format (through Vera’s careers page) is preferred.

 

However, if necessary, materials may be mailed or faxed to 

ATTN: People and Culture/ Communications Manager

Vera Institute of Justice 

34 35th street, 4-2A uo
Brooklyn, NY 11232 

  

Please use only one method (online or mail) of submission. 

No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.

 

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’s work, please visit www.vera.org.

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