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Managing Director, Communications (NYC)

Managing Director, Communications


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, 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 in racial equity. Convincing people to change the way they think and act in order to serve justice is in our DNA. One of the ways we change hearts and minds is through strategic communications campaigns. We have a robust and growing communications team that advocates for our vision with colleagues as well as stakeholder and public audiences. If you want to learn more about life at Vera click here. Are you interested in helping lead a super-smart and productive team using best-in-class communications strategies and tactics to drive change?


If so, read on.


Long known for our research and technical assistance, communications is now one of the core pillars of Vera’s work. We are expanding our communications team and continuing to devote unrestricted dollars to our work over the next 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, significant media attention, dramatic growth in social media followers, and new partnerships — elements needed to drive change in the criminal legal system.


But more can be done, and the need is urgent. We need to leverage increasing calls for systemic change, using communications to connect our research and program work to external audiences. We are seeking a Managing Director to serve as a partner to the Vice President of Communications and senior staff in the department, to mentor junior staff, and to be an internal ambassador and negotiator with leaders throughout the organization.


The Managing Director manages the implementation of integrated strategies defined by the VP of Communications and Vera Leadership Team by guaranteeing projects are executed expertly and efficiently and contributes to these strategies along with senior team members.


Candidates must be excellent communicators and negotiators, expert at strategic communications campaign architecture and project management, caring mentors, adept in racial equity, and have a high EQ. The Managing Director joins a  growing team with collaborative editorial, digital, and media streams. The communications team works closely with all units at Vera. The Managing Director reports to the Vice President of Communications, partners to implement strategic campaigns, integrates content creators with external communicators, and supports team coordination and production.




What We Need in You


  • Knowledge and interest in social justice. You don’t have to be an expert in the criminal legal system, but you need to be paying attention and to have worked in some area of social justice communications.
  • A strategic and tactical tilt. You can see the tactics needed to execute a communications campaign and/or a finished product and get excited about the Smartsheet (or other tool) that gets it there. You pay attention to deadlines and ensure that those delivering content and those creating it do too. And you’re a budget master — we need projects to come in on budget as well as on time.
  • A diplomat. You know that creating good product that reflects mission takes negotiation. Cuts need to happen, tears may be shed. You are able to be a shoulder and be a champion — and still cross the finish line on time and shine.
  • A deep 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. Collaboration is a Vera value — we thrive when we learn and build on each other’s ideas, and are open to giving and receiving feedback — in our team and across the institution. This role will play a key function in the communications team to ensure that staff are all working toward the same strategies and goals, and understand and can grow in their roles.


Additional Qualifications


  • At least 10 - 15 years of progressive strategic communications experience, including in a senior managing role in a complex non-profit
  • Exceptional writing, editing and communication skills
  • Experience establishing organizational policies, procedures and guidelines that govern and provide quality control for the communications function and ensure message alignment and integration across the organization
  • Ability to develop and track quantitative and qualitative metrics and key milestones that demonstrate the performance and effectiveness of the communications efforts.
  • Experience liaising with organizational leaders, as well as internal stakeholders and partners to identify and effectively address communications challenges, opportunities, potential solutions and execute appropriate strategies to support them
  • Commitment to ensuring alignment with the organization’s strategy, programmatic functions, and cross-program teams
  • Regarded as a mentor who can develop staff using a supportive and collaborative approach
  • Ability to manage and integrate associated projects, staff, and consultants
  • Lead special projects as needed


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