Director of Membership and Organizing

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 five years of honing our Healing to Advocacy organizing model, graduating 29 cohorts and over 200 women into our membership in California, we are ready to build the first national membership of women with incarcerated loved ones in the United States, and are currently preparing to launch 20 cohorts in 2021. We seek an exceptional leader to join our team and drive this effort to 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 and national expansion in alignment with our values. At Essie, how we win is as important as what we achieve and our ideal Director of Membership and Organizing approaches organizational culture and community organizing goals with equal rigor and commitment.

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.
  • Oversee all aspects of implementation of multiple Healing to Advocacy cohorts from launch to graduation.
  • Oversee the design and manage the implementation of 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 Essie’s Nominations Program to reach women with incarcerated loved ones across the country 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.
  • Lead a team in activation of Essie’s Membership Structure including membership-wide votes, elections, appointments; facilitate the expansion of Essie’s regional membership to new regions within California and new states, as well as the launch of a national membership of incarcerated people.
  • Evaluate effectiveness of current member engagement strategies and develop new standards.
  • 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.

Who We’re Looking For

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 Position

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 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 can be based at either of Essie’s offices in 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.