Healing to Advocacy Program Manager

Membership & Organizing · Oakland/Los Angeles, California
Department Membership & Organizing
Employment Type Full-Time
Compensation $85,000 - $90,000

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 onesand include cisgender women, transgender women, formerly incarcerated women, gender non-conforming (gnc) people, elders, and young people. 

Building a sustainable grassroots institution that can be leveraged in the fight for a Black Feminist future is a priority at Essie. Through the development of thoughtful organizing models, a vibrant organizational culture, and scalable structure our aim is to break the isolation of the 1 in 4 women who have loved ones behind bars and sustain bold decarceration advocacy through the leadership of women with loved ones behind bars. After seven years building an active membership across California, Essie is waging even more ambitious campaigns to divest from state-sponsored punitive control and invest in structures that support the self-determination, freedom, and dignity of Black women and gender non-conforming (gnc) people. Ready to scale our program to build the first national community of women with incarcerated loved ones in the United States, we are seeking an exceptional, values-driven program manager to join our team to help lead the effort. 

The Healing to Advocacy Program Manager understands and believes passionately in people power and is deeply interested in leadership development and growth of the people most impacted by the systems we seek to change. This is a unique opportunity for a dynamic leader to manage staff and day-to-day operations of Essie’s signature organizing program. Essie’s Healing to Advocacy  program has graduated over 200 women in 29 cohorts into our membership and is poised to grow across California and then nationally. The ideal Program Manager will be a master project manager and executor who thoroughly enjoys implementing large and growing programs. The Healing to Advocacy Program Manager will also have an important role in recommending iterations and leading in implementing program changes. 

At the end of the day, what this person loves to do is make sure things happen and happen well. The successful candidate can thoughtfully create work plans, delegate and support others in program implementation, bring out the best in staff, contractors and members through strong management and people skills, and is able to drive themselves and the staff they supervise towards goals.   

Start date: January 10, 2022. 

Core Responsibilities

Manage Community Organizing Program & Train Member Leaders - Manage staff and external relationships and oversee the day-to-day operations of the multi-step, cyclical, member-led Healing to Advocacy Program.

  • Coordinate the implementation of a multi-step member recruitment strategy (involving thousands of nomination letters from incarcerated people, coordinating a nominations committee to make phone calls to the nominees, filling dozens of cohorts).
  • Manage Facilitator Training Retreats to prepare members to run cohorts in their areas. 
  • Launch cohorts and provide adequate support to members who facilitate cohorts in different locations across the state.
  • Coordinate multiple cohort graduation events each year. 
  • Manage data and administration goals during all parts of the program.
  • Create a top-notch logistics plan to reduce barriers to participation. Solve complex logistical problems related to the different parts of the program and in response to the needs of members.  
  • Hold external relationships necessary to run the overall program successfully.
  • Plan agendas and serve as Lead Facilitator in multi-day retreats and trainings related to the Healing to Advocacy Program. 

Team Leadership - Manage and evaluate team members and processes for success.

  • Implement a program evaluation system that ensures the program is meeting its stated goals.
  • Provide input on programmatic improvements. 
  • Manage and train staff and contractors who are carrying out core functions of the Healing to Advocacy Program (i.e. childcare, staff organizers, trainers, graphic designers) to achieve set organizational goals together. 
  • Oversee member retention, recruitment, evaluation, and data management systems design related to the program.

Who We’re Looking For 

Ideal Qualifications

  • A minimum of 5 years experience in program implementation, preferably in community organizing or direct services contexts. 
  • Understands and demonstrates knowledge of best practices in recruitment, retention, and culture-setting.
  • Excellent prioritization skills (i.e. understands the difference between what’s important, urgent and what is neither).
  • Advanced experience in facilitating retreats, workshops, and/or popular education trainings.
  • 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 and achieving collective goals. 
  • Effective writing, editing, and verbal communication skills.
  • Track record as a collaborative leader who excels in managing multiple projects.
  • Experience with Mac operating systems, Google Suite, and MS Office Suite (especially Excel and Word).
  • Commitment to the beliefs and values of Essie with a demonstrated passion for progressive politics, specifically in gender justice, race justice and ending mass incarceration.


  • Effective and efficient, people-centered project manager. Building deep relationships with people and empowering them to advocate for ending systems of oppression is your passion. You are a master delegator and demonstrate flexibility and professional maturity in being able to think while in the middle of a web of complexity. You can lead from an authentic and calm place to help others feel confident, assured and hopeful that possibilities exist in the face of challenge or uncertainty. You build air-tight plans, through your skill as an “if, then” thinker -- mitigating risks of a plan failing by imagining and preparing for various scenarios, smart prioritization, and advance problem-solving.
  • Identifies root causes. You think about challenges from a big picture lens, wondering if what you observe is a symptom of a broader problem, and identifying possible patterns and solutions to address it. 
  • 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 Healing to Advocacy Program Manager is a full-time exempt position. This position leads the Healing to Advocacy Program and reports to the Director of Membership & Organizing. The salary for this position is between $85,000 - $90,000 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. Essie has a mandatory COVID-19 vaccine policy.

To Apply

Please address a thoughtful cover letter to the “Essie Hiring Committee” and submit along with a resume through our hiring portal (https://essiejusticegroup.bamboohr.com/jobs).

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, immigration status, socioeconomic status, ancestry, age, size, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, familial status, veteran status, disability, AIDS/HIV status, medical condition, prior conviction, arrest history, traits historically associated with race, including, but not limited to, hair texture and protective hairstyles, or any other characteristic protected by law.

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 (gnc), and gender fluid people. 

This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, performance assessment, promotion, termination, layoff, recall, transfer, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.

About Essie Justice Group

Essie Justice Group is a non profit organization of women with incarcerated loved ones taking on the rampant injustices created by mass incarceration. Our award-winning Healing to Advocacy Model brings women together to heal, build collective power, and drive social change. Essie is Great Place to Work-Certified™ and a recognized leader in Black feminist institution building.

Learn more at www.essiejusticegroup.org

Thank You

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  • Location
    Oakland/Los Angeles, California
  • Department
    Membership & Organizing
  • Employment Type
  • Compensation
    $85,000 - $90,000