Who we are:
The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, is a nonprofit criminal justice organization that strives to build just government institutions and safe communities free from the scourge of racism, white supremacy, profit, and inequity that is pervasive in this country’s legal systems. We are an “inside” lane organization that drives change at scale with ambitious public sector leaders who share our commitment to building anti-racist, reparative systems that deliver justice. We leverage our access to government to transform these systems and work collaboratively with stakeholders across many movements—including advocacy, grassroots, and grasstop organizations. Our role is to pilot solutions that are transformative and achievable, harness the power of evidence to drive effective policy and practice, and use advocacy and communications to change narratives and norms.
Vera has a staff of 300 people and offices in New York City, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, and New Orleans. We are an equal opportunity employer with a commitment to diversity in the workplace. We expect our staff to embody respect, independence, collaboration, commitment, anti-racism, and equity—both in our outward-facing work and the internal culture of our workplace. We value a range of experiences in people’s educational backgrounds and encourage people who have been directly impacted by the criminal justice system to apply.
Who you are:
The Communications Manager on the Restoring Promise team runs communications for the initiative and its conditions of confinement work, which centers the people most impacted by our work—incarcerated people and corrections professionals. The position supports Restoring Promise in the goal of shaping public norms and narratives about the people who live and work in prisons by defining the challenges of prison conditions, amplifying thought leadership, and promoting actions and evidence of those who are working to buck convention. The communications manager’s primary responsibility is in earned media as well as serving as a main point of contact for the Communications & External Affairs Department at Vera and Restoring Promise, which is an initiative of Vera and the MILPA Collective. The communications manager also supports the initiative on site selection, convenings and events, and global exchange through drafting publicity materials, scanning the field for readings/educational materials for global exchange participants, developing plans for a series of communications products related to global exchange (videos/blogs/news/media), creating material for welcome packets for convening participants.
The communications manager approach to their tasks is rooted in anti-racist philosophy and practices and with a commitment to the values of Restoring Promise: Race Equity, Cultural Healing, Restorative Justice, and Community and Family Partnership.
What you'll do:
Develop, execute, and project manage a national communications campaign for Restoring Promise
- Responsible for proactive and reactive earned media strategy and successful execution of earned media strategy
- Collaborate and serve as project manager within the Communications & External Affairs Department to create digital, editorial, and creative content such as short videos, blog posts, and graphics for Restoring Promise
- Partner with Restoring Promise and Communications & External Affairs Department colleagues to manage defined projects and needs, as well as identifying new needs as they arise
- Communicate with initiative leadership, DOC leadership, the leadership and staff of partner organizations, and funders regularly regarding communication opportunities, updates, and milestones from Restoring Promise
- Serve as a liaison with the Communications & External Affairs Department to integrate social media strategy around the campaign
Implement strategies to garner local and national media—print, online, radio, broadcast, and podcasts—that shift the negative narrative about the people that live and work in prions
- Manage day-to-day media outreach—regularly pitch to local and national media; cultivate and build relationships with reporters, editors, producers, etc.
- Respond and vet all media requests, ensuring reporters have the correct information, and coordinating interviews with Vera and MILPA staff as necessary
- Monitor news developments and track justice-related news, seek proactive opportunities to bring Restoring Promise work to diverse audiences, and keep abreast of readings and educational materials related to conditions of confinement
- Track all media hits mentioning Restoring Promise and provide real-time reporting to the initiative director and Associate Director of Media Strategy
- Develop messaging strategy for Restoring Promise and related communications campaigns regarding conditions of confinement
- Crisis communications support, as needed
Team Building and Mentorship
- Ensure Restoring Promise teammates (Vera and MILPA) are trained on the initiative’s communications strategy, talking points, and elevator pitches for a variety of public speaking engagements including conferences, webinars, and media interviews.
- Train initiative spokesperson/people (and their backups) on Restoring Promise’s key messaging, how to interact with the media, and public speaking. Additionally, provide staffing and logistics support for media requests and interviews.
- Cultivate relationships and maintain routine correspondence with MILPA teammates.
- Support the internal on-going learning of new staff or interns as it relates to the Restoring Promise
Draft campaign materials that support Restoring Promise’s goals
- Campaign materials include all publicity materials, pitches to media, press releases, statements, media advisories, op-eds, letter to the editor, editorial outreach, fact sheets, brochures, statements, rapid response, welcome packets for convening participants, and other campaign materials as needed
- Ensure the campaign reflects Vera’s stance and messaging on race equity
- Other duties as assigned
What qualifications do you need?
- At least five to seven years of progressive strategic communications experience, including campaign strategy and execution, drafting and editing a variety of written materials, media relations, and developing creative content
- Ability to develop and track quantitative and qualitative metrics
Please note Vera employees adhere to a hybrid schedule: two days in office their first week and three days in office every alternating week and this office is located in Brooklyn, New York.
Compensation and Benefits:
The compensation range for this position is $83,400 – $87,600. Actual salaries will vary depending on factors including but not limited to experience and performance. The salary range listed is just one component of Vera Institute’s total compensation package for employees. As an employer of choice in our field, supporting Vera staff—both personally and professionally—is a priority. To do this, we invest in the well-being of our staff through other rewards including merit pay, generous paid time off, a comprehensive health insurance plan, student loan repayment benefits, professional development training opportunities and up to $2,000 annual for education costs and fees relevant to Vera work, employer-funded retirement plan, and flexible time. Please note Vera employees adhere to a hybrid schedule: two days in office their first week and three days in office every alternating week. To learn more about Vera’s benefits offerings, click here.
Applications may also be faxed to:
ATTN: People Resources / Communications Manager, Restoring Promise
Vera Institute of Justice
34 35th St, Suite 4-2A, Brooklyn, NY 11232
Fax: (212) 941-9407
Please use only one method (online, mail or fax) of submission.
No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.
As a federal contractor, and in order to ensure a healthy and safe work environment, Vera Institute of Justice is requiring all employees to be fully vaccinated and provide proof of their COVID-19 vaccine before their start date. Employees who cannot receive the vaccine because of a disability/medical contraindication or sincerely-held religious belief may request an accommodation (e.g., an exemption) to this requirement.
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, please visit www.vera.org