Vera is hiring a Communications Manager to join a diverse and growing team and to manage communications for our conditions of confinement work including our Restoring Promise initiative, which centers the people most impacted by our work—incarcerated people and corrections staff. Our Restoring Promise initiative seeks to transform living conditions for incarcerated young adults (ages 18-25) and working conditions for staff in jails and prisons across the country. It anchors a larger organizational communications campaign to transform the American prison system by centering human dignity and racial justice.
The Communications Manager is responsible for implementing integrated strategies to promote this effort, change narratives and norms, and ultimately build public support.
Who We Are
The Vera Institute of Justice, founded in 1961, envisions a society that respects the dignity of every person and safeguards justice for everyone. Vera is committed to securing equal justice, ending mass incarceration, and strengthening families and communities.
- 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.
The Restoring Promise initiative is a partnership between the Vera Institute of Justice and MILPA. MILPA is a mission-driven cadre of primarily formerly incarcerated staff members who are committed to building next-generation infrastructure and the leadership needed to address structural and racial inequities while promoting cultural healing. Together, we identify forward thinking corrections agencies and collaborate to transform living conditions for incarcerated young adults (ages 18-25) and working conditions for staff in jails and prisons across the country. Two core values, rooted in the name, guide the initiative:
Restoring calls for truth telling and healing, a process by which people most impacted by the justice system are partners in reform; and
Promise acknowledges the failed promise to generations of young people, demands commitment to supporting them in realizing their full potential, and asks us to look forward toward a vision of ending the prison model of justice.
Reporting to the Project Director of Restoring Promise and the Managing Director of Communications, the Communications Manager will help the team drive campaign strategy and amplify our work.
What You’ll Do
The Communications Manager will work with Restoring Promise and communications leadership to develop and run a national campaign organized around conditions of confinement and anchored in the work of Restoring Promise. This campaign will use a full suite of communications activities—editorial, video, media, social media, validators, and advisors—to shape public norms and narratives about the people who live and work in prisons by defining the challenges of prison conditions, lifting up new thinking, and promoting actions and evidence of those who are working to buck convention, and challenge us to imagine a world without prisons. We don’t just want to reach bigger audiences, we want to reach the right audiences.
The Communications Manager will be responsible for:
- Helping develop a national communications campaign. Executing a comprehensive communications strategy that includes traditional media, digital media, web and other creative content
- Managing communications strategies and projects:
- Partnering with Restoring Promise and communications staff to manage projects and needs
- Communicating with project leadership, the staff of partner organizations, and government agencies regularly regarding communication opportunities and needs
- Working in partnership with the Restoring Promise Creative Content Associate to develop content and oversee a website and brand development process
Implementing strategies to garner local and national media—print, online, radio, television, and podcasts—that shift the narrative about what prisons are for and center the lives of incarcerated people and their families as well as people working in jails and prisons
- Managing day-to-day media outreach and helping develop messaging strategy for Restoring Promise and related communications campaigns regarding conditions of confinement
- Pitching local and national media
- Cultivating and building relationships with reporters
- Responding to media requests, ensuring reporters have the correct information, and coordinating interviews with Vera and MILPA staff as necessary
- Monitoring news developments and tracking justice-related news, seeking opportunities to bring Restoring Promise work to diverse audiences
- Tracking all media hits mentioning Vera, MILPA, and Restoring Promise and reporting in real-time
Overseeing marketing and content creation:
- Developing a strategy and taking the lead on implementation of public facing creative content (fact sheets, brochures, videos, data visualizations, interactive maps, photo essays, etc.)
- Developing and executing an integrated social media strategy around the campaign
Drafting campaign materials that make the essential connection between the issues plaguing our justice system and our country’s history of racism including pitches, press releases, media advisories, op-eds, letters, fact sheets, brochures, statements, articles, and other campaign materials as needed
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, be committed to anti-racism, have worked in some area of social justice, and have an established career in 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. You have the ability to write various kinds of campaign materials for target audiences including talking points, pitches, press releases, statements, media advisories, op-eds, blog posts, and letters to the editor.
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. You bring an intersectional lens and are comfortable facilitating with a sensitivity to navigating power dynamics across race, class, and position (i.e. people who are incarcerated, people who are formerly incarcerated, family and community members impacted by incarceration, stakeholders, agency leadership, line staff).
A collaborator and rigorous thinker, with exceptional problem-solving skills. Collaboration is a core Vera value—we thrive when we learn and build on each other’s ideas and are open to giving and receiving feedback—both in our team and across the institution. You have strong social and emotional intelligence and embrace opportunities to learn and grow. You exercise sound judgement, are adept at problem solving, and pause before acting, mindful of the consequences when urgency trumps processes, inclusion, or relationships.
Management and leadership. You are detail-oriented and able to see the big picture. You keep track of multiple competing deadlines and priorities. You center race equity and inclusion in your approach and decision making as a manager and team member. You excel at working independently and as a member of a team.
At least five years of progressive strategic communications experience, including campaign strategy and execution, media relations, and developing creative content
Ability to develop and track quantitative and qualitative metrics
Last, but not least, you love to travel and can do so frequently.
Based on experience and including excellent benefits.
How to apply
Please submit a cover letter and resume. Applications will be considered on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Online submission in PDF format (through Vera’s career page) is preferred. No phone calls, please. Only applicants selected for interviews will be contacted.
ATTN: Human 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.
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.