Program Manager

Website Essie Justice Group

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. Our community includes cisgender women, transgender women, formerly incarcerated women, gender nonconforming (GNC) people, elders, and young people.


After eight years of building an active membership across California and beyond, Essie is deepening its base-building and leadership development strategies with the 1 in 4 women with incarcerated loved ones to propel bold decarceration agendas across the nation. We seek to transform the criminal legal system and create a Black feminist future rooted in care, equity, community safety, and liberation. Ready to double-down on our base-building strategy in the effort to break the invisibility and isolation of women with incarcerated loved ones across the country, we are seeking an exceptional, values-driven Program Manager to join our team to help lead the effort. 


The Program Manager is an expert project manager and enthusiastic executor who revels in implementing large, impact-driven programs that develop the leadership of the people most impacted by the systems we seek to change. 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 strategic and ambitious goals with loving rigor. A seasoned facilitator with keen observation and communication skills, the Program Manager possesses a vibrant personality and demonstrates optimism and patience that ensures active engagement from all participants. At the end of the day, what this person loves is to support groups of people to do important things together and transform themselves in the process.

Start date: July 24, 2023



Core Responsibilities

Manage Programmatic Work & Train Member Leaders – Manage staff and external relationships and oversee the day-to-day operations of designated Essie programs.

  • Manage the successful implementation of Essie’s programs, leading the collaborative, complex, and often cross-team work, and ensuring the strategic deployment of Essie program resources.
  • Provide adequate structure, direction, and support to staff and members who lead programmatic work in various locations.
    Manage the data, budget, and administration goals for your programs.
  • Solve complex logistical problems related to the different parts of the program and in response to the needs of members and staff.
  • Hold external relationships necessary to run programs successfully.
  • Plan agendas and serve as a Lead Facilitator in multi-day organizing retreats and trainings.
  • Implement a program evaluation system that ensures Essie programs are meeting their stated goals.Provide input on programmatic improvements.


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

  • Manage and train staff and contractors who are carrying out core functions of Essie’s programmatic work (e.g. childcare, staff organizers, trainers, event planners) to achieve set organizational goals together.
  • Oversee member retention, recruitment, evaluation, and data management systems design related to specific programs.


Who We’re Looking For 

Ideal Qualifications

  • 5+ years experience in program implementation, preferably in community organizing 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 training.
  • 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.
  • Committed to evolution. 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.
  • 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 Program Manager is a full-time exempt position. This position leads programmatic work and reports to the Director of Membership & Organizing. The salary for this position is between $85,000-$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 is based in one of Essie’s offices in Oakland or Los Angeles, California. All Essie staff are required to be vaccinated against Covid-19, with limited exceptions for medical or religious reasons.


To Apply

Please address a personal, specific, and thoughtful cover letter to the “Essie Hiring Committee” and submit along with a resume through our hiring portal ( Your resume tells us what you can do; your cover letter should tell us who you are and why you want to work with Essie.


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.


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