NELP - National Employment Law Project

National Employment Law Project

Chief of Staff

Based out of Berkeley, CA; Washington, DC; or New York City, NY


The National Employment Law Project (NELP) is looking for a strategic, insightful, and mission-driven leader who thrives on creating community and building momentum in service to a common cause. In close partnership with the Executive Director, the Chief of Staff works to connect the dots across NELP, ensuring that organizational culture and practices best serve our strategic priorities and commitment to racial and economic equity. In this internal-facing role on NELP’s executive team, the Chief of Staff will coach staff members to see how their unique contributions can further our mission, while identifying larger operational patterns and opportunities within our movement to build worker power.

About National Employment Law Project
The National Employment Law Project (NELP) is a national non-profit with the core goals of building worker power and advancing racial and economic justice. Founded in 1969, we promote federal, state, and local policies to create good jobs, strengthen workers’ standard of living, enforce worker rights, and improve benefits and services for unemployed workers. In collaboration with national and grassroots partners, NELP advances its work through research, advocacy, litigation support, and technical assistance. Our work is designed to raise wages, end wage theft and workplace violations, strengthen unemployment insurance, ensure employer accountability for workers in contract employment, encourage fair chance employment practices, and promote a comprehensive policy framework to build a good jobs economy. For more information, read our annual reports and explore our website: www.nelp.org.

In January of 2020, NELP welcomed our new Executive Director, Rebecca Dixon, whose vision for economic justice is deeply rooted in her lived experience at the intersection of race, class and gender growing up in rural Mississippi. A national leader recognized for her expertise in labor law and policy, Rebecca believes that a just and inclusive economy is only achievable by centering racial equity. The Chief of Staff will play a special role in NELP’s capacity to meet this moment by serving as Rebecca’s “right hand,” an executive thought partner to ensure that our talented staff, dedicated Board of Directors, and critical network of supporters and partners are aligned around a clear vision for justice and shared set of strategic priorities to powerfully advance NELP’s mission to build worker power.

NELP has a team of 45 staff people based across offices in New York City, Washington D.C., and Berkeley, CA, with a 13-person Board of Directors, an annual budget of $12M, and hundreds of partners in the field with whom we work to further our mission.

What You Will Do
We anticipate that the Chief of Staff will work across three main areas of priority, though ultimately, this role will also be shaped by the candidate’s skills and interests as well as current evolving needs at NELP.

Direct Support of the Executive Director

  • The Chief of Staff (COS) will be a member of NELP’s executive team and in a largely internal-facing role, work closely with the Executive Director (ED) as a trusted advisor to set strategic priorities, to define and track metrics for achievement, and to connect all activity back to the central cause of supporting Rebecca’s efficacy as a leader in service of NELP as an organization charged with making urgent progress on a critical mission. These activities may include:
  • Strategically managing Rebecca’s time to ensure that her executive function is best aligned with organizational priorities and that her direct participation is included where it can be most powerful. The COS will proactively look for alternate resources to meet needs across NELP, including opportunities where their own skills can be used and/or the leadership capacity of staff and key stakeholders can be further developed in service of the movement.
  • Preparing Rebecca for upcoming meetings, speaking engagements, and other events, providing briefing materials and anticipating needs so that she has all information necessary to be most productive and effective. Coordinating efforts with Rebecca’s Executive Assistant and working with staff, Board of Directors, and external partners to ensure that follow up and follow through and timely, resources are identified and activated, and needs and results are communicated as appropriate.
  • Serving internally as proxy for Rebecca as needed, leading staff meetings, participating in Board of Directors’ committee meetings, and being management’s union liaison. Managing internal and external strategic communications by compiling data, preparing reports, and drafting newsletters, speeches, and other presentations on her behalf.

Organizational Development and Culture
The COS will be a leader in advancing a decade-long, comprehensive organizational development strategy, supporting our staff in deepening the alignment of practices and systems to ensure the organization has the leadership, competencies, and culture in place to achieve our vision. NELP strives to be an anti-racist organization and is committed to doing this work in a way that reflects our values. These activities will include:

  • Strengthening operational performance by defining and measuring operational strategies; building relationships with all staff in order to improve internal communications and increase operational responsiveness; working with the ED and other team members on special projects as needed; and ensuring that key strategic initiatives are on track and that team members have the information and tools they need to be successful.
  • Supporting a positive, inclusive organizational culture, which includes generative union-management relations; this will be accomplished by developing organizational practices and expectations to support collaboration and mutuality, designing opportunities for healthy communication, self-reflection, learning, and conflict resolution, leading with transparency and trust-building practices, deepening staff empowerment with voice and choice, creating space for staff to set up peer supportive practices and systems. As part of this work, the COS will serve as a member of and supportive resource to our equity task force.
  • Providing coaching, training, and mentoring to staff, as needed, to cultivate the skills and behaviors necessary to operationalize organizational practices using change management techniques.
  • Working with Human Relations and other team leaders to ensure that equity is embedded in the entire employee life cycle, with metrics that will enable clear measurement and accountability, making sure that our actions and policies are consistent on fairness and equity with regard to talent pipeline, hiring, promotions, development opportunities, onboarding, offboarding, etc.

Key Stakeholders and Partners

  • NELP operates within a broader network of key stakeholders and partners who make our work possible. In support of the ED, the COS will work to nurture and further develop these relationships, consulting closely with the executive team on priorities and strategies for network-building and amplifying collective power. These stakeholders will include:
  • NELP’s Board of Directors: Our highly-skilled Board of Directors is instrumental in guiding NELP’s strategic direction and their expertise is crucial to our work. The COS will be a key liaison with the Board, preparing materials in advance of meetings, supporting board development and relations at the direction of the ED.
  • Union Leadership: As advocates for workers’ rights, including the right to organize and bargain over working conditions, staff at NELP are members of Local 2320, UAW. The COS will serve as the liaison to our union, working closely with leadership to build a positive and productive relationship, developing and maintaining communications and compliance structure, and using learnings around best practices to negotiate contract terms and conditions and to foster in-between negotiations harmony.
  • Partner Organizations: NELP is part of a diverse network of values-aligned organizations that share in some part of our work. In support of the ED, the COS will foster opportunities for collaboration and knowledge sharing with other movement-leading organizations to build collective impact, especially as they concern NELP’s commitment to amplify the wisdom and leadership of Black women and immigrant-led organizations as means to close the racial wealth gap and build worker power.
  • Supporters: NELP’s work is supported by generous philanthropists, and the COS will support the ED and development department in ensuring that funders remain informed about what we’re doing and learning and engaged in broader field-building opportunities.

Who You Are

  • You have 10+ years of progressively responsible leadership experience in organizational development, change management, human resources, or in programmatic work at a strategic level and at least 5 years of managerial, supervisory, or team leadership experience (either concurrent or not.)
  • You have a justice-oriented understanding of how race and power impact relationships, organizational culture, partnerships, and can demonstrate a history of successfully intervening in challenging dynamics.
  • You are a leader who cultivates empathy and vulnerability through open and honest dialogue, builds relationships that foster trust and transparency across lines of difference, and offers direct, honest feedback with compassion and clarity of purpose.
  • You are a highly skilled facilitator and coach, who is an inspirational, curious, humble and relational leader with strong interpersonal skills fostering a sense of purpose and community, empowering staff to grow and develop professionally, and has high standards for holding yourself and others accountable. You have a proven record of collaborating, influencing and encouraging others to shift mindsets; you influence leaders and staff at all levels. You exercise patience, recognizing that the journey of becoming an anti-racist organization requires understanding of pace and individuals, and are resilient in the face of setbacks and challenges.
  • You are a high-level strategic thinker who has a track record of increasing organizational success, building effective cross-team initiatives, operationalizing a vision across an organization, and using evaluation tools and metrics to support accountability.
  • You are an effective, persuasive communicator with strong presentation, speaking, written, and nonverbal skills, who conveys information clearly and concisely, internally and externally, with high emotional intelligence and professional judgment.
  • You operate with a commitment to excellence, integrity, diplomacy, humility, and camaraderie.
  • You have experience in a social justice nonprofit, preferably focused on labor law and policy, labor unions, or workers’ rights.

We recognize that there are many paths to this role and that there are other competencies and experiences we may not have considered. If you have questions regarding your qualifications, please see “Hiring Process” section (below) for where to direct your inquiry.

Start Date, Location, Compensation and Benefits:
In response to the pandemic, all staff are currently working remotely and are not traveling. Candidates must be able to work from one of NELP’s offices (New York City, Washington D.C., Berkeley, California) once we return to working in the office. We have a strong preference that the Chief of Staff be based in either the Washington D.C. or New York City office. Start date will be as soon as possible. The annual salary for this position is $150K. Compensation also includes an excellent comprehensive benefits package, including full coverage of family health insurance, a medical reimbursement plan, generous vacation and sick leave (totaling 43 days per year,) plus additional organization-wide holidays, contribution from employer to a retirement plan (non-match), 12 weeks paid parental leave, and student loan repayment assistance for qualifying participants. As advocates for workers’ rights, including the right to organize and bargain over working conditions, staff at NELP are members of Local 2320, UAW, excluding, however, management and certain other categories. This position is in management.

Application Process:
We have retained nonprofit talent agency People Power as our search partner for this hire. To apply, please send a résumé and a cover letter addressing your qualifications and interests in this position along with a writing sample of any kind or length. We also welcome applicants to also include relevant, short samples of their previous work—written reports, links to web-based publications, grant proposals, LOIs, podcasts, pitch letters, press releases, videos, and any other materials demonstrating communication skills or subject matter expertise are welcome.

To Apply:
Send an email with the subject line [Your Name] NELP Chief of Staff to: apply@peoplepowerproject.org.

We will begin reviewing applications February 22, 2021 and continue accepting applications on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

NELP is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and an equal opportunity, fair chance, affirmative action employer, committed to building a diverse and inclusive workforce. All qualified applicants will be considered for employment without regard to 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.

Hiring Process: We appreciate your time and interest in contributing your talents to NELP’s mission. Thank you! You will receive an email auto-reply to your application. We wish we could respond personally to all applicants, but only those chosen to interview will be contacted. Please do not contact NELP directly to inquire about the status of your application.

Selected applicants will be invited to an initial brief screening interview via phone or video. Selected candidates will then be invited to 3-4 longer-form interviews via video with the Executive Director and other members of the executive team and staff. You may also be asked for additional writing samples and/or to meet informally with additional team members.

We welcome your interest and feedback. If you have questions regarding your qualifications for this position, compensation or benefits, our process or internal timeline for hiring, or suggestions for how to improve this announcement or the opportunity itself, please email Kate Brumage at People Power: kate@peoplepowerproject.org.

People Power is a nonprofit social enterprise with a mission to create a new equity-centered model for identifying and developing talent to power the movement for social justice. People Power is a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. To learn more about People Power, please visit their website: www.peoplepowerproject.org.

WHEN APPLYING: Be sure to indicate that you saw this information at UNIONJOBS.COM.