National Director, Government Relations, Policy & Advocacy

01 Nov, 2021


National Director, Government Relations, Policy & Advocacy

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
Arlington, VA

What started as a small group of families gathered around a kitchen table in 1979 has blossomed into the nation’s leading voice on mental health. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) is the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.

Today, we are an alliance of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and a national office who work in communities across the United States to raise awareness and provide support and education that was not previously available to those in need. NAMI advocates for all who are affected by mental illness, both the individuals and the people in their lives. In particular, we work to address disparities and injustices and to promote dignity and inclusion for all people with mental illness and their families. In addition to being advocates, we educate, we listen, and we lead as evidenced by our public awareness campaigns, the range of numerous programs we provide, and our strong public policy.

We currently have an opening for a National Director, Government Relations, Policy & Advocacy. The National Director is responsible for providing strategic leadership of the Government Affairs, Policy & Advocacy department. The National Director ensures that NAMI is advancing a federal policy agenda that reflects strategic goals, influencing regulatory activity that affects the lives of people with mental health conditions and families, and is facilitating effective advocacy campaigns that leverage NAMI’s network of grassroots activists and grasstops leaders.

This position is based in Arlington, VA (currently remote due to COVID).


  • Provides leadership and strategic direction for department to deliver on NAMI’s policy and advocacy goals
  • Engage in high-level policy discussions with federal agencies, Congressional offices and committees, White House staff and other key decision-makers
  • Represents NAMI on national policy issues with the media, including live media and with national and international media outlets
  • Oversees implementation of a federal policy agenda and strategies to advance NAMI’s policy priorities
  • Ensures NAMI is influencing leading mental health-related legislation and responding effectively to both legislative and regulatory threats and opportunities
  • Facilitates and actively participates in leading coalitions to advance NAMI’s priorities
  • Briefs the CEO on leading policy issues and provides talking points and media prep
  • Formal liaison to the Board Public Policy Committee and provides policy reports to the CEO and Board of Directors
  • Oversees strategic communications with Congress, federal agencies, NAMI’s leaders and members, and key stakeholders on leading policy and advocacy issues
  • Oversees and approves drafting of news items, press statements and web pages related to policy issues
  • Develops relationships with strategic and influential coalitions, partner organizations, content experts and other stakeholders
  • Promotes visibility and action on policy and advocacy priorities
  • Oversees implementation of sophisticated, multi-faceted federal advocacy campaigns
  • Ensures expert guidance and technical assistance is provided to NAMI leaders on politically- and time-sensitive issues
  • Facilitate mobilization of grassroots advocates and development of grasstops leaders
  • Assists in developing funding proposals and forging relationships with funders and donors
  • Coordinates with other teams on joint projects and organizational issues
  • Represent NAMI at national conferences and meetings
  • Serves as an actively engaged member of NAMI’s leadership team
  • Directs and approves development of funding proposals and grant reports, including meeting with high-level donors and funders
  • Responsible for developing and monitoring multiple budgets for the GRPA team and approving and overseeing contracts and relationships with contractors
  • Lead hiring processes and personnel decisions for the GRPA team
  • Leads and manages three direct reports (directors), including facilitating professional growth and development
  • Prioritize and support cross-departmental objectives.
  • Nurtures a culture of collaboration and mutual support, high-quality work, and exceptional service to the field
  • Performs other duties as assigned


  • 10+ years’ experience
  • Advanced degree required or bachelor’s degree and equivalent experience
  • Minimum 10 years supervisory experience
  • Proficiency with Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Outlook, ability to conduct internet research and learn project-management software and other online tools and programs
  • Skilled in national media interviews, including televised interviews
  • Extensive knowledge of mental health, health and disability rights issues and state and federal legislative and regulatory processes
  • Knowledge of key federal agencies, especially CMS, SAMHSA, NIMH, DOJ, and HRSA
  • Expertise with federal legislative and regulatory processes
  • Skilled in effective nonprofit grassroots advocacy
  • Ability to successfully manage teams and complex projects
  • Ability to respond quickly and effectively to challenges
  • Ability to develop and manage budgets
  • Exceptional organizational skills and attention to detail
  • Ability to think strategically and develop clear plans to achieve goals
  • Skill in leading diverse coalitions
  • Ability to prioritize and to problem-solve effectively
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills and comfort presenting in public and with the media
  • Skill in developing staff strengths and nurturing a cohesive and supportive team
  • Experience in forging strong partnerships and fostering collaboration
  • Ability to work independently, take initiative and exercise decision-making authority

NAMI is proud to be an equal opportunity employer and is committed to creating a diverse and inclusive workforce. NAMI prohibits discrimination and harassment against any employee or applicant for employment because of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, age, disability, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, genetic information or any other legally protected group status. We also provide reasonable accommodation for candidates with disability.

Learn more here

Job posted: 2021-11-01