Policy Director

15 Dec, 2021


Policy Director

Detroit Disability Power
Detroit, MI

The primary goal of this position is to build the power of the disability community, through effective policy campaigns, so DDP, with our members, partners and allies, can change Detroit and the world.

About us

The mission of Detroit Disability Power (DDP) is to leverage and build the organizing power of the disability community to ensure the full inclusion of people with disabilities in Metro Detroit. We organize people with disabilities and our allies, train community members about disability inclusion and dismantling ableism, and plan fun and educational community-building events. We are a social justice organization, not a service organization, meaning we advocate and build power, not offer charity services. DDP is fiscally sponsored by Michigan Disability Rights Coalition.

The ideal candidate

Detroit Disability Power is seeking an organized, experienced, and resourceful Policy Director with a commitment to equity & disability justice. The Policy Director will bring demonstrated experience and leadership skills in advancing social justice issues and diversity, equity, and inclusion for marginalized communities. The ideal candidate must bring a deep understanding of the political process and how decisions are made at the city and state level, the ability to research and review public policy, as well as compile, synthesize, and communicate important information, understanding and co-developing the connection(s) between our organizing and policy priorities. The most important skills to be successful in this position include research, relationship building, patience, flexibility, persistence, clear communication (especially through writing), and a willingness to advocate, even when faced with adversity.

Principal Responsibilities

Reporting to the Deputy Director, the Policy Director manages the Policy Analyst and any policy interns. The Policy Director is responsible for advancing Detroit Disability Power’s policy priorities to key allies and decision makers in Detroit and in Lansing. The Policy Director is also tasked with contributing to the development and execution of a strategy to build power for the disability community, particularly multiply marginalized disabled people, and to advance and win our public policy agenda.

This includes:

  •  Providing leadership, along with other staff and partner organizations, in the development and implementation of policy priorities and strategy;
  • Leading DDP’s work to position ourselves, our partners, and our agenda strategically and powerfully in Detroit and Lansing with policymakers and influencers;
  • Collaborating with DDP’s team and partners in cultivating and building powerful relationships with key policymakers and influencers in Detroit and Lansing, in service of our agenda and our partners;
  • Supervising DDP’s Policy Analyst and periodic policy-focused interns;
  • Collaborating with DDP’s policy and organizing staff in:
  • Managing DDP’s relationships with the Detroit City Council, the Michigan Legislature, the Governor’s office, and relevant city & state agencies;
  • Participating in coalition building strategies at the city and state level, and maintaining key relationships with partner organizations;
  • Providing reliable, timely analysis and strategic guidance on DDP’s legislative activities;
  •  Developing and disseminating materials regarding policy developments to partners, policy makers and the media;
  • Ensuring the involvement of grassroots leaders and partner organizations in promoting agreed upon priorities, and helping to organize opportunities to bring grassroots partners in contact with their elected officials and other relevant decision makers;
  •  Conducting and/or commissioning research as necessary;
  • Participating in cross training of responsibilities with other staff members in order to best serve our small organization; and
  • Taking other steps necessary to develop and advance DDP’s policy agenda.


  • Commitment to advancing disability justice, which is inherently intersectional in analysis and approach.
  • Experience in a leadership role in representing an organization on issues of importance to marginalized communities.
  • Extensive knowledge of legislative and other policy processes.
  • Understanding of and commitment to social change through building the capacity and power of marginalized people to change their communities and to participate directly in changing public policies.
  • Demonstrated commitment to community organizing and ability to work constructively with grassroots partners.
  • Excellent advocacy, consensus-building, coalition-building, and leadership skills; demonstrated ability to work collegially and collaboratively with other staff and other organizations; demonstrated ability to work with groups and individuals across the political spectrum.
  • Exceptional communication skills, both written and oral/signing; experience as a public spokesperson and advocate; ability to analyze and articulate legal concepts and other complex issues and to communicate them to a variety of audiences; a “quick study” on a dynamic array of issues.
  • A broad understanding of city and state policies that pertain to marginalized communities; expertise in disability issues is especially helpful.
  • The ability to produce consistent, quality work in a sometimes fast-paced environment.
  • Experience effectively supervising and developing staff, including identifying professional development opportunities, resources, and needs for team members related to public policy.
  • Ability to manage several projects simultaneously and to adjust to frequently changing demands.
  • Ability to build relationships with relevant policy partners (government, policy shops, academic institutions, etc.).
  • Experience analyzing and interpreting legislative and regulatory language.
  • Ability to facilitate meetings, trainings, and/or group gatherings that move people to action.
  • Commitment to social change through building the capacity and power of marginalized people to change their communities and to participate directly in changing public policies.

Desired Mindset

  • Openness and willingness to learn new skills and maintain a learning attitude
  • Openness and willingness to be a team – must be a team player
  • Ability to think and work creatively and critically
  • Willingness and ability to engage in big-picture and detail-oriented work
  •  A natural sense of curiosity about people and the ability to relate to them
  • Willingness to speak up, suggest new ideas, receive feedback, adjust plans to ensure successful completion of goals, and be a part of the solution
  • Ability to practice showing up for co-workers with consistent follow- through and good communication
  •  Ability to drive one’s work, often working independently, learning quickly, setting goals, being resourceful and asking for help when needed
  • Demonstrated ability to take responsibility for one’s actions
  • Self-awareness and humility
  • A sense of humor

Required Experience

  • 5+ years working for a social justice and/or nonprofit organization
  • 3+ years of progressively responsible policy experience
  • 2+ years in a leadership and supervisory role
  • Relevant lived experience and the ability to articulate learning from those experiences

Position Details

This position is a full-time (40 hours a week) salaried position. The Policy Director must be able to work remotely / virtually until it is safe to return to an in person setting. Then, this position will be a combination of remote and in-person from our new Detroit office in the Core City neighborhood, starting as soon as Spring 2022. Safety is a top priority for DDP as we navigate Covid-19 and our agency’s policies and protocols, following federal standards.  This role is not designed to be permanently remote.


DDP offers a competitive salary and benefits package that meets industry standards and Metro Detroit’s cost of living standards. The pay range is $60,000-$65,000 annually, with performance-based raises. Pay is based on candidate’s knowledge, skills, and experience. The benefits package includes earned paid time off (8 hours biweekly); holiday pay; medical, dental, vision; 403 (b) employer match; and parental leave.

Application process

We strive for diverse representation and inclusion at DDP. DDP values and specifically seeks applicants who are people of color, women, LGBTQIA and gender fluid people, people with disabilities, veterans, and members of other diverse identities. If this is you, know that your contributions and leadership are especially valuable at DDP.

Equal employment opportunity: All qualified individuals will be considered for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, marital status, familial status, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, or disability.

Persons interested in this position should submit the following materials to Info@opmos.com:

  • A cover letter describing your interest in and qualifications for this position OR a video or audio recording of yourself describing your interest in and qualifications for the position
  • A current resume
  • Two writing samples of past material you have written
  • Three professional references

Applications must include these materials to be considered.

The deadline to apply is January 4th, 2022. Applications and phone screens will be reviewed on a rolling basis, but interviews will not start before Jan. 4th, 2022.

Hiring Timeline 

11/24/2021 – 1/4/2022: Applications are accepted

11/29/2021 – 1/7/2022: Phone screens

1/14/2022 – 1/21/2022: 1st Interviews

1/26/2022: Assignment Due

1/31/2022 – 2/4/2022: 2nd Interviews

2/21/2022: Target Start Date

For questions regarding this announcement, or to request reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process, please contact DDP’s recruitment firm, Opmos Services at info@opmos.com.

DDP makes every effort to instill universal design principles for the hiring and job environment.

Job posted: 2021-12-15