Policy Director

21 Nov, 2018


Policy Director

American Civil Liberties Union
Nashville, TN
The Opportunity
The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee (ACLU-TN) seeks a creative and dynamic team player with policy advocacy experience to become ACLU-TN’s policy director. ACLU-TN is building a more expansive advocacy infrastructure and the policy director will be responsible for leading the organization’s policy advocacy work to advance ACLU’s strategic priorities. The policy director’s primary role will be focused on state legislative and executive branch advocacy as well as engaging with administrative agencies, local governments, and ballot measure campaigns.
The policy director is a member of the ACLU-TN’s senior leadership team and will report to the executive director. The policy director also will collaborate closely with the legal director and the communications Director.
ACLU-TN, the state affiliate of the national American Civil Liberties Union, is a private, non-profit, non- partisan public interest organization dedicated to defending and advancing civil liberties and civil rights through advocacy, coalition-building, legal, legislative, community mobilization, and public education initiatives.
ACLU has been a leader in moving freedom forward in Tennessee for over 9 decades. In 1925, when John Scopes was arrested for teaching evolution in a Dayton, TN public school classroom, ACLU cooperating attorney Clarence Darrow defended him. In the era of segregation, ACLU spoke out for racial justice and the right to assemble, including representing Dr. Martin Luther King during the sanitation workers strike in Memphis. In recent years, we have successfully pursued cutting edge initiatives on a range of issues including religious freedom, LGBT equality, freedom of speech, voting rights, immigrants’ rights, and reproductive freedom.
In the wake of the Trump administration’s daily assaults on civil liberties and civil rights, ACLU-TN is embarking on it most ambitious advocacy yet. ACLU-TN’s policy work includes but is not limited to, criminal justice reform; increasing access to the ballot box; advancing racial justice and LGBTQ equality; protecting religious freedom, reproductive justice, and the fair treatment of immigrants and refugees.
The ACLU-TN state office is located in Nashville, a rapidly growing city with a rich history in social justice and a fantastic music, arts, culture and food scene. In addition, the ACLU-TN is an exciting, fast-paced place to work.
·         Design and implement a strategic legislative and policy program at the state and local levels to advance ACLU-TN’s civil liberties and civil rights priorities;
·         Execute ACLU-TN’s legislative agenda utilizing appropriate strategies and tactics, including lobbying members of the Tennessee General Assembly, their staff and the governor’s office;


·         Analyze and track legislation, draft legislation and amendments, and prepare and deliver written and oral testimony;
·         Prepare written materials in collaboration with the communications director, including action alerts, talking points, issues briefs, policy reports and website content;
·         Build trusted relationships with elected and appointed officials, agency decision-makers, the governor’s office, lobbyists and community stakeholders by providing clear, fact-based analysis and resources;
·         Represent ACLU-TN in various community and stakeholder groups, build and lead coalitions with diverse stakeholders to advance shared policy goals, and work in partnership with other organizations;
·         Coordinate and collaborate with ACLU-TN staff to build and implement effective multi- disciplinary and integrated advocacy policy initiatives, involving a combination of policy, legal, communications, public education and organizing strategies;
·         Work collaboratively with the national ACLU and other ACLU affiliates to advance nationwide policy campaigns;
·         Perform other related duties as assigned by the executive director.
·         BA required. Graduate degree and/or law degree preferred and three years of state or national legislative, political or policy advocacy work;
·         Understanding of the legislative process, political strategic planning, and the ability to build respectful relationships across the political spectrum;
·         Exceptional analytical, research, writing and oral advocacy skills, as well as the ability to articulate complex issues and to communicate them tactfully and effectively to a variety of audiences;
·         Demonstrated ability to build and sustain allies and work collaboratively across the political spectrum with diverse coalitions, including navigating internal political dynamics among partner groups, and a personal approach that values and respects differences of race, ethnicity, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, ability and socioeconomic circumstances;
·         Exceptional initiative, vision and ambition to build a strategic, integrated advocacy program through a broad range of short- and long-term political and lobbying tactics;
·         Passion for, and a well-articulated knowledge of, civil liberties, civil rights and racial justice, and a familiarity with the work and mission of the ACLU;


·         Ability to listen, guide and support people to achieve common goals;
·         Keen attention to detail; ability to work simultaneously on multiple projects at various stages of completion; good problem-solving skills and a positive, professional attitude with sound judgment, flexibility, determination and good humor in a fast-paced, sometimes high-pressure office;
·         Ambitious, creative, and results-oriented initiative and a desire to learn, pitch-in, and anticipate new projects; ability to collaborate, including working closely with the executive director and colleagues at the ACLU-TN and national ACLU;
·         An absolute commitment to the highest ethical and professional standards; and
·         Willingness to work beyond 9 to 5, especially during the legislative session, and to travel throughout Tennessee as needed.
Compensation: Salary is commensurate with experience and within the parameters of the ACLU-TN compensation scale. Excellent benefits offered, including health insurance plan, dental, life and long- term disability insurance; 401(k) with an employee match; sick, vacation and holiday leave.
The ACLU-TN is an equal opportunity employer and values a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. Weencourage applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, color, religion, gender, genderidentity or expression, sexual orientation, age, national origin, marital status, citizenship, disability, veteran status and record of arrest or conviction.
Applications will be reviewed beginning Friday, December 7th and will be accepted until the position is filled at which time the posting will be removed from the ACLU- TN/ACLU websites. Please email PDFs of your letter of interest, resume, professional writing sample no longer than five pages and three professional references to jobs@aclu-tn.org with the subject “PolicyDirector.” Please state in your letter of interest how you learned of this position.

Job posted: 2018-11-21