This job has expired

Director of Democracy

New York, United States
$155,000.00 - $165,000.00
Closing date
Apr 8, 2023

Demos is pleased to invite nominations and applications for the newly constituted Director of Democracy position. Demos is the think tank for the racial justice movement. Through research, advocacy, strategic communications, litigation, and deep partnerships with grassroots organizations across the country, we build power for Black and brown communities. Since 2000, Demos has built relationships with grassroots partners, legal and policy experts, and policymakers to champion, advance, and realize pro-democracy and economic justice laws and policy. Demos is valued and trusted for its deep relationships with movement leaders and its ability to prioritize what the movement needs. Demos’ policy, litigation, and advocacy work has moved to the center of the national conversation, and even become law. From debt free college to getting money out of politics to expanding voting rights, our policy recommendations and advocacy have become reality. We don’t just develop policy papers with big ideas—we put them into action. Individually and as coalition partners, we’ve beat back anti-voter laws in multiple states, expanded access to the ballot for formerly incarcerated Americans, and protected the National Voter Registration Act.

The Director of Democracy will be an innovative leader, excellent manager, and brilliant Democracy strategist motivated to lead Demos’ Democracy team, an amalgamation of the organization’s nationally recognized efforts in policy development, legal strategies, litigation, and advocacy. Reporting to the Chief of Programs, the Director of Democracy will have a well-developed understanding of the progressive and racial justice movements and policy landscapes, bringing fresh strategy ideas to further Demos’ goals. Working in concert with the Director of Movement Building, the Director of Democracy will bring a movement-building lens to the Democracy team, ensuring that all of Demos’ partners remain committed to the racial equity lens and the racial justice principles that Demos centers in every facet of their work.

Success in this role will require someone who is:

  • A resourceful leader able to articulate and communicate a clear and compelling vision for the advocacy, legal strategies, litigation, and policy development goals of the organization in a manner that galvanizes the new Democracy team; and
  • An exceptional relationship builder, increasing rapport, trust, and transparency across a diverse and growing community of robust, passionate, and talented stakeholders, including staff, funders and supporters, and racial justice movement partners.


The Director of Democracy will assume leadership of the newly restructured Democracy team, a product of Demos’ strategic pivot to an issue-based team structure that draws on the organization’s collective strength to drive positive outcomes for Black and brown communities. The Director of Democracy will have the opportunity to:

Implement a Strategy for the Democracy Team

The Director of Democracy will lead the development and strategy execution of the Democracy team. Utilizing their expertise in advocacy efforts, litigation, and/or policy development, the successful Director will model the cross-team issue-focused approach that Demos has adopted as a result of their strategic planning efforts. Strategy development will include an emphasis on maintaining and growing the fundraising pipeline that supports the work of the team, and Demos as a whole.

  • Develop and drive a comprehensive Democracy program strategy based on Demos’ strategic priorities;
  • Identify and assess emerging Democracy policy and research, legal, and advocacy gaps in the field and potential innovations and opportunities for Demos to provide value to the movement;
  • Co-create and implement the overall execution of all Democracy team projects and publications, including major reports, advocacy briefs, government testimony, regulatory comments, legal strategies, amicus briefs, litigation, data analysis, infographics, and other visuals; coordinating research content and report releases with movement building, economic justice, and strategic communications functions; and
  • Incorporate foundation relations and support the cultivation of new funding opportunities in support of the Democracy team’s portfolio.

Leadership on Racial Equity and Racial Justice

The Director of Democracy will take an active leadership role in Demos’ racial equity work, possessing a sophisticated understanding of how structural racism, white supremacy, and anti-Blackness influence supervisory relationships, organizational culture, partnership development and stewardship, campaigns, and coalition work. Utilizing their knowledge of the impact of systemic racism on present-day systems, the Director will advance racial equity goals through legal strategies that seek to address the myriad legal and policy-based roadblocks that hamper racial justice efforts across the country. Internally, the Director will model Demos’ culture of respect, shared responsibility, and consistent feedback, seeking to deepen our racial justice approach across the organization, and within their team, and ensure it is deeply embedded in our partnerships and campaigns.

  • Bring a racial equity lens and analysis of structural racism to all of Demos’ democracy strategy work and initiatives;
  • Center racial justice with partners, coalitions, campaigns, and across Demos; conducting racial equity interventions where appropriate; and
  • Leverage Demos’ influence to speak to the entrenched nature of white supremacist culture and the many ways it impedes progress for Black and brown communities.

Relationship Building and Partnership Development

The Director of Democracy will be an excellent relationship builder, maintaining strong, transformative relationships both within and outside the organization. The successful candidate will be comfortable working across lines of difference, including race, gender, and class, among other dimensions of identity. The Director will be effective at surfacing shared values of individuals, groups, and communities, leveraging that understanding to forge (where possible) investment and consensus. In partnership with the Director of Movement Building, the Director of Democracy will craft an integrated policy approach that supports the Movement Building team, strategically deploying policy development research, and legal strategies in conjunction with a co-created communications plan to augment Demos’ coalition building and partnership development efforts.

  • Build and maintain meaningful relationships with external partners and allies, including racial justice movement organizations, legal organizations, progressive organizations engaged in democracy work, academics, and policymakers;
  • Lead on coalition building with other organizations and advocates at the local, state, and national levels and with researchers, attorneys, and others in carrying out Demos’ goals; and
  • Navigate the terrain of Demos being a non-partisan and credible think-tank while advancing strong progressive values and policies that center the efforts of our grassroots partners and like-minded advocates.

Strong People Leader Committed to Collaborative Leadership

The Director of Democracy will support the development of, and provide day-to-day leadership to, a high-impact team of professionals. They will be responsible for the overall effectiveness of the Democracy team, including overseeing team work plans, systems, and processes that drive toward organizational goals. The Director will lead in establishing mentorship and professional development plans that develop each team member's strengths and provide structured opportunities for professional growth. The Director will be focused on delivering results and reframing challenges as opportunities for team and organizational growth. They will periodically manage consultants, including the scope of work arrangements and oversight of agreed deliverables.

  • Ensure direct reports managing staff have the skills, tools, support, input, and feedback they need to lead high-impact teams effectively;
  • In partnership with the Chief of Programs, support recruiting, hiring, assessing, and supervising Democracy Team staff; and
  • Supervise staff and lead teams during gaps in team leadership positions, as needed.


The ideal candidate will be first and foremost committed to Demos’ mission and the visionary evolution of the organization. They will be a distinguished leader in centering racial equity and racial justice principles at the core of their team leadership, have exposure to promising practices concerning organizational development, and be a successful people-developer grounded in an asset-based approach.

While no one person will embody all the qualities enumerated below, the most competitive candidate will possess several of the following professional and personal abilities, attributes, and experiences:

  • A Juris Doctor (JD) degree with an active license to practice is strongly preferred; experience managing a Democracy team that included litigation work is also strongly preferred.
  • Lived experience that promotes knowledge of and sensitivity to the challenges vulnerable communities face, including an appreciation for historical context, discernment of relationship nuances and power dynamics, and understanding of social, racial, and ethnic realities.
  • Highly developed emotional intelligence and active listening skills, and the ability to use interpersonal and relational skills in ways that facilitate strong collaboration with both internal and external partners.
  • Successful experience leading a multidisciplinary team and working effectively with persons from diverse cultural, social, and ethnic backgrounds. Experience managing or leading a team build or reorganization process that centered equity and the experiences of team members and colleagues in a wholistic manner.
  • Demonstrated success in crafting and implementing a strategy for a Democracy team, either at a think tank, advocacy organization, in government, or on political campaigns, or experience leading and/or participating in litigation efforts in defense of Black and brown communities. This includes deep expertise within a democracy policy area: voting rights access, court reform, money in politics, campaign finance reform, or similar.
  • Excellent writing, editing, analytical, and oral communication skills, including the ability to collect, review, synthesize, and present information and findings tailored to myriad audiences.
  • Ability to multitask and meet deadlines within designated timeframes and demonstrate resourcefulness in setting priorities; strong organizational skills and exceptional attention to detail with the ability to work both independently, take initiative and contribute ideas for enhancing performance.
  • Exemplary public communication skills and experience serving as a spokesperson at national and regional convenings as a panelist or speaker.
  • A hands-on strategic leader who brings empathy and humility when building and maintaining relationships with new and existing funding partners and with leaders and power builders in the field.
  • An optimistic outlook and the humor, integrity, kindness, and patience necessary to work within a transformative environment.

Additionally, candidates need to bring a strong commitment to excellence and an ability to work in an evolving environment.


Work Location:  Demos staff are currently working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Demos will adopt a hybrid, remote-first work model once it reopens offices in New York City and Washington D.C. Candidates based in any continental U.S. location with ability to travel are encouraged to apply.

Salary and Benefits:  The salary range for this position is $155,000 - $165,000. For purposes of internal equity, Demos will not negotiate salaries outside of this posted range. Demos has a generous benefits package, which includes health insurance, dental and vision insurance, 11 paid holidays, 18 vacation days per year, 5 floating holidays per year, 12 sick days per year, paid time off the last week of August and Dec. 24 – through the first week of January, and a voluntary 403b plan.


For more information about Demos, please visit:

This search is being led by Julian Jackson, Alejandra Villa, and Robert Diggs of NPAG. Candidates may submit their cover letter outlining their interest and qualifications, along with their resume, via NPAG’s website.

Demos is an Equal Opportunity Employer--people of color, people with disabilities, women, and LGBTQ candidates are strongly encouraged to apply. We are committed to a diverse workplace, and to supporting our staff with ongoing career development opportunities.

Get job alerts

Create a job alert and receive personalized job recommendations straight to your inbox.

Create alert