Government Affairs Associate

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Chicago, IL, United States

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30+ days ago

The National Audubon Society is a nonprofit conservation organization that protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow. We work throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state, regional, national, and international programs, nature centers, and chapters have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire, and unite diverse communities in conservation action. As a sentinel species, we recognize that the fate of birds is inextricably tied to the fate of us all.

Audubon has more than 700 staff working across the United States and seven countries in 17 state and regional offices, 41 nature centers, and 23 wildlife sanctuaries. Together as one Audubon, we aspire to alter the course of climate change and habitat loss, leading to healthier bird populations and reversing current trends in biodiversity loss.

Audubon is committed to a culture of workplace excellence, where our talented and diverse staff are deeply engaged, with a strong sense of belonging. The birds Audubon pledges to protect differ in color, size, behavior, geographical preference, and countless other ways. By honoring and celebrating the equally remarkable diversity of the human species, Audubon will bring new creativity, effectiveness, and leadership to our work throughout the hemisphere.
Position Summary:

Reporting to the Senior Policy Director at Audubon Great Lakes, the Government Affairs Associate will help implement Audubon’s bipartisan policy agenda across the region’s five states (Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin). Audubon’s conservation policy priorities are guided by the vision and goals laid out in its current strategic plan and developed in collaboration with the leaders of its Climate, Coasts, Water, Working Lands and Bird-Friendly Communities conservation teams. The Associate will work closely with Audubon Great Lakes engagement, policy, conservation and communications staff to implement strategies to educate and mobilize the Audubon network around local, state, tribal and national policy priorities in targeted geographies across the Great Lakes region.

Under the guidance of the Audubon Great Lakes Senior Policy Director, the Government Affairs Associate will be seen as a collaborative partner inside the organization as well as an effective ambassador that interacts with key stakeholders, including elected official offices and committees, state and federal agencies, and partner organizations. The Associate will support the Audubon Great Lakes policy team by coordinating and tracking activity with federal and state legislators, preparing the Audubon membership for meetings with legislators, and providing research and analysis. The Associate is responsible for being engaged with policy and legislative developments related to Audubon’s agenda and working closely with communications staff to develop effective messaging materials for decision makers.

This is a full-time grant‐funded position, based in the Great Lakes region (WI, IL, IN, MI, OH), preferably Chicago.

Essential Functions:
  • Develop strong, bipartisan relationships with elected officials and their senior staff, committee staff, and relevant state or federal agencies, in order to clearly communicate Audubon’s conservation priorities as well as negotiate and influence pragmatic policy outcomes.
  • Support the implementation of strategies that advance Audubon’s state and federal conservation policy agenda in assigned areas.
  • Engage with Audubon’s conservation strategies teams, including Climate, Coasts, Water, Working Lands and Bird-Friendly Communities, to remain aware of federal policy priorities.
  • Monitor legislative developments for key committees and relevant agency actions and provide timely updates and strategic and tactical recommendations related to this activity.
  • Collaborate with Audubon Great Lakes policy, engagement, conservation and communications staff and chapter members to develop strong relationships with key members of congress through coordinated in-district and D.C. advocacy.
  • Facilitate coordination between Audubon Great Lakes as well as National staff to promote collaboration and effective communication.
  • Collaboratively work with other Audubon departments, particularly Campaigns, Communications, Development, Marketing, Network, and state offices, to advance the organization’s strategic goals.
  • Represent Audubon with issue-based coalitions, environmental and conservation organizations, and nontraditional partners; contribute to collaborative, coalition-based policy efforts to advance shared interests; and identify and recruit strategic allies to support Audubon’s agenda.
  • Aid in the development of high-quality analysis, briefing documents, fact sheets, position papers, testimony and other materials necessary to support Audubon’s policy priorities.
  • Prepare and distribute periodic federal government relations updates for internal audiences, and maintain an in-house legislative targeting and tracking system.
  • Coordinate meetings and engagement opportunities with state and federal lawmakers.
  • Other duties as assigned.
Qualifications and Experience:
  • Bachelor’s degree and 3+ years of professional experience, including a legislative background in state or federal government. An equivalent combination of education and experience will also be considered.
  • Thorough understanding of the political and legislative landscape at the federal level and ability to learn the political landscape across multiple states and municipalities.
  • Team builder with a record of working collaboratively with both Democrats and Republicans on state and federal policy, preferred.
  • Proven record engaging and activating diverse coalitions to successfully advance policy outcomes.
  • A self-starter with demonstrated ability to work independently and effectively manage a complex workflow within an organization with a decentralized network.
  • Experience with legislative and/or political campaigns desired.
  • Technically savvy including proficiency with Microsoft Office. Experience with a tracking database software desired.
  • Interest in conservation issues and passion for Audubon’s mission, programs and policy agenda.
  • Exceptional judgement and tact with a commitment to impeccable integrity and strong work ethic.
  • Problem solver who is eager to pro-actively contribute to a growing policy team across a diverse network.
  • Highly organized with the ability to track developments across multiple priorities simultaneously.
  • Desire to build diverse coalitions and further Audubon’s commitment to Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Belonging.
  • Personal desire to build durable bipartisan public will for conservation issues, work with diverse stakeholders, and engage both Democrats and Republicans on Audubon’s policy interests.
  • An active listener with excellent and persuasive communications skills.
  • Desire to be part of and contribute to a team effort and possess a willingness to accept occasional setbacks with an eye on the next opportunity to drive success.
This position is a union eligible position and is represented by the Communications Workers of America (CWA).
EEO Statement:
The National Audubon Society is a federal contractor and an Equal Opportunity Employer (EOE). All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. We are committed to a policy of nondiscrimination, inclusion and equal opportunity and actively seek a diverse pool of candidates in this search.
Accessibility Statement:
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COVID Policy:
All new hires must be fully vaccinated prior to their start of employment unless they are pre-qualified by HR for exemption.