We’re Hiring a TCTAC Co-Director
Position: Co-Director, Environmental Justice Technical Assistance Center
Location: Hybrid – Portland preferred; other Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Idaho locations negotiable
Opening: April 27, 2023
Closing: Open until filled. Application review begins May 22, 2023.
About the Position
We are hiring someone to work alongside WP’s Lynny Brown and a to-be-hired person at PSU’s Institute for Tribal Government as a Co-Director of the emerging Environmental Justice Thriving Communities Technical Assistance Center (TCTAC). This five-year program, funded through the EPA, is a regional collaborative that will provide technical assistance to EJ communities throughout Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Alaska. Working alongside our core partners and selected subcontractors, we’ll work directly with these communities to help them seek funding and implement solutions for environmental justice projects.
The TCTAC is all about building and strengthening community capacity, especially the capacity for environmental justice leaders and community-based organizations to:
- Engage diverse communities across our region, including those in remote and rural areas;
- Ensure decision making spaces are accessible by addressing the history and culture of decision making spaces and allowing more access for community members to meaningful engage and lead;
- Support communities in identifying environmental justice needs & priorities, and turning those priorities into action;
- Help the communities that need it most to access federal, state, and private funding; and
- Strengthen and sustain networks and partners
Co-Director Hiring Webinar
Check out the TCTAC Co-Director Hiring Webinar. Willamette Partnership staff and PSU’s Direlle Calica discuss this opportunity and answer participant questions. Check out the Q&A below.
If this sounds like a lot…we know. That’s why we’ve designed the TCTAC to incorporate collaborative processes, strong partnerships, a shared leadership model, and community-centered values for the duration of the project.
Hiring Webinar Q&A
Are there past models or frameworks for the Environmental Justice Centers, or is it a brand new concept?
Communities—in particular Indigenous and tribal communities around the world—have been leading and working in the environmental justice field for decades, but this particular TCTAC model of environmental justice centers is a brand new EPA program.
Where are decisions made within the TCTAC? What decisions does Willamette Partnership/PSU have vs. what decisions does Willamette Partnership/PSU need to defer to the EPA?
Great question! One of the first things our team will be working on once we’ve hired the other two Co-Directors is how to share decision-making power among our team and organizations, and it will be something we co-create with those two new hires. With regards to the EPA, our application was very detailed in how we plan to operate the TCTAC, so we expect that model to run independently with the EPA’s blessing. There are definitely some aspects of this that we’ll need to figure out along the way, too. To learn more about EPA’s framing of TCTACs within larger environmental justice investments, watch their Environmental and Climate Justice Communities Grant Programs.
Are you willing to substitute education for part of the required earned/lived experience?
It’s not a dealbreaker! We’re open to diverse and alternative experiences, so please address those experiences and how they’ve helped you gain the skills necessary for the job in your application materials. With that said, this isn’t an entry-level position, as the Co-Director will need to take on some serious responsibilities and juggle complex problems over the course of this five-year program.
Has the center already defined what success looks like over time (vision but also metrics) or is determining that part of this role?
We have! Our accepted proposal to the EPA included several metrics we hope to achieve in the next five years, and we’ll share that with selected candidates.
Is there an ideal timeline for when this position would begin?
We’ll begin reviewing applications on May 22nd and hope to move the interview process forward pretty quickly after that. We anticipate two rounds of interviews in June and are hoping to extend an offer sometime mid- to late June. We understand that folks need time to transition out of old jobs (and may want to take some time off in between them), but we’re hopeful we can have someone joining the team in July or early August.
Since Lynny will be one of the co-directors and the goal is to build a team of three co-directors who will balance each other out - can Lynny talk a bit about her leadership style and any additional skills that would create that balance?
Lynny here – thanks for the question! I believe in a shared leadership approach, which involves sharing power, responsibility, and decision-making among co-directors (and partners) for a more inclusive and equitable center. I try to bring an optimistic and collaborative spirit to leadership by celebrating strengths, honest communication, and relationship building. A successful applicant can lead in lots of different ways but should value shared leadership and be willing to co-create that vision together.
Some complementary project skills could include research design, program evaluation, data visualization, storytelling, and the ability to speak another language.
Do you anticipate any other positions (such as part-time consultants) in addition to this full-time position?
We don’t anticipate any other direct hires to WP at this time, though some of our partners on the TCTAC may be hiring for positions. For example, PSU will be hiring another co-director soon. We also anticipate hiring contractors during the course of the project (such as website design or energy justice consulting). If you sign up for our TCTAC updates, we’ll keep you in the loop!
The job description mentions some specific skills (for example, data visualization, storytelling) that are of special interest because of the co-director model. Are you able to speak to that?
We’re really looking for someone who can complement our current skill set and bring new skills and talents to the team. We don’t currently have staff who are dedicated to data visualization, measuring and reporting outcomes, or storytelling (among a myriad of other things!), but these are a few key elements that the TCTAC will need to be successful, which is why they’re highlighted in the posting.
Will the Institute for Tribal Governments also be posting for a co-director role?
Yes! We’ll share that link on the WP website as soon as it’s up, so be sure to sign up for our mailing list if you’d like to know once it’s posted.
What kind of training and onboarding can I expect if selected for this role?
WP has put a lot of work into our training and onboarding process over the last couple of years, and we’ve got a supportive process that includes:
- A custom 30-60-90 day plan to help structure your first few months at WP;
- Specific trainings for our internal software systems, including Asana and Slack;
- Required HR trainings for all employees;
- A newly revised employee handbook;
- An internal knowledge base;
- 1:1 support from your supervisor and peer supports through program and project team meetings;
- Annual goal-setting and review meetings;
Because this position will be working closely with external partners, there will also be plenty of intentional time dedicated to building relationships across organizations, planning program-level strategies, and developing personal development and program goals.
You mentioned there is 5 years of funding right now — does this role sunset after the 5 years?
The EPA funding that’s being used to create the TCTAC ends after five years, but we’ve got a braided funding structure that means employees often move between projects and funding. We’re hoping that whomever joins the team will want to stay on with us and continue doing similar work but under other funding opportunities.
How are the co-directors' responsibilities unique from one another? And where do they overlap?
That’s a great question, and it’s something we’re still trying to figure out. Because we’ve designed a shared leadership model between three Co-Directors, it will really depend on who we hire for the remaining two Co-Director positions and what specific skills, talents, and passions they bring to the work.
How has Willamette Partnership generated good collaborative relationships in your other projects? Thinking about how to keep folks happy, collaborative, and generating work.
Our collaborative leadership model guides how Willamette Partnership helps our partners move from shared intention to joint action. We use this model to help people solve problems in a way that builds community, whether we’re helping communities build a green schoolyard, plan for climate change in a coastal community, or protect their drinking water. Learn more about our collaborative model here.
Does the team have a preference for candidates with a background in *advocacy* coalitions versus *community engagement* coalitions?
What is the work-life balance at Willamette Partnerships? Are expectations to work 40 hrs/week or work extended hours to meet the organization's needs? What are the hours/days that the team typically works?
We pride ourselves on a healthy work/life balance and actively discourage employees from working more than 40 hours/week. Sometimes it will inevitably happen (ex. extended travel days), but employees are encouraged to flex time to recover if they’ve had to work long hours in a pay period. We’ve all got families and needs outside of work, so we also encourage employees to flex time during the week if they need to step away for a couple of hours for errands, appointments, child pick-ups, etc. We typically work Monday through Friday, 8:00-ish to 5:00-ish.
You shared the need for project management; who are the “doers” in these projects? How much is the director executing on tasks vs. coordinating/facilitating/overseeing?
We’re usually more in the “manager” position on projects than the “doer” position, but there’s still a lot of doing to be had in the facilitation/TA providing/writing/scheduling/coordinating/meeting world! The TCTAC is designed as a TA center to help communities “do”, so it will likely be light on implementation work, but heavy on supporting communities and leaders who are doing the implementation work.
What kind of travel can be expected and for what kind of events?
Since the region for the TCTAC includes all of Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Idaho, we’re anticipating a significant amount of regional travel for this position (~6 weeks/year), along with regular day trips to nearby communities. These may include:
- Annual summits with our Community Advisory Board;
- Statewide meetings with community organizers and leaders in each state;
- Visits to project sites;
It’s also likely that there will be some meetings in Washington, D.C. with national EPA staff over the five years.
What is your COLA/raise policy?
WP regularly gathers and evaluates compensation data comparable to our organization. We consider market and economic fluctuations and try to keep our salary ranges within a range that is competitive with other organizations in our industry and region. We also strive to be transparent with all staff as to how salaries and overall compensation increases are determined and administered within the organization. Willamette Partnership strictly adheres to the Oregon Equal Pay Act.
What is your policy regarding family coverage for medical and dental, including for unmarried domestic partners? (ie. my company pays 100% for employees, and I think 60-80% for family members?)
Willamette Partnership offers group medical/vision, dental, life/disability, flex spending, and group retirement plans. Medical (Kaiser Permanente) and Dental (Guardian) plans are covered at 90% by WP for both Employee and all dependents (spouse, domestic partner, children) with a 10% contribution by Employees. Life and disability is covered at 100% by WP. The company contributes up to a max of 4% on our 401K plan.
Is there wiggle room for this position to be compensated higher since there is so much travel involved, and that typically means very long days, and the need to hire help for those with families?
Travel associated with this position is comparable in time commitment to other WP program positions, although it is more likely to be regional- rather than state-level travel. As a result, WP’s existing salary structure is designed to accommodate this level of travel. We also offer a work environment that recognizes the needs and schedules of a whole human. We understand that personal and family obligations will require you to adjust your schedule from time to time and we try to accommodate those needs as much as possible while still meeting the needs of the communities we serve.