Unify America

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Deliberations Project Associate

  • Customer & Community
  • Full-time
  • Chicago, IL
  • Remote friendly

2022-09-15 15:49:46 UTC

is seeking a Deliberations Project Associate

What is Unify America?

Unify America is a nonpartisan nonprofit on a mission to replace political fighting with problem solving. We are seeking a Deliberation Projects Associate who will join our Deliberations team to operationalize our deliberative democracy model, help us advance our mission to find solutions to our nation’s ills, and save our democracy.

Saving democracy? Seriously?

Reasonable question. We’ll get to that. Our ideal candidate has strong communication skills, attention to detail and organization, and experience working with teams and independently on their parts of a project to meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment. The candidate must be passionate about bringing Americans together across divides. Having experience with dialogue, deliberation, and/or community engagement will be an asset in this position. This remote position will involve occasional travel to support our projects.   

Let’s get back to the saving democracy part.

Think Americans are hopelessly divided? We are on the way to proving that the vast majority of Americans (over 90%) share many of the same goals for the country. If that sounds crazy, then let us give you an example: we demonize each other over gun control legislation, but gun control isn’t the goal, it’s a tactic. Reducing violence is the goal, and most of us want that. We don’t realize that for most political issues we’re just arguing about tactics or even less productively, political personalities.

Our long term quest is ambitious: bringing together thousands (and someday millions) of Americans to replace political fighting with problem solving.  In other words, to jettison the idea that we can solve our problems through partisan arguments and show that there is a better approach: to deliberate through many possible solutions with our fellow citizens to achieve a goal nearly everyone shares. 

To that end, we are building a model for members of a community to come together to learn about and decide how to solve a difficult problem.  This process is sometimes called a “citizen jury” or “citizen assembly” and many places have used them around the world.  Our plan is to tackle broad, difficult problems through deliberation, bringing in far more citizens than any model has done before. We will be working with jurisdictions, starting small and growing rapidly, to create an expansive, participatory model of deliberative democracy.

That’s where you come in.

Sounds great. Tell me more about the role.

You’ll be working as a member of our deliberation team to research, design, test, and implement our collaborative model for deliberative democracy. Here is where we are looking for your talent and insight:

  • To work with the VP of Deliberation and Director of Deliberation Research to shape and implement our model of deliberative democracy. 

  • To research a variety of topics related to deliberative democracy, community organizing, and public issues. 

  • To connect with communities and government leaders who are partnering with us for deliberations. 

  • To work on the ground with members of Unify America as we partner with communities to hold deliberations. Some travel will be required for this role.

Are there specific qualifications?

Yes. Above all, we are looking for someone who is passionate about democracy and ready to join our collaborative and energetic team. Before we list out our qualifications, we want to stress that if you don’t meet every item, that doesn’t mean you aren’t the right fit for this role. We want to hear about the ways your experiences make you a great candidate. 

As we think about this role, we’re looking for someone who: 

  • is excited to tackle thorny, entrenched public issues through public deliberation. It’d be great if you had experience with researching, facilitating, or participating in deliberations. You might also have experience running community meetings, been involved with civic engagement efforts, worked in government or community affairs, or have experience with participatory budgeting. Be sure to tell us about your commitment to democracy and why you’re interested in renewing democracy through deliberation.

  • is a strong writer and communicator. This role will involve communicating with the Deliberation team, with others teams in Unify America, and with external partners and community stakeholders. The voice of our organization is inclusive, fun, welcoming, intelligent, and seriously dedicated to our mission. You need to be able to embody that when you write, speak, and represent Unify America. (And yes, we are going to be looking closely at your cover letter to judge this skill - so please give us your best effort there!)

  • loves research and data. We draw on academic research, journalism, and popular media and use data-driven strategies to hone our deliberative process design. The Deliberation team loves to nerd out over pragmatic methods in deliberative democracy, whether it’s building an issue-based deliberative experience or applying cutting edge research on citizens’ juries and citizens’ assemblies to our model. 

  • is organized with strong time management skills. Typical week? Not so much! We’ll be launching pilots of our deliberation projects in the coming months, and so you’ll have a wide range of tasks to work on. You’ll need to stay organized and manage your time across those tasks as we create, experiment, learn, and adapt to create an exceptional experience for deliberation.

  • can take initiative and follow through.  You’re going to need to make stuff happen without a lot of management. Collaboration, yes! Managerial oversight, not so much. No time for that. You need to be comfortable working toward goals independently, asking for help when you need it, and keeping others updated on what you’re getting done. 

  • brings their flexibility and a good sense of humor to saving democracy - it’s kind of what we’re all about.

  • has a commitment to “big tent” diversity and belonging. To save democracy, we need all of us. Deliberation creates space for everyone to participate, so you’ll need to think creatively and find ways to connect across divides.

  • welcomes and can give feedback. Our mantra is “Be Honest & Be Kind Simultaneously.”  You need to have the confidence and grace to be able to give feedback effectively and be able to take direct (but kindly worded) feedback constructively...and grow from it.

  • is relentless and innovative about solving problems. We’re looking for someone who is positive and can figure out how to get to YES.

  • is capable of, and willing to commit to embracing radical non-partisanship. Warmly welcoming all community members (no matter who they voted for) is central to our mission. You will interact with a lot of people - and you need to be deeply committed to being respectful to people with whom you may disagree on important topics.

I’m interested. How do I apply?

Great! Write us a cover letter that includes your salary expectations. Give us three reasons why you’d be great for the job. We want to include a variety of ideologies on our team -- so, if you like, tell us about your view of the world -- (Liberal? Conservative? Independent? Something else entirely?). Most importantly, be yourself (yes really!). Also, upload your resume. 


Remote restrictions

  • Must be a resident of United States