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Manager of Public Policy and Advocacy


About WESTAF

Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, WESTAF (Western States Arts Federation) is a nonprofit organization that weaves together technology, thought leadership, and innovation to energize, network, and fund public sector arts agencies and communities. One of six regional arts organizations in the U.S., WESTAF provides advocacy, policy, arts programming, and professional development services to the arts agencies in its 13-state region. WESTAF has taken an entrepreneurial approach to the needs of the field by developing web services for the arts, culture, and the creative economy and serves arts organizations and artists in every state. The income generated from its web services enables WESTAF to elevate the arts and culture field through a number of initiatives.

Summary of Position

The Manager of Public Policy and Advocacy will collaborate with the Director of Impact and Public Policy to lead the organization’s efforts to strengthen advocacy for the arts at local, state, and national levels, support state arts agencies across 13 states in the West, and facilitate regional and national dialogue on contemporary policy issues that affect the arts. These efforts include conducting arts policy research, delivering professional development programs for state arts agency staff, supporting the work of arts advocates, and convening thought leaders in the field. The Alliances, Advocacy, and Policy (AAP) division connects, coordinates, and mobilizes a western network of artists, administrators, public officials, and influencers within and outside the arts field to build awareness of arts-related issues to drive legislation and policy. This critical role will aid in the advancement of WESTAF’s objectives for state services and advocacy, national services and advocacy, and thought leadership and reach as described in its 10-year vision and strategic plan [1] by providing management support and strategic input for new and existing programs for various constituencies. The manager will have a solid foundation in advocacy, public policy, and/or external relations and serve as an important liaison with WESTAF’s external partners in the field of arts and culture and beyond.

The Manager of Public Policy and Advocacy manages WESTAF’s advocacy funding programs, advocacy and public policy convenings, and advisory opinion services for international guest artists, and provides high-level organizational, research, and logistical support on special projects of the department. 

Essential Functions

Program Management

  • Provides high-level administrative support for programs and initiatives under the Director of Impact and Public Policy, including support with agenda formulation, drafting notes and minutes of network meetings, meeting scheduling, desk research, and correspondence with state partners
  • Edits and contributes original content to reports, briefings, presentations, and correspondence associated with WESTAF’s AAP programs, services, and initiatives 
  • Serves as an editor of proceedings and session reports that arise from WESTAF convenings
  • Manages advocacy funding programs including the general calendar and programmatic workflow, awards, routine correspondence with grantees, final reporting, and record keeping
  • Manages advocacy/lobbyist contracts, payments and invoicing  
  • Manages WESTAF’s reporting of lobbying activities to federal and state agencies
  • Handles artist advisory opinion letters, visa consultation letters, and no objection letters.

Convenings and Event Management

  • Organizes and updates all meeting-related information in spreadsheets/master matrixes and through project management systems
  • Maintains the annual calendar of meetings and events
  • Drafts clear, detailed communications for participants (and speakers, when applicable) regarding logistics, travel information and required materials. Develops a cadence of communication to inform of updates, deadlines, and changes; responds promptly to all communications and resolves travel issues or emergencies for travelers; exhibits strong follow-through

Logistics, Project Management, and Process Improvement

  • Leads and manages projects from inception to conclusion, developing a project plan with goals, end results, tasks, timelines, and metrics with guidance from the Director of Impact and Public Policy. Projects include convenings, research and consulting projects, advocacy grantmaking programs, and other special projects that arise.
  • Understands the internal stakeholders for each project and gathers input from these stakeholders; provides detailed follow-up and follow-through with project goals
  • Develops and executes plans for each project; presents plans to the internal stakeholders for each project
  • Investigates solutions and asks questions to clarify potential pitfalls in a project plan to assess gaps in the plan; makes sound, informed decisions on how best to address gaps
  • Contributes to the setting of departmental goals particularly for initiatives where the manager has primary responsibility for day-to-day management
  • Provides department with potential solutions to issues, challenges, and unforeseen problems

Competencies

  • Strong writing, editing, proofreading, and research skills are essential
  • Excellent attention to detail in all areas; outstanding organizational skills
  • Exceptional written and verbal communication skills
  • Demonstrated skills, knowledge, and experience in the writing, design, and execution of publications
  • Ability to multitask and manage multiple projects while meeting deadlines 
  • Must be able to investigate solutions and ask questions to clarify potential pitfalls in a project plan to assess gaps in the plan and make informed decisions on how best to address the gaps
  • Strong ability to work independently on solo projects and with little support, but also collaboratively as a team member
  • Ability to manage rapidly-shifting priorities and think on their feet
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Knowledge of advocacy, public policy, and/or external relations 

  1. https://www.westaf.org/westaf/strategy/

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