Reporting to the Policy Director at Audubon Great Lakes, the Government Affairs Associate helps to 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. S/he will work closely with Audubon Great Lakes engagement, policy and communications staff to implement strategies to educate and mobilize the Audubon network around local, state and national policy priorities in targeted geographies across the Great Lakes region. Under the guidance of the Audubon Great Lakes Policy Director, s/he is 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 supports the Policy Director by coordinating and tracking activity with federal and state legislators, preparing the Audubon membership for meetings with legislators, and providing research and analysis for the Audubon Great Lakes team. 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.
- 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;
- Assist with implementing 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 and communications staff and chapter members to develop strong relationships with key members of congress through coordinated in-district and D.C. advocacy;
- Collaboratively work with other Audubon departments, particularly Campaigns, Communications, Development, Marketing, Network, and state offices, to advance the organization’s strategic goals;
- Help 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; and
- Prepare and distribute periodic federal government relations updates for internal audiences, and maintain an in-house legislative targeting and tracking system.
Qualifications and Experience
- Bachelor’s degree and 3-5 years of professional experience, including a legislative background in state or federal government. Experience with legislative and/or political campaigns, as well as clean water policy, strongly desired.
- Outstanding political instincts, with a thorough understanding of the political and legislative landscape at the federal level and ability to learn political landscape across multiple states and municipalities.
- Demonstrated experience engaging diverse stakeholders to advance policy issues. Experience working across party lines strongly preferred, but not required.
- An active listener with excellent and persuasive communications skills.
- A self-starter with demonstrated ability to work independently and effectively manage a complex workflow within an organization with a decentralized network.
- Exceptional judgment and tact with a commitment to impeccable integrity and strong work ethic.
- Technically savvy, including proficiency with Microsoft Office. Experience with tracking database software strongly desired.
- Problem solver who is eager to proactively contribute to a growing policy team across a diverse network.
- Desire to be part of and contribute to a team effort, have a sense of humor, and possess a willingness to accept occasional setbacks with an eye on the next opportunity to drive success.
- Interest in conservation issues and passion for Audubon’s mission, programs and policy agenda.
Minimum Education Required