Policy Director at Access

Access is seeking a Policy Director to manage a broad portfolio with responsibility for Access’ policy initiatives and strategic partnerships.  The position is a senior management position, with multiple staff across the world, reporting to the Executive Director.

About Access:

Access (AccessNow.org) is a growing organization dedicated to defending and extending the digital rights of users at risk around the world.  Our policy work centers on five focus areas: privacy, digital security, freedom of expression, network interference, and business and human rights.  Our policy, advocacy, and technology teams have staff presences in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East/North Africa, Central Africa, North America, and Southeast Asia, to provide global support to our mission.

About the Role:

As Policy Director, you’ll be managing a talented and dynamic team of advocates, lawyers, policy analysts, and wonks who are spread across four continents.  Your job as their direct supervisor is to help guide their work and clear away obstacles from their path.  On a day-to-day basis, this means that you may play the role of a strategist, an editor, a traffic cop, a mediator, a mentor, an advisor, an enforcer, an advocate, and/or a fundraiser.

At the same time, you’ll be directly interfacing with the other arms of the organization, and have to have the advocacy and tech knowledge to identify and manage synergies with these teams.

The responsibilities of this position include:

  • Identify and develop key strategic global policy initiatives that will further Access’ mission to defend and extend the digital rights of users at risk;
  • Supervising Access’ Policy Team, including working with the staff to craft organizational positions, providing strategic vision and guidance, and facilitating cross-team coordination;
  • Managing a budget of more than $1 million, and conducting regular evaluations to ensure Access is achieving desired outcomes in each of the Policy Team’s focus areas;
  • Assisting in the design, coordination, and programming of Access’ RightsCon conference series, landmark events in the digital rights space focused on the intersection of human rights and the technology sector;
  • Identifying opportunities and helping to develop and execute campaign topics and strategy to Access’ global community of hundreds of thousands of users in more than 190 countries;
  • Serving as senior advisor to the Executive Director on issues including policy positioning and direction, staff management and growth, organizational capacity building and structure, fundraising, and diversity;
  • Overseeing the production of all policy-related content, ensuring that all blog posts, briefs, position papers, and other written documents are completed in a timely manner and are in line with Access’ policy positions;
  • Serving on the senior management team, including working with the organization’s other directors to shape Access’ strategic direction;
  • Identifying and cultivating potential sources of financial support, including drafting funding proposals;
  • Developing, supporting, and representing Access in global partnerships and coalitions;
  • Responding to queries from the media, the public, and colleagues in the digital rights community and taking initiative to promote Access’ views in public discussion; and 
  • Regularly representing Access, at public events and conferences, and before relevant corporate, governmental, and other policymaking bodies as necessary.

The Policy Director works closely with the Advocacy, Technology, and Operations Directors and other members of the Senior Management Team, with guidance and oversight from the Executive Director, to deliver on these responsibilities.  The role has nine direct reports in five time zones, including full-time and independently contracted staff.  The position reports directly to the Executive Director and is a member of the senior management team.

About You:

You’re a wonk at heart, and a geek by nature.  You have a passion for human rights and an instinctive knack for identifying and developing the policies, strategies, and partnerships needed to protect the internet and those who use it, and the global experience and outlook to do it right.

You have strong management experience and the proven ability to lead a small but growing global team.  Ideally you have worked with remote staff before, and have a passion for systems, processes and coordination.  You’ve also spent time walking the halls of parliament or a protest line.  You know the difference between when to name and shame and when to play the inside game, whether you’re in D.C. or New Delhi, Brussels or Brasilia.  You can pick up on any and all of Access’ policy initiatives as the need arises, but that’s not a problem for you, because you are a consummate generalist.


  • Minimum of five years of relevant policy experience with progressively increasing levels of responsibility and a demonstrable knowledge of relevant international human rights and technology policy issues;
  • Strong project management skills with an ability to lead and motivate a multi-disciplinary and remote team to meet and prioritize multiple deadlines in a complex and fluid environment;
  • A proven capacity to synthesize complex information in fluid and rapidly changing contexts, and the ability to design policies and interventions to achieve meaningful change outcomes.
  • Excellent spoken, expository, and persuasive writing and editing skills; 
  • Cultural sensitivity and the ability to get on with a wide range of people from around the world;
  • Fluency in at least one language other than English a plus, preferably Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, or German;
  • Ability to travel internationally and domestically;
  • Solid non-technical understanding of security technologies or better; and
  • An advanced degree related to human rights, policy, journalism, law, or other relevant field is a plus.

Job title: Policy Director

Location: One of Access’ offices in Washington, D.C. (USA), New York (USA), San Francisco (USA), Brussels (Belgium), Tunis (Tunisia), San Jose (Costa Rica), or Manila (The Philippines).  Remote location may be considered for the right candidate.

Salary: Competitive salary commensurate with experience

Contract: Full time, permanent

Closing date: Open until filled