The Director of Public Policy and Intergovernmental Relations oversees and advances all ACA public policy and advocacy efforts in alignment with the ACA Strategic Plan. The Director identifies priorities to strategically increase government awareness and support of the counseling community. The Director builds relationships with targeted groups that will support the counseling community, such as with U.S. Federal agencies, U.S. Congressional offices, state legislative and administrative offices, licensure boards, various coalitions, and ACA volunteer committees. In addition, the Director will develop and strengthen relationships with political press, and members to successfully achieve the Association’s public policy and advocacy goals.
The Director will develop and execute on a comprehensive strategy that results in support of the counseling profession in the public policy arena. This position will be responsible for educating and communicating association members regarding public policy and advocacy topics and manage relevant events at the national and state level. The Director will have oversight of the grassroots advocacy platform and strategic measures. This is a director-level position with supervisory responsibility.
Oversee the government affairs team including management of all team members and the department’s budget.
Develop and implement a comprehensive government affairs strategy in support of ACA’s public policy priorities.
Establish a positive, credible and influential presence for ACA within the public policy community, state legislatures, Congress and federal agencies
Develop and maintain relationships with government officials, key legislative offices, and relevant agencies to drive policy efforts.
Manage and direct the work of consultants and other external vendors who support the government affairs team, including contract lobbyists
Oversee the analysis of key legislative and regulatory issues impacting the organization and focus on those issues that advance the counseling profession
Drive legislative initiatives of the association and provide advice and counsel to all levels of management
Prepare policy briefings, hearing testimony, talking points, memoranda for association leadership and membership
Ensure ACA representation in relevant coalitions, association, and stakeholder meetings
Work with other ACA departments and executive leadership to drive strategic public policy initiatives that meet the needs of the membership
Monitor and track proposed federal legislation; lead the analysis of proposed legislative/policy actions, determine their potential impact on ACA, and propose appropriate responses
Anticipate changes in the external legislative, regulatory, policy, and political environments
Actively seek out opportunities to grow ACA’s influence on the policymaking process
Oversee and manage a yearly advocacy fly-in for members
Hold quarterly phone conferences for the Public Policy and Legislation Committee
Develop and implement initiatives and project plans that increase effective engagement and expand advocacy efforts to advance understanding and support (i.e. funding, etc.) of the positive impact of counselors and the counseling profession.
Actively participate in Coalition meetings and maintain strong contacts with government relation’s representatives and other groups on similar issues
Working with Brand and Engagement, manage the development of all written and online government relations materials to educate ACA volunteers about government relations activities. Promote ACA government relations’ successes or opportunities, i.e. distribution channels such as social media or news releases
Research and draft legislative alerts, updates, analyses, position papers, articles for publication, testimony, amicus briefs and training materials.
Provide timely legislative updates to ACA members, including periodic presentations at conferences.
Work with staff to ensure member participation in grassroots advocacy efforts.
Assess the impact of proposed public policy changes on ACA members and develop short and long range policy strategy initiatives that advance the interest of the membership.
Work with other organizations and associations to ensure a coordinated effort for voicing and acting upon ACA positions and issues.
Develop, execute and manage a system to monitor, review and react to legislation and regulations relevant to ACA and its members.
Assign staff to participate in key coalitions.
Plan and direct legislative workshops, training sessions, and presentations for regions, branches and divisions of the American Counseling Association.
Work with ACA organizational units (divisions, regions, branches) to develop, organize and execute successful advocacy programs.
Bachelor’s degree in Public Policy or related field.
At least 10 years of professional work experience in a government relations or government role (Congressional or Federal agency) or nonprofit organization/society.
Experience working with a volunteer, governance driven organization (i.e. professional & individual membership).
Demonstrated knowledge and experience with the legislative process and programs, as well as, with rules and regulations.
Excellent relationship-building, problem solving and negotiation skills and the ability to interpret policy analysis and research.
Excellent communication and interpersonal skills along with the ability to communicate with members at all levels and a variety of audiences.
Strong understanding of both state and federal government.
Excellent judgment and relationship building skills when creating and nurturing important relationships on Capitol Hill and federal agencies.
Demonstrated ability to work under tight deadlines while producing a high quality of work.
Demonstrated strong interpersonal skills, including the ability to operate diplomatically, effectively and collegially with volunteers, colleagues, partner societies, and global federal staff/US Congressional offices.
Exemplary oral and written communications skills with effective creations of presentations and the skills to convey key messages/directives/accomplishments.
Ability to manage multiple projects at one time in a fast-paced environment.
Demonstrated excellent planning and project management skills, with attention to prioritization, execution, deadlines and efficiency.
Ability to develop and effectively manage budgets, billing and the related accounting systems.
Ability to effectively negotiate and manage contracts.
Ability to travel.
ACA is An Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action/Pro Disabled and Veteran Employer
At ACA, Equal Employment Opportunity is our commitment and goal. All qualified candidates will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, national origin, gender, age, religion, disability, sexual orientation, veteran status, marital status or any other protected status designated by federal, state or local law.
About American Counseling Association
The American Counseling Association (ACA) is the world’s largest organization representing professional counselors in various practice settings. Our vision: Every person has access to quality professional counseling to thrive. Our mission: Promote the professional development of counselors, advocate for the profession, and ensure ethical, culturally-inclusive practice. Our values: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion, Integrity, Proactive Leadership, Professional Community & Relationships, Scientific Practice & Knowledge, Social Justice & Empowerment.
All American Counseling Association team members are encouraged, supported, and expected to demonstrate The Way We Work Values: Be Flexible, Be Creative, Be Empowered, Be Inquisitive, Be Collaborative and Be Respectful.