VP Engineering

Democracy Works · Brisbane, CA/Remote

Engineering
Public Service & Civic Engagement
$210000 - $247000 Per Year
Posted 4 weeks ago

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Benefits: Vision, dental, & medical insurance; 403(b) retirement savings plan; generous vacation policy; parental leave; long-term disability; employee assistance program

Level: Senior

Organization Overview

At Democracy Works, we believe voting should fit the way we live. To that end, we build technology for both voters and election administrators that simplifies the process and ensures that no voter should ever have to miss an election.

  • TurboVote is a tool designed to help voters register, request their ballot, and make their voice heard in every election, from local to national. We’ve connected over ten million Americans with TurboVote by building the largest college, nonprofit, and corporate voter engagement coalition in the country, including more than 300 campuses, nonprofits - like Headcount, Color of Change, and the Hispanic Federation--and companies like Starbucks, Univision, Facebook, Google, and Snap. 
  • As the only comprehensive official election dataset, the Voting Information Project (VIP) helps Americans find their polling site and available ballot dropbox locations where they look for it most: online. Across Google products alone, VIP data was viewed nearly 500 million times in 2020. 
  • Released in 2020, How To Vote breaks down all the options each state offers for voting, their voter registration rules, as well as unique circumstances like voting overseas and voting rights restoration for the formerly incarcerated. Across Google products alone, our How to Vote guides were viewed over 2 billion times. 
  • Our tool Ballot Scout brings transparency and accountability to the vote-by-mail process by allowing elections administrators and voters to track every ballot with the same ease as an Amazon package. Ballot Scout helps election administrators track absentee ballots through the mail, providing transparency in the vote-by-mail process and making it easier to follow up when things go awry.
  • Co-founded by Democracy Works and the CAA Foundation, Civic Alliance is a nonpartisan group of businesses working together to build a future where everyone participates in shaping our country. In 2020, membership grew to 1,030 companies with an employee reach of 5,163,938.

Where you fit in 

Democracy Works programs and products touch millions of existing and potential voters each year.  The VP of Engineering will lead our engineering department, ensuring that we have the processes and infrastructure necessary to meet our mission by supporting the diverse team that brings it to life.  Reporting directly to the CEO, the VP of Engineering will both lead their organization, and as a member of the leadership team, contribute to the overall development of Democracy Works’ strategy and operations.

As VP of Engineering, you'll be helping Democracy Works consolidate our explosive growth over the past four years, both in terms of our technology and our team. We’re considering how our datasets and products can best improve the voting experience in the years to come, and how to build a department and engineering team that can sustainably scale alongside our infrastructure in order to get us there. Our technical work will include questions of how to manage massive datasets of election information shared across products, creating services used by some of the largest sites on the Internet (ie Google, Facebook and Snap) that touch millions of users, shipping new features while resolving technical debt and building more sustainably for the future, introducing specialization within our engineering team, and looking for opportunities to make our tools more equitable, cohesive, and measurable to best support our mission.

You will 

  • Develop processes and policies to produce high quality software, serve voters, and deliver on our mission.
  • Develop programs to recruit and retain a diverse engineering team.
  • Build an engineering culture that centers equity, inclusion, and anti-racism.
  • Shape the organization’s technical vision and lead all aspects of technological development.
  • Partner with Product and Program leadership to create effective cross-organizational collaboration for creating and shipping products.
  • Support the Principal Engineer in their decision making around technical matters.
  • Develop a high-trust, voter-centered, mission-oriented engineering team.
  • Directly manage engineering managers, our Principal Engineer, and indirectly manage all engineers to achieve program impact, cultivating and ensuring team performance, engagement, and professional development.
  • Create team structures, roles, and initiate hiring processes as needed, while constantly evaluating team structure and skills for needs around growth, ensuring advancement tracks for both individual contributor and management roles.
  • Lead budgeting and resource decisions for the engineering function.

You are 

  • Leadership and management
    • Has the skills to manage an engineering team and approaches managing people via empathy, team building, and overall staff development.
    • Proven experience managing, communicating, inspiring and leading teams through change.
    • Capable of working with a diverse and distributed team across multiple time zones and building an inclusive team culture.
    • Defines success not just in terms of product releases, but also in creating an environment where people can grow and thrive.

  • Communication 
    • Excellent interpersonal abilities including strong listening, writing and verbal skills.
    • Demonstrates effectiveness in presenting ideas to a variety of internal and external audiences and for multiple and diverse purposes.
    • Ability to convey technical topics in easy-to-understand terms and work collaboratively with cross-functional teams and external partners.

  • Decision-Making
    • Has the ability to evaluate risks and opportunities.
    • Uses analytical and problem-solving skills.
    • Takes initiative in moving forward decisions.
    • Comfortable delegating decision-making and developing inclusive and transparent decision-making processes.
    • Ability to set and stick to budgets and priorities; understanding when to say ‘no’ to a request and when to change course to meet an urgent need.

  • Partnership and Relationship Building
    • Possesses strong partnership building skills for collaboration with peers and external strategic partners.
    • Possesses strong professional presence and is seen as a key representative of Democracy Works and the engineering team externally.
    • Is able to prioritize their own work and the work of others. Understands how their work impacts other departments as well as the overall mission, strategy and objectives of Democracy Works.

You have experience 

  • Exceptional manager of technical teams; with experience managing both individuals and managers, including teams of at least 12 people and ideally over 20 people.
  • Experience dealing with internal and external stakeholders. Able to explain technical tradeoffs, timelines, decisions, implications to the senior management team and other team members. Ability to convey complex ideas briefly and simply.
  • Experience recruiting, hiring, and retaining a diverse team.
  • Experience building alignment between engineering, product, design, and business/program teams, with a track record of scaling teams and the products they build to serve tens of millions of users.
  • Experience delivering high quality software effectively, quickly, and efficiently in a results-oriented environment, operating in an agile delivery model.

Physical demands

This position requires regular, daily use of a computer to conduct work and communicate with colleagues. For those working out of our Brooklyn office, the F train stops closest to our office, but exiting the station requires the use of four flights of stairs. Our office has an elevator available at street level. Streets and buildings nearby are currently under construction, which can disrupt sidewalks and results in varying levels of construction noise audible from the office. Our offices share a set of gendered bathrooms with other offices on our floor, and there are no gender neutral bathrooms in the building at this time. 

Social expectations

This position involves regular check-ins with the CEO, other senior managers, and your team. You will be required to have significant daily interaction via Slack, email, and video call with colleagues and with external stakeholders.

Time and travel expectations

DWs regular operating hours are 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Eastern Time. Twice a year, all full-time staff members participate in a five day retreat at our Brooklyn offices. The all-staff retreat is held each year in May and November, when we are able to safely do so.

Application Instructions

To apply, please attach a resume and respond to the following questions (instead of a cover letter) using the form below.

  • How did you hear about this opportunity?
  • In one sentence, what makes you interested in Democracy Works? 
  • In one sentence, what makes you interested in this role?
  • Would you be available to start by July 15, 2021?
  • Are you willing to work at a non-partisan organization?
  • Do you have experience managing both individuals and managers, including technical teams of at least 12 people or ideally over 20 people?

As part of our application, you’ll see an optional form used to collect EEOC demographic information. The data collected in this form is useful in our EEOC reporting and in our assessment of our recruitment practices. However, please keep in mind that the standardized EEOC language used in this form does not reflect the values of Democracy Works--for example, we don’t view gender as binary. We also encourage all applicants to state their pronouns when applying for any job opening at Democracy Works.

Democracy Works is committed to diversity and inclusion in everything we do and aspires to have a team that's representative of the voters we serve. When hiring, we practice proactive outreach to top talent that’s underrepresented in our sector. We're a woman- and gay-founded nonprofit, and promote an inclusive culture that stands against racism, sexism, homophobia, and ableism (to name a few). To be explicit, we strongly encourage applicants of all races, ethnicities, political party associations, religions (or lack thereof), national origins, sexual orientations, genders, sexes, ages, abilities, and branches of military service. 

Feel free to contact [email protected] if you have any questions about our commitment to inclusion or about general hiring practices, or if you need an accommodation for a medical condition during the hiring process.

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