Job Board

View all postings

Search Job Postings

You may select from one or more of the criteria below to narrow your search.

Vice President and Chief of Staff

Posted on: January 5, 2018

Apply Now!

Job description

The Public Interest Network is recruiting a Vice President/Chief of Staff to manage a portfolio that includes Green Corps, the Student PIRGs, Toxics Action Center, and other activism organizations we have founded.

What Is The Public Interest Network?

The Public Interest Network is a network of more than a dozen organizations working to save the planet, advocate for the public interest, and protect consumers. We grew out of the PIRGs (Public Interest Research Groups), which started in 1972. Over the years, we have added hundreds of staff, multiple state offices, and launched new groups like Environment America and Green Corps. The groups in our network each strive for solutions on their own, while the force of our combined strategies builds pressure for change across the political and economic spectrum.

In our 40-year history, we have played a part in and run numerous campaigns and won major victories. Among them:

  • We led a 10-year campaign to close a loophole in the Clean Water Act that left more than half of our nation’s waterways and the drinking water for 117 million Americans vulnerable to pollution.
  • Working with students, health professionals, farmers, our citizen members and activists, and other organizations, we successfully convinced some of the biggest purchasers from factory farms, including McDonald’s, Subway and KFC, to stop serving meats raised on routine antibiotics.
  • A team of our Green Corps organizers helped build the support needed to persuade Kellogg’s to pressure its supplier of palm oil to stop deforestation practices.
  • We run two nonpartisan voter registration projects, the Community Voters Project, which focuses on registering typically underrepresented voters including African Americans and Latinos, and the New Voters Project, focused on registering young people who are newly-eligible to vote. Through these projects, we’ve helped to register more than 3 million voters over the last three decades.
  • We have passed hundreds of other national, state, and local laws that instituted bottle recycling bills, reduced toxic chemical use, expanded renewable energy, protected and empowered consumers, and cut air and water pollution.

The Team

We’re what most people think of as the PIRGs. That’s where we got started, but since then we have expanded our reach and started many new organizations. We have boots-on-the-ground outposts in 32 states, from which we run dozens of campaigns at the federal, state, and local levels. Our campaign work reaches into 21 of the top 25 media markets and 313 Congressional Districts.

We count numerous staff with decades of experience in activism, campaigning, and nonprofit work. Our leadership team includes:

  • Doug Phelps, President and Executive Director
  • Faye Park, Chief of Staff
  • Sam Landenwitsch, Chief of Staff
  • Betsy Grossman, General Counsel
  • Wendy Wendlandt, Political Director
  • Zach Polett, Campaigns Director
  • Susan Rakov, Frontier Group Executive Director
  • Allison Cairo, Field Director
  • Sylvia Broude, Toxics Action Center Executive Director
  • Andy MacDonald, National Campus Organizing Director, Student PIRGs
  • Annie Sanders, Green Corps Executive Director

Job Description and Responsibilities

The Vice President and Chief of Staff will join the leadership team of The Public Interest Network. They will be responsible for oversight and management of several organizations founded by or affiliated with The Public Interest Network. The Vice President will be accountable to the Network’s leadership for fulfilling the mission and meeting the business plan of each group in their portfolio.

The Vice President will work in partnership with the leadership of each organization in their portfolio to:

  • Write multi-year and fiscal year strategic plans
  • Identify and develop programs and campaigns
  • Maintain a budget and fundraising plan
  • Hire and develop staff and future leadership
  • Other duties as assigned

In addition, the Vice President and Chief of Staff will oversee budgets, program, and personnel issues for the groups in their portfolio and take on additional responsibilities as assigned.

The portfolio for the Vice President is likely to include:

  • Green Corps, the field school for environmental organizing, which has a 25-year history of training the next leaders of the environmental movement, many of whom are now putting their organizing skills to work at organizations like the Sierra Club, Amazon Watch, Corporate Accountability, and Rainforest Action Network.
  • The Student PIRGs, the nation’s premier student action group, with chapters on 37 campuses across the country.
  • Toxics Action Center, a community organizing group founded in 1987 with the mission of working alongside and providing skills and resources to New England communities fighting toxic pollution threats. Since its founding, Toxics Action Center has organized with more than 850 neighborhood groups, and directly trained more than 20,000 frontline activists in the skills needed to address local environmental threats.


What unites this Vice President’s portfolio of groups? They all share a dedication to organizing as a strategy for making change and a mission of training new organizers. They also share the core mission of all of The Public Interest Network groups, which is to get people thinking about how the world is changing rapidly and how society could be radically different; to concentrate on new problems arising from our changing world; and to educate, advocate, and campaign for solutions to those problems, while at the same time recruiting and training people to be active community members in affecting these changes.

We need to focus on the problems confronting us in the 21st century: saving the planet from everything from habitat loss to runaway fossil fuel extraction and use; protecting our health and well-being in a world with toxic chemicals and consumer goods designed for profit rather than safety; dealing with the distribution of goods and services in an increasingly automated economy; and generally improving the quality of our lives instead of the quantity of stuff we have. The Public Interest Network, and the groups the Vice President will manage, all share a common goal of concentrating on these problems and inspiring others to work on them, too.

From there, our Network picks policies around which to do education, research, advocacy, organizing, and campaigns at the national and state levels. Some of our top priorities right now are stopping the overuse of antibiotics to prevent the rise of superbugs; reducing carbon emissions from power plants and transportation and preventing new fossil fuel infrastructure; increasing the deployment of renewable energy; and eliminating pollution in our air and water.

The staff of our various groups then work to create opportunities for conversations about the problems, and ultimately to achieve wins, results, and transformative change. Right now, some of the work that this portfolio of groups is concentrating on is:

  • Green Corps organizers are on the ground in Heartland and Gulf states organizing support to protect our waterways and targeting Tyson Food to stop runoff pollution.
  • The Student PIRGs are getting college students together across the country to push their campuses to make the move to 100% renewable energy and advocate for open textbook policies.
  • Toxics Action Center is working with Massachusetts residents to stop new fossil fuel infrastructure in the state.


The ideal candidate for the Vice President and Chief of Staff will be:

  • An effective team-builder who can recruit high-level staff, provide training and development, and shape a committed group.
  • Detail-oriented: able to keep a budget and remain on top of finances. Can oversee and drive a business plan. Will ensure legal and financial compliance of each organization in their portfolio.
  • Creative, effective at solving complex problems, and a strategic thinker who can evaluate a competitive landscape and craft a multi-year plan.
  • A good people-person, listener, and communicator who also has strong judgment in hiring staff.
  • A good mentor who is also comfortable enforcing and explaining policy and personnel decisions.

Minimum qualifications include: 10 years of experience in campaign or program development, grassroots organizing, organization building, and/or campaign politics. Related advanced degrees such as a J.D. or Master’s may count towards experience, but are not required. Ideal applicants will have proficiency with data and numerical analysis, be excellent writers and communicators, and have a track record that illustrates a strong work ethic and an uncompromising commitment to getting the job done.

Compensation & Benefits

Compensation for this position is commensurate with the relevant professional experience and/or advanced degrees that a candidate has. The Public Interest Network offers a competitive benefits package.


Boston, Washington, D.C., or Denver. This position will require an average of 5 days of travel monthly.

Application:  Please apply online:

Direct your application to Kyle Larson, Hiring Director.

Things To Know When You Apply

The Public Interest Network is a group of organizations that share a vision of a better country, a set of core values, and a strategic approach to making positive change. Click here for things you should know about our network when you apply.

The Public Interest Network is an equal opportunity employer and will not discriminate against any employee or applicant on the basis of race, color, national or ethnic origin, religion, age, sex, disability, pregnancy, or veteran status.


Boston, MA
Washington, DC
Denver, CO


The Public Interest Network

Job category

Employment type
Full Time

9+ years

Compensation for this position is commensurate with the relevant professional experience and/or advanced degrees that a candidate has.

Start date
March 2, 2018

Apply by February 2, 2018