Friday, October 11, 2013

It’s your turn to move housing forward

by Blake Warenik, National Housing Conference and Center for Housing Policy

For the last two and a half years, I’ve been fighting the good fight to promote housing affordability here at the National Housing Conference and Center for Housing Policy. And it’s been a blast. I’ve seen this organization start the long transformation into one of the new breed of nimble advocates, effectively responding to the realities of advocacy today: building a movement, engaging advocates in other issue areas, and making the pie bigger rather than fighting over the last slice. I love knowing that we are truly moving the needle on housing in our nation’s capital. I love being connected to smart professionals from across the housing spectrum and around the country—my friends in Rhode Island, North Carolina and Washington State help me get better at my job. And most importantly, I love working with my colleagues here at NHC and the Center.

The sweet two-monitor setup my successor will enjoy
That is why, when I announced last week that I’m resigning from my position as communications manager to pursue another opportunity, I did so with more than a little regret. But my loss could be your gain. NHC is hiring a new communications associate to replace me, and I cannot emphatically enough encourage anyone looking for their next communications/public affairs opportunity to apply. Do it now. It shouldn’t be your first walk in the park, but let me be the first to tell you that this position can grow with you.

You need to be a very, very strong writer. You need to have a good handle on web technology and social media. You need to solve problems. (I repeat: you must despise, hunt mercilessly and then destroy problems, whether it’s an AP style error or some buggy table formatting.) You need to learn complex issues quickly. You need an insatiable curiosity. And you need to care deeply about social justice and economic empowerment for low-income and working families around the country. Beyond that, this job can become what you want it to be.

You'll also have public speaking
opportunities. Pulling a Ren Höek-style
face as I have done here is not required.
Are you a social media guru? Engage your heart out. A disciplined project manager? Man, do we have some stuff coming down the pipe for you. A gifted designer? Bring it. I have a Wacom tablet I never quite figured out up in the cabinet with your name on it. What else will you get? You’ll get the great team of enjoyable colleagues—friends, really. You’ll get to work in a very convenient location with too many good lunch options. You’ll get to go home at night knowing you’re working towards something good.

And there is no time like the present. With the reboot of the Solutions Conference series in Atlanta this fall and the launch of the Housing Communications HUB, NHC is a place that clearly recognizes the central role of communications, framing and messaging in making housing a first-tier national issue and in getting stuff done on the ground. You will influence the work that your colleagues in research and policy do. And with NHC and the Center’s merger on the horizon and a half-dozen other exciting projects coming up, you will never be bored.

This was my first job in housing, but I’m not convinced that it will be my last. The housing space is not something that I really knew anything about before I started here at NHC. We don’t want you to know everything, or anything, about housing issues before you start. We just want a talented, balanced communicator who cares about doing good and is ready to learn. Are you ready? Apply now. The application period closes October 25.

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