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Trust me. You want this job!

12 September 2017 Published in The ACLU of Utah Activist

Just because I’m moving on, doesn’t mean this isn’t a perfectly excellent job. In that spirit, I encourage you to come to the ACLU of Utah, and take my place as Strategic Communications Manager. AnnaBye

That’s right. After nearly ten great years at the ACLU of Utah, I am leaving this team to become a Senior Policy Analyst for another excellent local non-profit, Voices for Utah Children.

The ACLU of Utah and Voices for Utah Children have partnered on a number of policy projects in the past several years. Most recently, we worked together to promote juvenile justice reform legislation and to distribute community information about the impacts of new juvenile justice laws. This partnership addressing juvenile justice and the School-to-Prison Pipeline will continue in the years ahead, and I look forward to working with my old ACLU of Utah colleagues in this new position.

I was very lucky to be hired as the ACLU of Utah’s first full-time development director in 2007, when I decided to move back home to my native Salt Lake City. As Development Director, I got to know the incredible donors – full of insight, spirit and compassion – who make the work of the ACLU of Utah possible, year in and year out.

Halfway through my two-year graduate program at the University of Utah, the ACLU of Utah team made room for me to leave the fundraising field and explore criminal justice policy work. I spent a year as a contract Public Policy Advocate, during which time I was honored to play a small role in Utah’s push toward compassionate, commonsense criminal justice reform.

For the past three years, I have worked on a blend of communication and policy projects as the ACLU of Utah’s first full-time communications manager. Once again, my teammates here at the ACLU of Utah allowed me to expand my skills and explore new professional challenges in this first-ever role. And what a team this is!

I’ve shared a million laughs and frustrations up at the State Capitol with Marina Lowe, our Legislative and Policy Counsel, who helped me learn how to lobby (and to take pride in lobbying for such a just cause).

I have received plenty of public recognition for work that was really made possible by behind-the-scenes colleagues like Reinard Knutsen, our ever-patient and hard-working Office Manager, and Jessica Andrews, our multi-talented and detail-oriented Finance and Business Manager.

I’ve been proud to watch my colleagues on the legal team, Leah Farrell and John Mejia, argue important and complex cases in Utah courtrooms. I’ve benefitted from the wide-ranging professional knowledge and life experience of our paralegal, Margie Nash.

I’ve learned how to be a better colleague, community partner and ally from Kathy Abarca, who began with us as an intern and is now the Executive Director of Racially Just Utah.

I’m glad that I was able, for the final year of my tenure, to overlap with our excellent new Executive Director, Brittney Nystrom - and, in the final months of my time here, to work with our dynamic new Community Outreach Fellow, Maria del Mar Gonzalez. I also got to see Cassie Taylor, who started as our new Development Director last November – the week after Election Day! – outshine me in that position in just about every way. 

A decade is a long time – for me, at least! – to be at one organization. When I joined the ACLU, I was Anna Brower; I leave as Anna Thomas. I started my work with a bachelor’s degree, and now I have a master’s degree, as well. I even have 100% more cats than when I was first hired. (This second cat was adopted from the parking lot at…you guessed it…the ACLU of Utah).

It’s time for me to move on, but I am very proud of all that I have accomplished during my years at the ACLU of Utah. I will always value the relationships I’ve built through my work here, and feel very lucky to have been able to contribute to my own community as part of this storied civil liberties organization.

Yes, I am probably the loudest staff member at the ACLU of Utah, but don’t let that fool you. I am by no means the most integral to our success, and this organization doesn’t need me to get the public’s attention. I see great things ahead for the ACLU of Utah. My exit now gives a new person – with new energy and experience, with a different perspective and unique set of strengths – a chance to contribute to what is sure to be a bright future.

Trust me, you want this job!

Job Announcement: Strategic Communications Manager

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