The Center for Reproductive Rights - Loved it. Challenging work, but incredible org with excellent opportunities. | Glassdoor
  1. Helpful (5)

    "Loved it. Challenging work, but incredible org with excellent opportunities."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Executive Assistant in New York, NY
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I worked at The Center for Reproductive Rights full-time for more than a year

    Pros

    I loved working at the Center for Reproductive Rights. I worked there for almost three years and grew immensely as a young professional and as a person. It's challenging work and not for everyone - there is always a lot going on, the issues are emotionally and mentally taxing, and the organization sets ambitious goals and has high standards. But if you're looking for a fast-paced work environment that will challenge... you and help you grow, this is an excellent fit. The staff are incredible. The nature of my role allowed me to work with individuals at various levels across the organization. Each person I worked with was smart, strategic, and dedicated to the mission. It wasn't perfect and some folks are of course more challenging to work with than others, but everyone is on the same team and is working for the same goals. Having that common understanding and commitment kept things in perspective, and kept folks energized and focused. I made some amazing friends and mentors through my work at CRR. I have been gone for almost a year now, and I'm still in regular contact with my former supervisor and colleagues. I found the professional development opportunities for young staff to be plentiful - if you seize them. There aren't formal networks or mentor/mentee relationships (that I know of), but working long hours with senior staff allowed me to create an organic network of mentors/advisers across the organization that I'll cherish throughout my career. When I was applying for grad school and taking entrance exams, every single individual I reached out to for informational interviews was more than happy to speak with me, even if I didn't work with them regularly. I am frequently in contact with my former supervisors regarding professional development questions, and they are always happy to help. I recognize the value of more formal professional development opportunities and would encourage CRR management to investigate potential ideas (and listen to junior staff suggestions), but I found the informal opportunities to be significantly more helpful, genuine, and have sustained since I've left. The work itself is awesome. It was clear to me that the strategic decisions made were carefully thought out and intentional. Everyone is brilliant - it's intimidating but so cool and valuable. I loved being part of an organization that made such a huge impact in the lives of individuals and families around the globe. As previously stated, CRR sets ambition goals - and meets them. They have high standards, and it pays off. Being part of that environment, especially as a junior staffer, allowed me to set a higher bar for myself and realize what excellence looked like in this field. Side note: the offices are gorgeous - especially the NYC headquarters. Plus there are regular all-staff lunches, happy hours, social events, etc. I also found the benefits and pay to be really great, particularly for comparable nonprofit organizations.

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    Cons

    The work environment is hard. Working on these issues and in an under-resourced non-profit environment means that folks won't always be their best selves. If you are a very sensitive individual or take things super personally, this might not be the best environment for you. I definitely left CRR with a stronger backbone than I had before (which I personally think was essential for my professional development, but... that's just me). I frequently had to work late hours. It was rare for me to leave by 5:30pm, and I also rarely took a real lunch break. Part of that was my role, but a huge part of that was the result of my personal work style and my personal choice to invest that much into my work. I wanted to stay late and be a fly on the wall while management/executives finished their days. I had the time, enthusiasm, and energy, and I wanted to put a ton of myself into my job to learn as much as possible (and it paid off). It's fine if that's not your goal or your style. But regardless, almost all CRR staff at some point or another will probably have to work late (I think). There were also some reoccurring organizational struggles around junior staff (vs management) and animosity against the Executive team. I personally did not entirely agree with all the merits of these concerns, but I could understand where they are coming from and sometimes agreed. There also is relatively high turnover, particularly with certain teams, and that has caused some instability. The organization has also grown rapidly over the past few years, exasperating this instability and causing some confusion around roles, hierarchy, strategy, etc. Regarding career opportunities, I would say it can be challenging to advance in the program departments if you are not a lawyer. But I think that's changing significantly as the Center's program areas expand and is not an unreasonable reality given that the bulk of CRR work is litigation and legal advocacy. For non-programmatic staff, career growth seems to be more clear in terms of how to work your way up into management positions. It is a nonprofit, though (i.e. limited budget --> limited roles), and folks love working here, so promotion opportunities are not available every year or even every few years. Do not expect to get a promotion after your first year (although that does sometimes happen).

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    Advice to Management

    Continue to increase transparency regarding how decisions are made, why, and when. Be clear (and consistent) regarding expectations, particularly with reoccurring projects. Express enthusiasm about forming one-on-one relationships with staff and be proactive in creating opportunities for a relationship to form (through assignments, check-ins, etc.), and use those relationships as a two-way street: ask junior staff... about their thoughts on programmatic ideas (when appropriate) and any concerns they may have with the work environment (especially before something bubbles up). Continue to create and model a culture of feedback. Consider adding more administrative support roles before adding more executive/management roles so that the org can grow in a sustainable manner. Understand and appreciate that the different teams across the organization will have their own micro-cultures (while continuing to emphasize the core values of the organization). Respect the expertise folks bring to their work. Do not assume that all non-management staff are "anti-management." ADVICE TO APPLICANTS: I loved working at CRR and would come back in a heartbeat. I have worked at other nonprofits in and outside the movement, and CRR has been my favorite by far. Do not let other Glassdoor reviews or rumors deter you from being excited about applying for a job here. Do not automatically buy in to "anti-management" sentiment. That being said, CRR is far from perfect and it's not for everyone. When you are interviewing, be sure to ask about the work environment for that particular team (and the org as a whole) to determine if its the right fit for you.

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    The Center for Reproductive Rights2019-06-28

Other Employee Reviews

  1. Helpful (6)

    "Happy with Development team"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee 
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    I have been working at The Center for Reproductive Rights full-time for more than 5 years

    Pros

    This is a top performing Development team; fundraising targets are routinely exceeded. No "eat what you kill"; we are close and collaborate. A positive environment with lots of resources. The work is challenging and fun. Development has solid, calm leaders. Work-life balance is real - lots of schedule flexibility, paid maternity leave, time off and comprehensive benefits from the get go.

    Cons

    Expectations can be too high. Fundraising isn't easy; it's not like academic or medical fundraising, you do have to be hustling. Lots of changes on the executive team recently. Sometimes non-transparent or plainly bad hiring decisions are made.

    The Center for Reproductive Rights2018-08-01
  2. Helpful (6)

    "Not Walking the Walk"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Compensation and Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Would Prefer Not to Say 
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    I worked at The Center for Reproductive Rights full-time

    Pros

    Many of the people working at the Center were among the best I've ever met. They were kind, compassionate, enthusiastic, intelligent, and talented, and I remain close to many former colleagues. The views from the NYC office are great. I can also imagine it being a lot worse, and some employees seem to be able to make it work for them.

    Cons

    (Note that some of these impressions may not be true for offices other than NYC.) Senior management views employees as cogs in the wheel, not as people: they are valuable insofar as they are useful. Change and justice work is relentless, but you cannot expect to succeed if you continually use up and tear down your new recruits. The C-suite values the organization far more than the cause or the movement. The... executives also seem to think they ARE the organization and the rest of the staff is just there to support them; there's no sense of the organization working together, all being needed, all being valued. The executive team will deliberate on major changes for months in secret and then announce immense overhauls that were created without input from the rest of the organization. The lack of transparency causes programmatic and staffing changes to seem incredibly, unfeelingly arbitrary. As a result, confusion and resentment simmer, and completed work would be impossible without a few highly dependable employees who manage to wrangle things together. Management asks employees to be direct and forthcoming with concerns, but the same courtesy is not afforded in the other direction. Staff are fearful of providing criticism, as it is seen as unwelcome and meriting punishment. Individual managers and teams within the organization can be incredibly supportive, but if you are not protected and insulated by one of those, it's a draining place. Official organization positions, posts, or statements to donors/the board frequently contained outdated language or notions about gender, sexuality, race, and diversity. Employees regularly joke about crying in the bathroom, but it's not a joke. Impostor syndrome seems to be encouraged, as junior staff frequently lose a sense of their own worth and are not given the basic training or mentorship to help them find their footing. It would be in the interest of the organization and the movement to train, support, educate, and empower young people, but they are seen as disposable. Assistants are not given the information or authority needed to do much of their work, but they are liable for the reactions and outcomes of things well above their paygrades. Positions are poorly defined and differ wildly, with some employees perpetually overworked and others regularly without enough work. Summer interns are given engaging work while full employees are left handling printing and scheduling. Basic systems and processes are missing and the organization frequently scrambles to avoid non-compliance. The Center was without an employee handbook for nearly five years. When employees or departments are underperforming, there do not seem to be effective management procedures for addressing that. Management is far too concerned with stamping out dissatisfaction to address poor performance (among its employees and among its own esteemed ranks). Mental health, self care, and work life balance are given lip service but are quickly plowed under in favor of swearing unwavering fealty to an erratic leadership. Office behavior such as volume of conversations and where staff eat their lunch is made a top priority. This feels like a slap in the face and a severe misdirect when many employees feel unsafe or unwelcome.

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    Advice to Management

    Your actions need to match your words. You cannot call yourselves a human rights organization if your employees are not treated like valued humans. You cannot criticize your employees for undermining transparency when you operate in nefarious secret. You cannot rail against internal issues when you promote them. Self-aggrandizement does not serve the cause, the movement, the organization, or the betterment of the... world. So many hopeful, passionate, caring people want to do this work and are beaten down by the environment you are creating. Do better.

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    The Center for Reproductive Rights2019-10-11

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