Open Recruiting, Open Talent

Cynthia Eyakuze
Director, Women’s Rights Program
Open Society Foundations
224 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019

via email to:


Dear Ms. Eyakuze and Colleagues:

Thank you for encouraging my application for any of your open positions that might be suited to my education, broad and deep range of multimedia and cross-disciplinary skills, and professional experiences, where my career goals share in common the stated goals of your foundations and my personal experiences bring to your leadership the expertise of the audience you intend to serve.

Your work first came to my attention while researching my application for an available position as Director of the Center for Justice for the ACLU. Thank you for your funding toward their essential work. I hope it is enough, as they have mountains to move, and only spoons to shovel out from under my experiences indicative of just one in millions subsisting under a totalitarian puppet regime that the United States has willfully allowed itself to become thanks to the decisions of bipartisan leadership guided under at least two presidencies, supported by women and men alike, unable to think critically, resolve conflicts civilly, or lacking in self-awareness of the systemic effect of their individual behaviors on others, serving a vast bureaucracy of incompetence by telling themselves they are just doing their jobs.

Despite differences between our genders, my abject poverty, and humble public institution education, I am not at all surprised but intrigued to find commonalities with the conclusions of your founder, wealthy industrialist George Soros, when he recognizes both that his financial success leads to greater independence in a world ruled by capital, as well as his moral obligation to counterbalance the abuse of power, and my own realization that money buys you most of all access to other human beings, but is merely an abstract, somewhat crude, and short-range method of communicating respect, and I describe respect, in the position of power as not just imperative listening to the voices of the powerless, but also the mark of socially and fiscally responsible leadership.

SPO-WRP Senior Program Officer, Women’s Rights Program

As Senior Program Officer of your Women’s Rights Program, I would hope that your over-arching, long-range goal is to abolish such a program, to have successfully built a global village where women’s rights are no longer viewed as a subcategory or separate from what I call basic human dignity, while recognizing we will not achieve that goal in my lifetime. In my experience, the violence of women toward other women who resist the abuse of patriarchal authority is every bit as abusive as any violence that I have endured at the hands of men, and very often it has been men who have been more supportive of my work and my efforts to rise above oppression than women. Hence the urgent need to rethink that false dichotomy between genders, or to step back from the picture and view that framework of our culture, as the current design of your homepage so strongly communicates, that same structure I analyzed in my 2008 MFA thesis research that I extended from the writing to the design and full press production and even into the binding that I termed “spineless” or revealing the backbone of our social constructions:


Wild Child, 2008, 26.5×28.5×6.5 cm, pigment ink jet and letterpress on Magnani Pescia, paste paper covers on museum boards, linen thread, exposed hemp cords, variable edition 6 signed and numbered (spine detail).

Titled Wild Child, referencing the work of contemporary philosopher Giorgio Agamben on le jeune fille sauvage, the creature at the border of difference between man [sic] and animal, as well as Jacques Derrida’s writing on rhyme’s playful ability to transcend barriers in language, creating new meanings with new pairings previously unimagined, my research examined critical theories of identity, trauma, and the taboo, stretching across 500 years of technology with a microscopic attention to detail:


Wild Child, 2008, 26.5×28.5×6.5 cm, page spread with microscopic paper deckle image detail.

I feel happy to read your commitment to establishing collaborative relationships with philanthropic partners and NGOs and identifying joint programming opportunities, as well as to monitoring your largesse through site visits and review of not just financial but also narrative reports, because from my level on the ground as the supposed target audience of public and private beneficence, all I have seen from coast to coast, Washington to Washington, are grant-seekers and -funders competing from the same depleted pot of Great Recession dollars awarded just enough to cover administrative overhead and salaries without dribbling down to the level of labor, which leaves so many would-be charities shutting their doors to the poorest of the poor and weakest of the weak. Visibly abundant are the abuses of these organizations who say one thing and do another from where I sit anywhere in the world with a web connection and my position as a visually educated human being finding strong correlation between visual illiteracy and abusive behavior: the breakdown between words, image, and action always reveals the abuses within any organization, be it government, NGO, or corporation, as I analyze in Unplaying the Shame and Blame Game and again in my experience of our bureaucratized, privatized systems of mental juridical health, access to work, and social services.

Happy again to read of the opportunities for extensive travel that will help me build my awareness of problems afflicting women’s rights in countries served by the Open Society Foundations, an awareness limited only by budget to my scholarship and teaching experiences and listening to experiences of international visitors and immigrants.

While my writing from viewpoints both intimate and public might be challenging to some, I hope to communicate my high level of strategic thinking and ability to make sound, independent decisions based on logical analyses despite experiences that include nearly insurmountable obstacles, encountering abuse of power at almost every turn, and in particular I am happy to hear you use the term judgment, a word unpopular in a passive aggressive culture, frequently misused to recognize the judgments in others while remaining blind to our own judgments, etymologically related to decision, to design, and not distant from desire. Likewise, I hope bullet points from my post-graduate, post-Great Recession job-seeking and ongoing professional development demonstrate my proven ability to work independently while also providing integral team support, developing and/or strengthening effective collaborations across multiple internal and external stakeholders, with a high-level of self-motivation and ability to set and meet goals, managing multiple priorities under nearly indescribable survival pressure, as well as my broad intellectual curiosity, seeking team members healthy enough to reciprocate my respect or comfortable engaging in robust debate and who will hear my sometimes wry or tongue-in-cheek sense of humor as humor, never intended to wound. I am acutely attuned to my hard-earned ability to place and reinforce boundaries, and continually work on finding ways to bridge those boundaries without sacrificing basic human dignity.

While I seek opportunities to increase my fluency beyond my high school French or learn other languages, what I lack in multinational experiences I hope I make up for in empathetic listening skills, as demonstrated through my teaching experiences able to cue into one term common across English, French, and Kreyòl, while coincidentally pinpointing the crux of the problem that your program hopes to solve and discussed in my thesis research, with more recent communications bridging linguistic and cultural differences with speakers fluent in Swahili, Cherokee, Pashto, and Croatian. Further, in my experience, visual language extends across barriers presented by written and spoken languages and national boundaries, and I hope that you will not dismiss my skills as “talent” but recognize a graduate degree in art as equivalent qualifications essential to the responsibilities of the position.

PO-WRP Program Officer, Women’s Rights Program

Your Program Officer job description reads as nearly identical, hence my Twitter questions about ongoing availability versus back-dated positions. The duplication indicates either healthy teamwork and appreciation of competencies across rank, or some confusion of expectations that could rapidly lead to miscommunications in the workplace. From my experiences that include editing, submitting, and reviewing grants, crafting job descriptions, vetting my replacements, and including one College of Education rewriting their previously posted position as if copying and pasting bullet points from my résumé, maybe I can help clarify those expectations?

Finally, those experiences lead to a third position that sounds not outside my range of skills:

RP-HR Recruitment Partner

If I have learned one thing in six years of job applications, it is how to review job descriptions and to match people to the positions. Because this is a double-time-and-a-half job for me, I always forward jobs I see that might suit people I know if the jobs do not quite fit my own skills, experiences, and career goals, and wish others would be both attuned in their judgments and so generous with their time. As the “talent” very often the recipient of portfolio reviews by folks visibly not qualified to make judgments on my work, with experiences wading my way through more badly designed human resources databases than I can count, I am bursting with ideas about how to shut the revolving door between politics and business, attract fresh talent, and improve the recruiting process. Hence my new commitment to transparency in human resources: because redundant input of my own data is never how I envisioned living a large chunk of my income-earning potential career. To any position, I bring the problem-solving skills of a designer with unlimited imagination.

DD-Global Design Director

Or maybe consider bridging the gap across your Documentary Photography Project and Information Program by adding a design program? From the perspective of a designer, all of the problems you hope to solve are design problems simultaneous to problems of public policy, communications, or law.

Thank you for your review of my qualifications and 1) your consideration of my fit with the other members of your organization, and 2) criticism specific to my application to further my professional growth.


Jana Brubaker

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