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IAVA Reviews

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35 Employee Reviews

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  1. "Great place to work!"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY (US)
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee in New York, NY (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at IAVA full-time

    Pros

    -The mission is great!
    -Flexible hours
    -Everyone gets treated with respect
    -Like minded individuals
    -Great overall benefits (30 days of paid vacation!)

    Cons

    Some staff members are always complaining about the smallest things and it is a distraction.

    Advice to Management

    Keep up the good work but there is always room for improvement!


  2. Helpful (5)

    "REAL review from a REAL former employee"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at IAVA full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    The organization has been able to bring more media attention to post 9/11 veterans and help advocate for significant veterans legislation. The CEO is a disrupter and knows how to use main stream media and current events to keep veteran issues in the public spotlight.

    Employees bond quickly and commiserate over the chaotic organization, poor management, disruptive turnover, and constant feelings of frustration. Former employees stay friends.

    Working with and for veterans.

    Vacation time and work/life balance.

    Cons

    Employees are constantly made to feel inadequate. Motivation comes in the form of passive aggressive threats. If you disagree with anything the CEO says, then you are vilified. Someone that disagrees is considered "not loyal" and can no longer be trusted.

    This organization does not encourage other points of view or professional growth. The only way to succeed is to keep your mouth shut and never disagree with the CEO.

    The employee turnover is constant- especially in senior level positions because of the CEO. In the short time I was there, we had 4 Chiefs of Communication, 3 Chiefs of Development, and only 2 Chief Finance Officers - one of which only lasted a couple months - most of the time we just didn't have a CFO.

    Advice to Management

    The CEO should resign from day to day operations.

  3. Helpful (2)

    "IAVA Elevated my Professional Footing and I Made an Impact"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC (US)
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC (US)
    Recommends

    I worked at IAVA full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    IAVA is an organization that is built to be an external force to make government change ---and the public react to issues surrounding defense and veterans-- and it does this well. During my time with the organization I worked in the DC office as an external facing policy/spokesperson for the policy agenda.

    Having worked for other veterans groups I was attracted to the bold, out front, and to be fair, confident style of leaders that already worked in the organization that I had seen on national television.

    The impact I wanted to have and the national media exposure (to be fair) I desired was achieved. Very few veterans groups have young veterans on cable news channels literally telling the nation what is happening and how to get things done. While at IAVA I watched leaders within the org, and the CEO, tank bad legislation and cuts to veterans benefits single handedly while other veterans groups--in part--- were being co-opted by Congress. This experience and training greatly elevated my professional footing as afterwards the defense community offered me different opportunities and after more than a year and a half the time to take another challenge had come.

    IAVA is responsible for breaking me through that next level. I am able to write broadly and be published and appear in front of Congress and on cable news regularly based on my skills basically developed during my time at IAVA. I am lucky I was able to work their as hiring is competitive.

    Cons

    IAVA is a high energy place, and it is very very easy to get drained and I want to leave a fair review here, I had my lows. There is a lot of creativity and smart people that work there and the lines of authority tended to shift a lot causing arguments and at times unstable paradigms across the two main offices (NY and DC).

    Like any organization there are turf wars at times and I think that many of us feel the strengths of the senior leadership and CEO can also be detrimental when decisions need to be made quickly regarding news releases or legislative actions etc. It was stressful and there were a lot of competing voices.

    The CEO also and he probably would not argue the point has a big personality, his management style is that of a linebacker, often times it is exactly what is needed, but other times his style was too brash for the east coast gentleman persona of---for example---most Hill staffers.

    At times we would find ourselves putting out fires for brash statements made in the media and feel caught off guard. But then, later learn they were effective and it made IAVA stand out more on issues.

    So it was a high stress job at times and the CEO had high expectations. That said, the positives outweighed the negatives and this is the job that got my career kicked up to the next level.

    Advice to Management

    Provide feedback honestly and just listen. Also realize, IAVA has gotten major legislation passed with a fraction of the budget of most old legacy big VSOs.


  4. Helpful (2)

    "Incredible learning experience/ big-hearted staff"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I worked at IAVA full-time

    Pros

    I worked at IAVA for 3 years and walked away with a) much more knowledge about cause-based advocacy, b) much more insight into managing a scrappy, edgy nonprofit (from leadership to fundraising to growth strategy) and c) relationships with several colleagues who have since become some of my best friends. Almost without exception, every person I worked with (staff, veteran members, civilian supporters) at IAVA was unusually intelligent, driven and generous. I consider myself very fortunate to have been part of this team, and to have had the experience of working under the dynamic CEO Paul Rieckhoff and his leadership team. I hope everyone interested in cause-based work will at some point have the opportunity to work under someone like Paul, whose passion for the mission and ambition for the organization is absolutely off the charts. I will carry the lessons I learned at IAVA through my career and be more valuable to any other mission I embark on, thanks to them.

    Cons

    Like at any nonprofit, there are certainly frustrating personal and professional moments at IAVA. Mission-based organizations are renowned for being tumultuous work environments because the work is personal to everyone in one way or another, opening to the door to more emotionally charged interactions with colleagues and superiors. When you sign up to work at an ambitious cause-based org that relies on donor funds, you sign up for a certain amount of uncertainty and instability. When you're trying to make the maximum amount of impact from the minimum amount of resources, you have to expect that there will be disagreements around how to allocate energy and resources -- regarding everything from personnel management to organizational strategy. Working at a nonprofit, and especially a nonprofit as demanding as IAVA, isn't for everyone and it isn't always a lifetime post -- burnout is a real thing! I think it's very common for nonprofits to suffer from morale problems because it's tough to get the right personalities in the right role, for the right amount of time, and that's definitely a challenge for IAVA as well.

    Advice to Management

    I can't speak to the current management environment, but I think every nonprofit I've ever worked for could benefit from more open dialogue (at every level of staff) about the challenges the organization is facing and what that means for staff as individuals and for the org as a whole. This is fast-paced, emotionally charged, long-houred work, and it's important to remember to take time to attend to every staff members needs to a) feel heard/ appreciated/ necessary to the mission and b) feel supported to be creative, innovative, rule-breaking according to personal style.


  5. Helpful (2)

    "Terrible in so many ways"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at IAVA full-time (More than 3 years)

    Pros

    The people you meet and the rare glimp of the good the place can do for vets

    Cons

    This place doesn't care about its members anymore. They want to make it a political group instead. Staff treated poor and managers are an embarrassment to public. unqualified at every turn. Managers are catty and talk about other staff behind their backs constantly which makes distrust and fear everywhere and very unhappy staff

    Advice to Management

    Stop making knee jerk decisions that put the org at risk and only brings bad attention. Don't hide from truth and hire capable people to bring the place out of the hole in now


  6. Helpful (1)

    "Great People doing Great Work"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at IAVA full-time

    Pros

    Work with people who will inspire you everyday.
    Everyone at IAVA (civilian or Vet) puts mission first.
    You will have tremendous levels of exposure and learn an incredible amount.
    You will change people's lives and see the results.

    Cons

    It is a non-profit on a small budget (7M) and has a start up atmosphere. You will be asked to do more then that it is in your job description. No-one from the CEO down expects any different.

    Advice to Management

    Keep building on the past and trust in the people you hire.


  7. Helpful (3)

    "Sink or Swim: The Choice is Yours"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - FREEDOM FIGHTER in New York, NY (US)
    Current Employee - FREEDOM FIGHTER in New York, NY (US)
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    I have been working at IAVA full-time (More than a year)

    Pros

    If you are self motivated and work hard you can chart your own path and create your own history. The internal structure of this org is one that lends itself to personal growth and personal success, of course if you want it bad enough. The CEO has done a great job in providing resources for staff to succeed.

    Cons

    There are Directors that make better bus drivers. Someone puts way too much coffee in the coffee maker when they make coffee. For some reason we like to play musical chairs with our assigned seating arrangement.

    Advice to Management

    6 figure employees shouldn't complain about the many hats they wear in a room full of 45K employees who also wear multiple hats and continue to "lean in" on a daily basis without complaining.

  8. Helpful (7)

    "Former Employee"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook

    I worked at IAVA full-time

    Pros

    The only pro is that I no longer work at IAVA.

    Cons

    Senior leaders, especially the CEO, lack integrity, transparency and human decency. The culture promoted lying, cheating and stealing while pitting staff against each other. Executives prioritized taking credit for the work of other organizations over doing the work ourselves. Hands down the worst organization I have ever worked at.

    Advice to Management

    CEO needs to be fired or resign.


  9. "Summer"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee

    Pros

    Met amazing, supportive people. Has good intentions.

    Cons

    Organizational problems, especially the difference between the NY office and DC office.


  10. Helpful (6)

    "Avoid at all costs"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    I worked at IAVA full-time

    Pros

    the people and networking you can do

    Cons

    the senior leadership, chief of staff specifically

    Advice to Management

    fire the chief of staff


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