Chief Administrative Officer

About SPUR

SPUR is a nonprofit public policy organization in the San Francisco Bay Area. Through research, education and advocacy, SPUR works to create an equitable, sustainable and prosperous region, where all people thrive. We bring people together from across the political spectrum to develop solutions to the big problems cities face. With offices in San Francisco, San José and Oakland, we are recognized and respected for our independent and holistic approach to urban issues. 

The Opportunity

The Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) provides strategic direction and operational oversight of SPUR’s administrative functions, to ensure that SPUR can achieve its organizational vision. This position works closely with the CEO and is a member of SPUR’s leadership team.

As an organization committed to advancing equity through its policy work and its internal operations, the CAO plays a critical role in guiding and implementing that commitment, as pertains to SPUR as an organization. The CAO works in partnership across SPUR’s functions to lead, facilitate, and implement strategies to center equity. The successful candidate recognizes the iterative and systemic nature of this work, and the importance of a culture of belonging.

The Chief Administrative Officer directly manages SPUR’s Strategy & Operations function, which comprises Human Resources and Finance. In addition, the CAO works closely with the CEO to implement the CEO’s vision for organizational change and growth, operationalizing these in order to drive the organization forward, and will have a rotating set of projects in their portfolio. The CAO is an important thought partner to the CEO on issues of organizational design and internal management, as well as operational strategies for external effectiveness. 

This is a job for someone who has excellent relational skills, a keen strategic mind, an assets-based approach to organizational development, and a high degree of competency in operationalizing goals and strategies.  This is also a job for a “do-er” – someone who gains professional satisfaction from getting the job done at the highest possible level. 

Core Responsibilities

Manage Administrative Functions

  • Provide strategic direction and oversight to SPUR’s human resources and finance functions, including managing relevant staff and overseeing related processes
  • Serve as a trusted advisor and guide to SPUR staff, including SPUR’s leadership team, in applying SPUR’s strategic direction to organizational and personnel development 
  • Ensure that SPUR meets its commitments to its staff and always acts in compliance with relevant policies, laws and regulations.
  • Staff relevant board committees
  • Engage in strategic planning to ensure that SPUR is preparing at all times for future needs

Lead Organizational Development Initiatives

  • With the CEO, identify organizational development needs
  • Scope and adjust programs, trainings, systems, processes, and/or other initiatives to meet those needs
  • Secure resources and manage implementation of initiatives, including contract development and management 

Lead Equity Integration

  • On an ongoing and iterative basis, ensure SPUR operationalizes its commitment to equity,

developing awareness, comfort and confidence to address and champion equity in all aspects of the organization.

  • Lead with cultural competence, seeking to connect with staff and bringing an authentic commitment to building relationships with others that acknowledges and values individual lived experience
  • Guide and operationalize SPUR’s commitment to diversity and belonging

Operationalize SPUR’s Vision and Goals

  • Working with SPUR’s leadership team, direct annual work planning process 
  • Ensure all teams have clearly aligned and clearly stated goals and that these are translated into staff work plans
  • With the CEO, identify the capacities SPUR needs to most effectively deliver its mission, and guide development and implementation of these

Lead Strategic Initiatives

  • Working closely with the CEO, lead strategic administrative initiatives 

Manage Organizational Practices

  • Develop a consistent quality standard for internal communications, engagement, meetings and for meetings with SPUR’s boards and task forces
  • Support SPUR in developing the systems required to meet those quality standards 
  • Develop and ensure effective implementation of standards for Board engagement

Ensure Organizational Health

  • Develop and lead annual staff retreat
  • Participate in team retreats
  • Develop and oversee staff recognition programs
  • Structure and facilitate weekly all-staff meetings 

Key Qualifications

While a Masters’ degree in public administration, nonprofit management, business administration, public policy or a related field is a plus, the most important qualification is professional experience as a high-level manager in a high-functioning but complex environment. A minimum of five years of complex organizational management experience is required.

The candidate must be an excellent operational manager with strong interpersonal and organizational skills, and a professional understanding of human resource and finance functions. The ideal candidate is energized by the work of turning vision into action and has demonstrated facility with strategic planning, operationalizing organizational goals, and bringing systems to scale. The ideal candidate leads with both empathy and clarity, and is most satisfied when solutions serve the needs of all parties involved.

This job requires the ability to see the big picture and to own the details. The ideal candidate is motivated by SPUR’s mission and is familiar with urban planning and public policy. 

The job requires strong meeting facilitation skills and the ability to work well with people from all different sectors of the community, including a large and diverse Board of Directors.

The candidate must have an understanding of racial inequities in our region and in organizations. We are looking for someone who has training in diversity, equity and inclusion and/or who has a demonstrated ability to work across difference. The candidate is committed to diversity, equity and inclusion and manifests that commitment in their management, administration, and facilitation responsibilities. 

The candidate must have experience effectively managing both projects and people.

Because of SPUR’s role as a convening organization in San Francisco, San José, Oakland and at the regional scale, staff must be able to establish positive working relationships with people across the entire political spectrum. The Chief Administrative Officer is an ambassador to SPUR’s board, members, staff at other civic organizations, and a culture leader among SPUR staff.


Additional skills:

  • Independent discretion and judgment
  • Communicates clearly both verbally and in writing
  • Listens actively and with empathy and responds to colleagues in a timely manner
  • Makes effective use of email and meeting time
  • Respects differences in others and is open to differences of opinion and views 
  • Fosters open communication and is willing to engage in respectful debate on important issues
  • Works cooperatively and effectively as a member of a team
  • Solicits input from and shares information with colleagues to improve work
  • Shares and gives credit
  • Understands and prioritizes the needs of the organization as a whole, and uses organizational resources responsibly
  • Accessible and approachable; reaches out to provide assistance to colleagues.
  • Builds trust and is tactful
  • Maintains constructive working relationships with colleagues, board members, stakeholders, donors and others; has a high degree of emotional maturity 
  • Treats all colleagues at all levels with respect
  • Knows whether and when to seek input from others 
  • Finds innovative and appropriate solutions to problems 
  • Proactively improves systems and processes; overcomes internal obstacles to solving problems
  • Plans and thinks strategically. Makes effective and timely decisions. Provides resources to staff and adjusts goals as needed; delegates responsibility and authority when appropriate.
  • Effectively coordinates with multidisciplinary staff and teams; provides graceful leadership; works across multiple disciplines; gives credit where credit is due. Develops and uses annual work plans and engages stakeholders.
  • Promotes a learning environment and identifies skills needed to get results. Following HR protocol, acts decisively and communicates clearly.


The salary range for this position is $150,000-$175,000 and will be based on experience and commensurate with skills and qualifications. This is a full-time, exempt position. SPUR offers a generous and comprehensive benefits package.

How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter and resume. Applicants should apply by submitting their materials to this link

Equal Opportunity Employer

SPUR is an equal opportunity employer with a strong organizational commitment to respecting differences of all kinds. SPUR prohibits unlawful discrimination against any employee or applicant for employment based on race, color, religion, sex, gender identity, age, sexual orientation, political orientation or disability or any other basis prohibited by law. In that spirit, we strongly encourage applications from people of color, persons with disabilities, women, LGBT applicants and others that will contribute to the diversity of our staff.

Applicants With Disabilities

Reasonable accommodations will be made so that qualified disabled applicants may participate in the application process. Please advise in writing of special needs at the time of application.

The statements herein are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by employees assigned to this position. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of personnel so assigned.