Chief Policy 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 facing our region. We work at the state, regional and local levels, with a special emphasis on the region’s largest three cities: San Francisco, Oakland, and San José. We are recognized and respected for our independent and holistic approach to urban issues.

General Summary

The Chief Policy Officer will lead SPUR’s policy research and advocacy work. They will manage a team of about 15 staff, working across Planning, Housing, Transportation, Sustainability & Resilience, Good Government, and Economic Justice policy areas. This role is perfect for someone with deep knowledge of urban issues in California or the San Francisco Bay Area, with experience both developing and communicating policy insights and successfully advocating for major policy change, and with the skill to manage a high-performing team within a respected and long-standing civic institution.

The Opportunity

The Chief Policy Officer (CPO) is responsible for managing SPUR’s policy research and advocacy. The CPO is charged with ensuring that SPUR’s core values of equity, sustainability, and prosperity are advanced both through SPUR’s policy impact and through the way in which SPUR conducts its research and advocacy.

The CPO manages a team of approximately 10 - 15 staff, helping them grow their impact as individuals and collaborate effectively. The Chief Policy Officer may also engage personally in policy research and advocacy efforts. Ultimately, the CPO will be judged by the impact they and their team have in both changing government policy and shaping our collective understanding of the policy areas SPUR works on.

This role also serves as an ambassador to local government staff, elected officials, business and community leaders, partner organizations, SPUR’s Board of Directors, and other stakeholders. The CPO is an essential member of the Senior Leadership Team, playing a critical role in organizational stewardship and development. The Chief Policy Officer reports to the President & CEO.

Every role at SPUR is a “doing” role. While the Chief Policy Officer plays an important strategic function for the organization, the CPO is also responsible for performing relevant tasks themselves.

Core Responsibilities

  • Policy Research, Advocacy, and Discourse
    • Through management and supervision of the Policy Team:
      • Shape the region’s collective understanding of the policy issues SPUR works on through insightful policy research and effective communication about that policy research.
      • Successfully pass and influence government legislation, plans, regulations, and policies through effective advocacy campaigns. Cultivate strong relationships with key partners. Participate in and lead coalitions, working groups, and task forces.
      • Provide timely, relevant communications to shape the public discourse on relevant policy items.
    • As an individual contributor:
      • Provide feedback on and direction to policy research products, advocacy strategy and execution, and communications materials.
      • Engage personally in developing policy research, participate directly in advocacy efforts, and draft and deliver relevant communications.
  • Organizational Stewardship
    • Advise and support the President & CEO and the members of the Senior Leadership Team on setting and implementing internal policy.
    • Nurture donor relationships and engage in fundraising, including making direct asks.
    • Through practices and personal example, serve as an important culture leader for the organization.
    • Guide and support SPUR’s ongoing efforts to center equity in its policy work.
  • Network Engagement
    • Build strong working relationships with SPUR’s Board of Directors, City Advisory Boards, and other relevant bodies.
    • Develop and oversee practices to engage SPUR’s stakeholders in the work of SPUR.
    • Personally hold and nurture relationships with key partners.
  • Team Management + Development
    • Manage six direct reports on the Policy Team, and through them lead a team of 10 - 15. Manage and set work plans and budgets, set and implement internal team procedures and processes.
    • Support the team’s skill development, so that team processes result in higher-quality individual and collective work.
    • Work with individual staff to provide oversight, mentorship, and skill development.


  • The candidate must have experience successfully leading policy research and/or policy advocacy efforts in a relevant field at the state or local level.
  • The candidate must be knowledgeable about community planning and policy issues in large U.S. cities. Knowledge of the California or San Francisco Bay Area context as it relates to SPUR’s policy areas is highly desirable.
  • The candidate must be experienced in building strong external relationships to move policy.
  • The candidate must be experienced with centering equity in policy research and advocacy.
  • The candidate must be a strong writer who can make technical policy issues interesting and intelligible to a general audience.
  • The job requires strong meeting facilitation and communication skills. Experience working in diverse coalitions to drive change is highly desirable.
  • The candidate must have strong people management skills and enjoy managing and mentoring teams.
  • The candidate must have experience effectively managing projects, setting deadlines, and meeting milestones.
  • Experience sourcing funding for the work is desirable, and willingness to learn and grow as a fundraiser is required.
  • The candidate must have both high emotional intelligence and relationship management skills, with experience working in teams, across departments and with partnering organizations.
  • Experience working with Boards and developing strong staff-to-Board relationships is highly desirable.
  • In addition to these professional skills, we are seeking candidates who possess strong self-awareness and emotional maturity; who are motivated by the role as an organizational steward in addition to the responsibility for policy change; and who genuinely see the value in working with both external and internal stakeholders to create change.


The salary range for this position is $175,000-$200,000 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 including health insurance, dental insurance, vision care, basic life insurance, pre-tax commuter benefits, work from home stipend, employee assistance program (EAP) and retirement plan with twenty-five percent contribution matching. SPUR offers 6 months of paid maternity or paternity leave to bond with a new-born or adopted child within the first year of birth or adoption.

Hybrid Work Environment

At SPUR, the health of our employees and their families is our top priority. SPUR has a hybrid workplace model defined by a combination of remote and in-person work. We have mandatory all-staff in-person days on Monday and Wednesdays are recommended though another day of the week that works best for departmental teams is acceptable. Staff may be required to attend other in-person meetings, events, and programs as needed. All policies are subject to change.

How to Apply

Please submit a cover letter and resume. Applicants should apply by submitting their materials to this link. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

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, LGBTQ+ 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.