San Francisco
Chief of Staff

Reports to: CEO

Status: Full-time, exempt

Salary: Depending upon experience

About SPUR

Through research, education and advocacy, SPUR promotes good planning and good government in the San Francisco Bay Area. We bring people together from across the political spectrum to develop solutions to the big problems cities face. With offices in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland, we are recognized as a leading civic planning organization and respected for our independent and holistic approach to urban issues.


The Chief of Staff is a key member of SPUR’s leadership team, with lead responsibility for internal management and organizational effectiveness. The Chief of Staff works in close coordination with the CEO to manage the entire organization so that SPUR can achieve both its organizational vision and its vision for the Bay Area.

The Chief of Staff 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. The Chief of Staff is an important thought partner to the CEO on issues of organizational design and internal management, as well as operational strategies for external effectiveness.

The Chief of Staff ensures effective coordination across departments. The Chief of Staff is responsible for several core annual efforts, including annual workplan management and the SPUR annual board retreat.

This is a job for someone who is both a strategist and a high level “doer” – someone who gains professional satisfaction from getting the job done at the highest possible level.

Essential Functions

Lead Organizational Development Initiatives

  • Identify organizational and staff development needs
  • Scope programs, trainings, and other initiatives to meet those needs
  • Secure resources and manage implementation of initiatives, including contract development and management

Lead Equity Development Program

  • Working closely with CEO, scope program to build staff fluency in an equity perspective
  • Manage program development and implementation, including securing consultant support
  • Determine how to operationalize an equity perspective and lead efforts to implement

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
  • Identify the specific steps and timelines required to operationalize SPUR’s growth as a regional organization focused on impact
  • Work closely with the CEO and the Director of Policy to plan and implement SPUR’s expansion to state-level advocacy

Ensure Organizational Alignment

  • Serve as the lead integrator across SPUR’s functions – prioritize resource allocations, problem-solve to meet emerging needs, ensure a high-degree of clear communication across teams

Lead Strategic Initiatives

  • Working closely with the CEO, lead strategic organizational initiatives

Manage Organizational Practices

  • Lead all staff meetings
  • Develop a consistent quality standard for internal meetings and for meetings with SPUR’s boards and task forces
  • Support staff in developing the tools required to meet those quality standards

Ensure Organizational Health

  • Develop and lead annual staff retreat
  • Participate in team retreats
  • Develop and oversee staff recognition programs

Support Board Engagement

  • Develop and manage annual meeting of SPUR’s Board
  • Develop and ensure effective implementation of standards for Board engagement

Required Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

A Masters’ degree in public administration, nonprofit management, business administration, public policy or a related field, or a minimum of five years equivalent experience, is required.

The candidate must be an excellent operational manager with strong interpersonal and organizational skills. 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.

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 his or her 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 Jose, Oakland and region, staff must be able to establish positive working relationships with people across the entire political spectrum. The Chief of Staff is an ambassador to SPUR’s board, local government staff, elected officials, business leaders, staff at other civic organizations, and community leaders of all kinds.

  • Independent discretion and judgement
  • Communicates clearly both verbally and in writing
  • Listens actively 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 the needs and priorities of the organization, 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
  • 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. Develop and uses annual workplans and engages stakeholders.
  • Promotes a learning environment and identifies skills needed to get results. Following HR protocol, acts decisively and communicates clearly.

Salary and Benefits

Salary is to be determined, depending upon experience. This is a full-time, exempt position. SPUR offers a complete benefits package of health insurance, dental insurance, vision care, basic life insurance, pre-tax commuter benefits, employee assistance program (EAP) and retirement plan with twenty-five contribution matching.


Applicants should email a cover letter and resume to

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.

SPUR is an equal opportunity employer and does not discriminate on the basis of race, ethnicity, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation or political orientation.

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