Chief Communications Officer at Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

San Francisco, CA
Full Time

About Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy

Since 1981, the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy (Parks Conservancy) has served as the nonprofit partner of the National Park Service, collaborating with the Presidio Trust, partners, donors, and the community to support the Golden Gate National Recreation Area (GGNRA). The GGNRA stretches across three Bay Area counties, north and south of the Golden Gate Bridge, and includes iconic places such as Muir Woods National Monument, Fort Point National Historic Site, Alcatraz Island, Crissy Field, Mori Point, Lands End, and the Presidio of San Francisco. 

The Parks Conservancy engages at the intersection of national park sites, local communities, social justice, and climate resilience. Collaborating with partners, our staff are dedicated to enhancing public awareness and providing volunteer and educational opportunities in the parks. We are park builders, caretakers, ambassadors and educators, all working to connect people to parks, in support of our vision Parks for All Forever. Join us. 

About the Opportunity

The Parks Conservancy has approximately 300 employees dedicated to connecting people to these incredible resources by enhancing the public’s awareness and providing opportunities for enjoyment and stewardship of these special places. 

Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer, the incoming Chief Communications Officer (CCO) will have the exciting opportunity to lead the Communications & Public Affairs Branch of the organization, bringing strategic visioning, data-driven implementation, and equity-centered leadership for a thriving, collaborative, and effective communications and public affairs function. The CCO role is an outstanding opportunity to advance understanding of the special opportunities that national parks provide to address issues of today and tomorrow – climate resilience, social and community equity, and the stewardship of protected lands, waters, and air for perpetuity. This is an ideal role for a leader who is eager to drive a key pillar of our strategic plan, which is to leverage communications and branding strategy to craft a singular organizational identity that creates a common understanding of our work among staff, volunteers, and the public.

Our ideal candidate brings expertise in strategic and data-driven communications, a deep understanding of the power of brand to advance an organizational mission, experience adopting new communication tools and emerging digital technology, experience in public affairs, and a demonstrated history of people-centered leadership.

Areas of Leadership

Mission & Values Alignment: Bring a mission- and equity-centered lens to all decisions, both at the organizational and functional level. As an executive leader, model and embody the Parks Conservancy’s values. Serve as a trusted representative to, and collaborator with, the Parks Conservancy’s partner organizations.

  • Key qualifications:
    • Belief in the Parks Conservancy’s vision of “Parks for All Forever” 
    • Alignment with the organizational values of Community Care, Create Belonging, Learning and Growth, and Work with Purpose
    • Commitment to, and an understanding of, concepts of equity, justice, and inclusion and a demonstrated ability to effectively work and collaborate across differences at all levels 
    • Knowledge and understanding of the ways implicit bias, personal identity, and power and privilege impact individuals, organizations, systems, policies, and structures, and have prevented some people and groups from accessing parks and public lands
    • Experience partnering strategically with external collaborators and organizations to advance goals and priorities that can support multiple missions

Executive & Organizational Leadership: Serve as a member of the Executive Team, responsible for the Parks Conservancy’s Communications & Public Affairs Branch, including: Communications; Digital Strategies; and Public Affairs. Collaborate with the CEO, Executive Team, Board of Trustees, communications and public affairs team members, and partners to advance a comprehensive communications and public affairs approach. Achieve strategic success in alignment with our organizational goals and priorities, with a particular focus on advancing financial resiliency and brand awareness. Act as a brand champion and creative spark for the organization, developing strategies to elevate the mission and work of the organization.

  • Key qualifications: 
    • Track record of successful, people-centered leadership in highly complex organizations, ideally of a similar size or larger than the Parks Conservancy
    • Experience and effectiveness at serving as a thought partner and strategic advisor to executive leaders, board members, and team members at all levels of an organization, including as lead staff to committees of a board of trustees, or similar role
    • Proven ability to envision, develop, implement, and modify long- and short-term strategy at the organizational level
    • History of effectively leading change throughout career at various levels of leadership and throughout the organization 
    • Outstanding communication skills, both internally and externally, and ability to connect and communicate effectively with diverse audiences, at all levels, in order to rally teams and individuals around a shared goal
    • Track record in driving innovative communication strategies, especially using digital platforms and storytelling, to drive targeted outreach campaigns

Communications Leadership, Strategy, and Implementation: Initiate dialogue and connect deeply with other branches to understand organizational priorities and align broad communication strategies and specific tactics with organizational goals. Promote financial growth through effective marketing of income-generating programs. Increase contributed revenue through fundraising, and diversifying and significantly increasing membership. Reach new audiences in partnership with community and youth programs, growing community engagement and raising awareness of the opportunities to visit Bay Area national parks, and of the Parks Conservancy’s mission and impact. Engage with the in-progress rebranding initiative, including design and implementation, to ensure a unified and consistent brand identity across all programs and communications. Ensure that communication efforts reflect diversity, equity, and inclusion principles, both internally and externally, and tell stories through an inclusive lens. Adopt and advance modern approaches and technologies in communication strategies, including social media, data analytics, and digital platforms in order to connect with audiences to provide awareness of programs, create easy sign-ups for events, share opportunities for volunteer service, drive impact-driven donations, increase new and renewed memberships, and create pathways to access to the Parks Conservancy’s newsletter. Advance understanding of the special opportunities that national parks provide to address issues of today and tomorrow – climate resilience, social and community equity, and the stewardship of protected lands, waters, and air for perpetuity. 

  • Key qualifications: 
    • History of leveraging and leading strategic communications and marketing as a tool to amplify stories of impact and increase brand awareness, growing a cadre of members, supporters, donors, advocates, and others; an innovative and creative storyteller
    • Expertise in envisioning and developing strategic branding and cohesive messaging, and collaboratively leading organization brand narrative and imagery work, to advance an organization’s mission, ensuring consistency across programs and functions
    • Extensive experience in digital communication as a primary pathway to engage and effectively reach a variety of audiences, including amplifying impact and expanding outreach efforts
    • Proficiency in utilizing data analytics for communications and marketing strategies, understanding audience engagement, evaluating return on investment, and making informed decisions
    • Experience working at the nexus of communications, marketing, brand-building, and fundraising, partnering within the organization to develop coordinated efforts, such as new electronic membership cards
    • Strength in working with organizations and partners to co-develop and amplify marketing messages; for example, state and local travel and tourism destination marketing for extraordinary park experiences like Alcatraz Island Experience includes public relations, strategic communications, digital (including web, digital fundraising, and social media), marketing, branding, audience diversification, and crisis communications

Public Affairs Expertise & Strategy Development: In collaboration with the Executive Team, stand up a public and government affairs function, including developing and driving a comprehensive approach to government relations. By mission, the Parks Conservancy is dedicated to directly supporting the National Park Service and Presidio Trust in the protection and preservation of national parks; to advance the mission, support the development of stronger government relationships at the state, local, and national levels that can amplify the Parks Conservancy’s impact. In partnership with the CEO and public affairs team, elevate the understanding of the Parks Conservancy’s mission and purpose among elected officials, government organizations, external partners and stakeholders, media, and the community, to further support the national parks and communities they serve. 

  • Key qualifications:
    • Experience leading government relations work for a mission driven organization, ideally of a similar size or larger than the Parks Conservancy
    • Demonstrated experience working very closely with partner organizations to align public messaging, amplify but not duplicate key messages, clarify roles in communications, step back or step up depending on the topic, and build mission understanding with partner organizations
    • Ability to act as an internal architect for a new or developing function, including determining structure, goals, intra-organizational collaboration, and staffing
    • Track record of establishing a systematic approach to track elected officials’ constituent priorities and committee assignments, including coordinating and overseeing an annual schedule of high-level informational briefings, preparing and staffing the CEO, and developing written and digital materials 
    • Skill at tracking issues, priorities, and opportunities where the national parks, partner organizations, and communities can be supported
    • Familiarity with local, state, and federal government processes, including ability to understand policy development timeframes, and to genuinely develop and foster relationships with government officials at multiple levels 

Team Development & Management: As the leader of the Communications & Public Affairs Branch, weave all aspects of the branch under a shared team vision, goals, and strategy, creating a sense of unity, and an understanding of the power of communications, branding, and public affairs in realizing organizational goals. Rally the team around a shared vision for communications and public affairs that is built upon the goals outlined in the strategic plan. Recruit, hire, and develop team members across functional areas, while simultaneously nurturing and developing a culture of trust, collaboration, kindness, care, and team and individual growth. Promote cohesive interdependence with existing staff and across branches. Center equity in all people-related decisions. Work continuously with the Executive Team to support organizational culture and capabilities that emphasize staff and strategy, and deliver impact. 

  • Key qualifications
    • Experience leading multi-layered teams of a similar size and complexity of the team at the Parks Conservancy 
    • Proven history of leading, inspiring, and developing cohesive and high-functioning teams with diverse identities to effectively deliver outcomes while centering an organization’s mission
    • Outstanding interpersonal and relationship management skills, including the ability to identify and work through challenges, underscored by strong judgment and emotional intelligence
    • Astute driver of strategy, including managing teams through strategic pivots and changes, and interdependent systems and processes 
    • Effective facilitator of a team with a wide range of professional expertise and responsibilities, including managing designers, writers, web developers, and communicators who work together for organization-wide impact
    • Outstanding manager of individuals, including empowering leaders within an organization, with an orientation toward mentoring and coaching, and a history of developing professionals toward increased responsibilities and opportunities
    • Track record of leading inclusive teams where individuals and groups feel valued, supported, and heard, and goals are clearly defined and communicated
    • Proven ability to simultaneously manage, develop, and mentor multiple thriving teams of professionals at various levels of career and skill sets

Physical Requirements & Work Environments

This position is located at the Parks Conservancy’s headquarters in Fort Mason, San Francisco. Work is performed mostly in an office setting, including a mix of telework and on-site. This position requires a minimum of two days per week on-site, and many weeks will require more. In order to meet the essential requirements of this position, this includes a combination of duties in-office, visiting park sites, and participating in park events which may include evenings, weekends, and holidays.

Work is primarily performed sitting and standing:

  • Regularly sits or stands at a desk 6-8 hours per day
  • Walking 

Ability to travel to work locations across the San Francisco Bay Area, including Alcatraz Island, Muir Woods, Golden Gate Bridge, Crissy Field, Lands End, Presidio, Fort Point, and other workplaces, both indoors and outdoors. 


The salary range for this position is $225,000 - $230,000 annually. Parks Conservancy will hire at the salary posted for the position and will not make an offer above this level. Comprehensive benefits package includes paid vacation/personal/sick days, medical/dental/vision plans, 403(B), Employee Assistance Program, employer-matched Commuter Program, employee discounts, and more.

How to Apply 

This search is being managed by Axis Talent Partners, a talent strategy and search firm that partners with social impact organizations.


Health and Safety

It is the goal of the Parks Conservancy to create and maintain a safe and healthy workplace. We work to mitigate hazards and risks that may cause harm to employees, consistent with state and federal laws. Employees play an active role in creating a safe and healthy workplace and are expected to comply with all applicable health and safety rules.

Based on the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Parks Conservancy requires all employees to be vaccinated and to provide proof of such vaccination as a condition of employment.


The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of work being performed by people assigned to this classification. They are not to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties, and skills required of personnel so classified. All employees may be required to perform duties outside of their normal responsibilities from time to time, as needed.

The Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Recruitment, placement and promotions are conducted without regard to an individual's race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, physical disabilities, veteran status or sexual orientation, or any other classification protected by Federal, State, and local laws & ordinances. We will consider qualified candidates with criminal history in a manner consistent with the requirements of the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply.


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