California Director of Government Affairs

San Francisco

Position Summary

The Director of Government Affairs has overall responsibility for development and execution of an effective state and local agenda to promote land and water conservation and The Trust for Public Land. Tasks include directing and actively participating in The Trust for Public Land (TPL) California state and local conservation finance, state and local lobbying, and public grant and agency relationship efforts. This position establishes the organization's legislative and grant priorities: ensuring adequate involvement and training of project staff in the state appropriation process; providing appropriate opportunities for project staff participation in lobbying at the legislative and executive level; developing and representing TPL's positions on legislation and projects before legislative and government bodies; assisting in maintaining agency contacts; working with the entire California staff. The successful candidate will work with the national office to ensure a cohesive conservation finance program. Must provide the leadership, creativity, and problem solving skills necessary for TPL to maintain an aggressive conservation agenda and to promote a successful teamwork approach on projects. This position supervises two Public Grant Managers and a Sacramento-based Government Relations Manager.

This position requires frequent, independent travel

Essential Functions

The Government Affairs Director coordinates and collaborates with project, divisional and national Conservation Finance staff, and participates as a member of the California senior leadership team, in four areas:

Legislative Strategy & Execution

  • Establishes The Trust for Public Land’s legislative priorities in California, considering both short-term project needs and long-term organizational relationships and credibility
  • Actively participates in the development and strategic guidance of state and local government lobbying efforts with TPL staff and partner organizations
  • Develops and oversees TPL's positions on pending legislation affecting TPL generally and TPL projects specifically

Creating New Funds for Conservation

  • Works closely with Western Conservation Services Director and with the national Conservation Finance team
  • Markets and promotes TPL’s Conservation Finance program services to local and state governments/agencies and project partners
  • Develops proposals for Conservation Finance services, designs public opinion research, negotiates contracts, makes presentations, and manages a team of internal and external experts in public finance research, public opinion surveys, and campaigns
  • Manages research and survey projects from start to finish, including scoping project parameters, development of project scheduling and facilitating regular communication with internal and external project partners
  • Manages state and local conservation finance ballot measure efforts throughout the state

Grant Execution & Management

  • Oversees grant team, assists with program goals, project selection, and grant strategy to multiple public grant programs
  • Works with Sacramento-based Government Relations Manager to research state and local government legislation and appropriations to identify sources of funding and criteria for accessing such funding by TPL for conservation projects

Outreach to Partners & Agencies

  • Involves project staff in state and local programs, from training in state and local processes to provide avenues for project staff involvement
  • Connects project leads from legislative offices, agency staff, and other constituents to appropriate TPL project staff, ensuring adequate follow-up
  • Assists project staff as required in all aspects of state and local projects, from selection and design to timing of agency actions and expeditious completion
  • Spearheads an aggressive land and water conservation agenda for TPL in California, communicating the goals and purposes of California parks, water quality and open space funding initiatives to elected officials, media staff, opinion leaders, legislative staff, and agency staff
  • Develops strong working relationships with elected municipal, county, and state leaders, local government agency officials and staff, and other significant community representatives in support of local or statewide funding
  • Develops and sustain relationships with environmental, conservation, business, and other special interest groups associated with conservation and quality of life initiatives of importance to the organization
  • Improves the visibility of the Trust for Public Land as a leader in California conservation and quality of life issues


  • Minimum 8 – 15 years of legislative or governmental advocacy experience, including direct lobbying required
  • Experience leading a high functioning team required
  • Experience with the California budget and conservation funding process and huge plus
  • Demonstrated ability to work effectively with challenging, multi-party coalitions
  • Proven ability to successfully manage election campaigns, ballot initiatives and/or legislative lobbying, and internal/external expert vendors
  • Working knowledge of the political landscape in California
  • Experience working with local governments, including agency staff and elected officials
  • Knowledge of state government including the budget and legislative processes
  • Knowledge of public land and water conservation programs desirable, including:
  • Knowledge of climate change policy including Cap and Trade, AB 32 and the AB 32 Scoping Plan
  • Knowledge/Experience with Conservation Policy including California water and park bond measures since 2002
  • A working familiarity with polling, campaign design, and ballot initiative language development, and management of relevant vendors
  • Knowledge of c-3/c-4 organizations and facility with raising and spending funds appropriately
  • Fundraising skills and expertise a plus
  • Excellent written, verbal and presentation skills
  • Ability to write and edit persuasive materials including grant proposals, reports, letters of inquiry, interim reports, stewardship materials, and other collateral information
  • Experience working in a matrix organization, a plus
  • A passionate commitment to TPL’s mission of conserving land for people
  • Commitment and experience working in or to benefit under-served communities
  • An entrepreneurial spirit, initiative, energy, the capacity to lead, mentor and inspire others, the capacity to be both a high performer and a team player, common sense and a sense of humor
  • A willingness to work flexible hours outside a 9-5 schedule
  • Willingness to travel across California. Valid CA Driver’s License required.
  • Bachelor's degree required. Master’s degree is highly preferred
How to Apply: 

Please apply online.