1373 Strategic Communications Advisor, MTA

(Special Assistant XIV)

Recruitment #PEX-1373-108332


The following information describes the position for which applications are being solicited.
Make sure you read the entire announcement before completing the application form.
The purpose of this announcement is to fill a vacant position in this classification.

Division: Executive Director
Section/Unit: Chief of Staff Office
Work Location: One South Van Ness Avenue, 7th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103
Work Schedule: Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm

Appointment Type: Permanent Exempt, Full Time – This position is excluded by the Charter from the competitive Civil Service examination process and shall serve at the discretion of the Appointing Officer.

The Chief of Staff Office (COS) is within the Executive Director Division of the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) and operates at a tactical, strategic and operational level working with the executive and senior management team of the agency to advance key strategic initiatives, communications and relationships. The COS is responsible for leading key multi-divisional projects; managing and tracking strategic initiatives; monitoring goal and objective achievement through measurements of benchmarks and the analysis of agency data; supporting the Director of Transportation in relations with the mayor and San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the media, and developing key agency strategic internal and external messaging.

The Strategic and Internal Communications Team informs and educates the public, customers, elected officials, key partners and our own employees about the services the SFMTA provides to San Francisco. They are strategic, skillful writers, strong communicators, and creative thinkers. The team focuses on the SFMTA’s distinctive culture, values and our approach to the big transportation policy issues of the day. They shape the SFMTA’s stories, the ordinary and the extraordinary, to shine a light on what goes on in the SFMTA and how the agency is advancing San Francisco’s transportation goals. 

The Strategic Communications Advisor is a principal advisor to the Director of Transportation and leads a small team in the Chief of Staff’s Office that produces core messaging with and for executive and senior management. The SFMTA is looking for a curiosity-driven, organized team player to help execute strategic communications campaigns, write compelling messages for agency leadership, create meaningful content for internal audiences, and find innovative ways to engage employees and build a shared culture. The Strategic Communications Advisor is a guardian of the agency’s communications integrity: ensuring confidence in messages, communication that is supported by facts, and transparency and honesty.

The position will develop communications strategies and content for internal and external audiences, provide tactical communication advice to the Director of Transportation, executive and senior management. They will wrestle with some of the biggest issues facing the SFMTA. They will be responsible for shaping the story of the evolution of transportation in San Francisco and ongoing innovation in the way the SFMTA delivers on its values, passion about the services the SFMTA provides and the people that it serves. To succeed here, they will have to combine creativity with organizational skills to manage multiple projects with tight deadlines, understand complex issues, break them down, and coach colleagues to communicate those issues in written and spoken forms. The successful candidate will need to be able to compellingly summarize technical and transportation concepts in writing and in person and to create digestible stories about SFMTA’s work.  

• Develops an agency content strategy for web, broadcast, social media and print material that is rooted in the SFMTA's values.  Leads teams to implement that strategy, delivering content to both internal and external audiences.
• Leads the development of and executes proactive and strategic communication initiatives in partnership with teams across the SFMTA; continually monitors, analyzes, and refines these initiatives to maximize impact.
• Leads the development of internal communications to help keep employees informed, inspired, and connected to the mission and the SFMTA’s common values.
• Leads the development and strategy around new and existing communication channels and partners with designers to help develop visuals and videos for external and internal use.
• Leads the execution for all communications related to crisis events and major incidents including the development and maintenance of a playbook and runbooks detailing execution steps needed to deploy communications.
• Understands the unique needs of SFMTA divisions (goals, objectives, actions) in order to produce effective and relevant communication strategies and provide proactive and reactive messaging that supports key initiatives.
• Conceptualizes impactful, data-driven and compelling communications collateral including key messages, talking points, social media posts, video scripts and speeches.
• Identifies emerging topics and leads the development and execution of proactive internal communication plans.
• Advises and counsels executives, senior management, and other agency leaders on the right messages for specific audiences, the best ways to reach those audiences and ways to measure the impact of the communications.
• Uses data (e.g., open rates, click rates, etc.) to evaluate, adjust, and target communications.
• Proposes and promotes writing and communications standards, and actively participates in creating mechanisms to scale best practices across the organization.
• Oversees strategic and internal communications program; supervises, trains and evaluates the activities of staff and/or coordinates and monitors the work of consultants and contractors working on specific deliverables.
• Establishes and maintains a broad and deep network at all levels across the SFMTA and other city and regional agencies.
• Performs related duties as assigned.

Nature of Work: This position may require working nights and weekends on an as-needed basis. 

1. Possession of a Bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university; AND
2. Five (5) years of professional experience in communications, media, government, community affairs, or related experience including creating and implementing internal and external communications programs; AND 
3. Three (3) years of supervisory experience.

Education Substitution: Additional qualifying professional experience as described above may substitute for the required education on a year-for-year basis for a full four (4) year substitution. One-year (2000 hours) will be considered equivalent to thirty (30) semester units/forty-five (45) quarter units.

Applicants must meet the minimum qualifications by the final filing date unless otherwise noted. One year of full-time experience is equivalent to 2000 hours. (2000 hours of qualifying work experience is based on a 40-hour work week.)  Any overtime hours that you work above forty (40) hours per week are not included in the calculation to determine full-time experience. 

The stated desirable qualifications may be used to identify candidates advancing to the interview process and/or to identify job finalist(s) at the end of the selection process when referred for hiring.
• Direct experience in the following: internal communications, crisis communications, journalism/media production, social media strategies.
• Leadership role in communications for a highly visible, political agency, institution or company.
• Experience developing successful social change campaigns.
• Up-to-date knowledge of communications, media practices, technologies, trends and opportunities.
• Excellent writing skills.
• Video production skills and experience.
• Demonstrated ability to translate technical information into easily understandable and digestible concepts.
• Experience conceptualizing visual representations and infographics to communicate complex concepts.
•Excellent interpersonal skills: honesty, tact, responsiveness, emotional intelligence, and self-awareness.
• High ethical standards for self and others.
• Experience and comfort working through conflict to productive outcomes; excellent facilitation skills.
• Demonstrated experience as an effective supervisor, building trust, delegating, coaching, developing staff, and establishing and upholding systems of accountability.
• Conversant in transportation and transit concepts, policies and operational challenges.  
• Conversant in modern concepts of equity, inclusion, and social justice and how these relate to the work of a transportation agency.
• Demonstrated ethos of public service.
• Knowledge of San Francisco neighborhoods, stakeholders, and politics.
• Passion for the SFMTA’s work and mission.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency employment applications for this position will be accepted through an on-line process only.  

A resume and cover letter must be attached to the online application, preferably as pdfs.

Mailed, hand delivered or faxed applications will not be accepted. Visit www.jobaps.com/sf to begin the application process.

• Click and select 1373 Strategic Communications Advisor, MTA (Special Assistant XIV) (PEX-1373-108332)
• Click on “Apply” and read and acknowledge the information
• Click on “I am a New User” if you have not previously registered, or on “I have REGISTERED PREVIOUSLY”
• Follow instructions given on the screen.

To submit resume using the online application:
• Select the “Resume” tab in the online application
• Follow instructions given on screen.

To submit cover letter using the online application:
• Select the “Other” tab in the online application
• Choose “Upload” as your method of submittal
• Click on “Upload Attachment”
• Follow instructions given on screen.

If you are having trouble attaching your resume and cover letter to the online application, you may submit by email to Lisamarie Chavis, Analyst at Lisamarie.Chavis@sfmta.com, subject: 1373 Strategic Communications Advisor, MTA (Special Assistant XIV) (PEX-1373-108332). Résumé will not be accepted in lieu of completing the online application.

In order to comply with social distancing guidelines due to COVID-19, staff is working remotely at this time. As a result, the Department of Human Resources (DHR)’s and SFMTA’s Human Resources offices are currently closed to the general public. We highly recommend applications be completed early.  If you are having difficulty submitting your application online, please contact us at 415.646.2744 between 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday or by e-mail at Lisamarie.Chavis@sfmta.com.

Applicants may be contacted by email about this announcement and, therefore, it is their responsibility to ensure that their registered email address is accurate and kept up-to-date. Also, applicants must ensure that email from CCSF is not blocked on their computer by a spam filter. To prevent blocking, applicants should set up their email to accept CCSF mail from the following addresses: (@sfgov.org, @sfmta.com).

Upon successful submittal of the application online, the applicant will receive a notification on the screen, as well as in the applicant’s e-mail inbox, acknowledging the receipt of the application.

Applicants may be required to submit verification of qualifying experience and education at any point in the application and/or departmental selection process. Written verification must be submitted on employer’s official letterhead, specifying dates of employment, types of employment (part-time/full-time), job title(s), description of duties performed, and the verification must be signed by the employer. City employees will receive credit for the duties of the class to which they are appointed. If education verification is required, information on how to verify education requirements, including verifying foreign education credits or degree equivalency, can be found at http://sfdhr.org/index.aspx?page=456.

Note: Falsifying one’s education, training, or work experience or attempted deception on the application may result in disqualification for this and future job opportunities with the City and County of San Francisco.

Applications will be screened for relevant qualifying experience. Additional screening mechanisms may be implemented in order to determine candidates’ qualifications. Only those applicants who most closely meet the needs of the Agency will be invited to participate in the selection process. Applicants meeting the minimum qualifications are not guaranteed advancement to the interview. If selected to advance to the interview, candidates will be asked to submit a portfolio and discuss during the interview process. 

Qualified applicants with disabilities requiring reasonable accommodation in the selection process must contact the Agency by phone at 415.646.2744 or, if hearing impaired at 415.701.5043 (TTY) or in writing to the SFMTA Human Resources Operations Section, 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 6th Floor, San Francisco, CA 94103 (specify Class 1373 Strategic Communications Advisor, MTA).

Applicants are responsible for updating their email address or mailing address. Contact Information must be updated online at http://www.jobaps.com/sf by clicking on “Update My Contact Info” and logging into your account.  If updating contact information online, applicants must contact the analyst at 415.646.2744 immediately to inform them of the change. Failure to do so may result in the loss of eligibility.

Make sure your application and any attachments to the application submitted at the time of filing are complete and accurate and include details on all experience, education, training and other information that qualifies you for this recruitment. Failure to submit a complete and accurate application at the time of filing may result in your ineligibility for this recruitment or inability to receive full credit for scoring purposes. Any new information concerning work experience, education, training and other information that is submitted after the filing deadline may not be used for scoring or considered to determine whether you meet the minimum qualifications.

General Information concerning City and County of San Francisco Employment Policies and Procedures:
Important Employment Information for the City and County of San Francisco can be obtained at http://sfdhr.org/information-about-hiring-process or hard copy at 1 South Van Ness Avenue, 4th Floor.

Copies of Application Documents:
Applicants should keep copies of all documents submitted, as these will not be returned.

Right to Work:
All persons entering the City and County of San Francisco workforce are required to provide verification of authorization to work in the United States.

Applicants with disabilities who meet the minimum eligibility requirements for this job announcement can find information on requesting a reasonable ADA Accommodation at:


Conviction History

As a selected candidate for a job, you will be fingerprinted, and your fingerprints will be sent to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). The resulting report of your conviction history (if any) will be used to determine whether the nature of your conviction (or arrest, in limited circumstances) conflicts with the specific duties and responsibilities of the job for which you are a selected candidate. If a conflict exists, you will be asked to present any evidence of rehabilitation that may mitigate the conflict, except when federal or state regulations bar employment in specific circumstances, such as:

  • Candidates for positions with the Unified School District and the Community College District may be disqualified from consideration should their conviction history not meet the standards established under the California Education Code.
  • Candidates for positions with the Recreation and Park Department may be disqualified from consideration should their conviction history not meet the standards established under California Public Resources Code 5164.

Having a conviction history does not automatically preclude you from a job with the City.

If you are a selected candidate, the hiring department will contact you to schedule a fingerprinting appointment.

Disaster Service Workers

All City and County of San Francisco employees are designated Disaster Service Workers through state and local law (California Government Code Section 3100-3109). Employment with the City requires the affirmation of a loyalty oath to this effect. Employees are required to complete all Disaster Service Worker-related training as assigned, and to return to work as ordered in the event of an emergency.


All employees hired on or after January 10, 2009 will be required (pursuant to San Francisco Charter Section A8.432) to contribute 2% of pre-tax compensation to fund retiree healthcare. In addition, most employees are required to make a member contribution towards retirement, ranging from 7.5%-13.25% of compensation. For more information on these provisions, please contact the personnel office of the hiring agency.

For more information about benefits, please click here.


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