Director, Government Affairs

San Francisco, CA
Full Time
Government Affairs

Reporting to Chief Operating Officer and Head of Government Affairs, the Director, Government Affairs provides leadership and management of the institution’s legislative and advocacy work. The position is primarily responsible for developing and executing the Academy’s external strategy at the state and federal level as well as providing assistance to the COO on local matters.

Direct reports: Government Affairs Manager

Come join a team dedicated to the Academy’s mission, vision and values! Currently, the Academy has a new strategic plan including three initiatives – Hope for Reefs, Thriving California, and Resilient Islands – that leverage biodiversity science, environmental learning, and collaborative engagement to regenerate fragile ecosystems around the world. Learn more at

We hope you are inspired by what we do and are excited to contribute to our mission. The Academy is looking for candidates who do great work, and we know they may come from a number of different backgrounds and experiences. We encourage you to apply even if you do not believe you meet every ­one of the qualifications for the position.

The position is hybrid, a combination of on-site/work from home, remote in CA or remote in the Washington D.C. area and can change as business needs warrant. The candidate must easily be able to work onsite at the Academy in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco when needed. Candidates are required to have up-to-date COVID-19 vaccination, including receiving a booster shot, as a condition of employment, absent qualifying exemptions in accordance with applicable laws. Individuals receiving a conditional offer of employment from the California Academy of Sciences will be provided the full text of the vaccination policy.

The Director of Government Affairs will lead the Museum's governmental agenda. They will recommend,  develop,  and implement, strategies on policy, regulatory, and funding opportunities at the City, State, and Federal levels.

The Director will collaborate with all levels of government and with colleagues across the Museum on key institutional objectives, to obtain public support and funding for the Museum's scientific research, educational programming, exhibitions, and operations. Also will develop and leverage internal and external partnerships and communication networks to maximize the Museum's presence in the City and State, as well as nationally.

General duties include:

  • Heads the Museum's Federal, state, and local government relations, including grants, earmarks, and other sources of revenue, as well as any relationship-building, advocacy, and lobbying efforts.
  • Advocates in support of the Museum and its exhibits, programs, and curricula by meeting with Federal, state, and local government officials.
  • Partner with senior management and leadership on strategic planning for known and potential regulatory activities related to the business and industry.
  • Builds and cultivates professional relationships with members of federal, state, and local government entities and agencies.
  • Research and monitor government activities that could affect the organization's mission and vision.
  • Directs the policy platform and stakeholder relationships to further the department’s objectives.
  • Helps raise public funds annually for existing Academy projects from government sources, pending budget allocations and funding levels
  • Identify opportunities and develop competitive government grant proposals,  for a variety of institutional programs, exhibits, and curricula annually.
  • Management and development of the Government Affairs Department staff
  • Joins trade associations and industry committees and seeks leadership roles
  • Collaborates with industry advocates to build areas of common interest
  • Participates and testifies before government committees in support of the organization and/or industry
  • Introduces legislative and public policy changes that will support company operations
  • Follow all Academy safety regulations
  • Other duties as assigned

Required Skills/Abilities:

  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal, negotiation, and influencing skills.
  • Strong political skills and understanding of political processes.
  •  Has an established network of government contacts at local, state, and federal levels.
  • Strong analytical and problem-solving skills.
  • Outstanding people skills and a strong substantive ability to converse on complex public policy.
  • A keen sense of protocol and the ability to work comfortably and effectively with top-level government officials and with the senior leadership


  • Bachelor's degree in Business Administration, Political Science, Public Relations, or related field required; MBA or law degree preferred.
  • Ten years of professional experience developing and/or implementing policy, advocacy, or government affairs
  • 5 years in a supervisory or leadership position.


  • Ability to work as part of a team or collaborate well with team members, and external collaborators to accomplish mutual goals.
  • Ability to work efficiently and communicate with staff, cross-functional teams, and external customers from different identities and experiences.
  • Humility:  Customer-service minded, attention to detail to ensure projects are completed with satisfaction from all parties involved
  • Passion for the Academy mission: Knowledge of and passion for the Academy’s mission, vision, and strategic plan.
  • Demonstrated commitment to equity and inclusion

WORK ENVIRONMENT:  Reasonable accommodations will be made to enable individuals with disabilities to meet the job’s essential functions. Include any language that describes the position's regular work environment. While performing the duties of this job, the employee is frequently required to stand, sit, use a computer, and communicate on the phone, in person, and online meetings/calls. Must be able to perform repetitive motions 75% of the time.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

APPLICATION PROCESS: Please upload a resume and complete the brief online application.

The California Academy of Sciences will give full consideration for employment to all qualified applicants with criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (SF Police Code, Article 49).

The California Academy of Sciences is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to ensure that all employees and applicants receive equal consideration and treatment, regardless of race, color, creed, gender (including gender identity or gender expression), religion, marital or domestic partner status, age, place of birth, national origin or ancestry, physical, mental or medical disability, height or weight, sex, sexual orientation, citizenship, military service status, veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by state or federal law or local ordinance.


Apply for this position

Apply with Indeed
We've received your resume. Click here to update it.
Attach resume as .pdf, .doc, .docx, .odt, .txt, or .rtf (limit 5MB) or Paste resume

Paste your resume here or Attach resume file

To comply with government Equal Employment Opportunity and/or Affirmative Action reporting regulations, we are requesting (but NOT requiring) that you enter this personal data. This information will not be used in connection with any employment decisions, and will be used solely as permitted by state and federal law. Your voluntary cooperation would be appreciated. Learn more.