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Job Details

Community Affairs Director

Company name
City of Seattle,

Seattle, WA

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Position Description

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) provides essential utility services to a rapidly growing and increasingly complex city and region. With more people living in Seattle than ever before, we face a range of new challenges, requirements and responsibilities. This is an exciting time for us, as we embrace the challenge of balancing environmental enhancement, service excellence and compliance with affordability. We are exploring and sharing approaches to meeting new and future demands.

SPU strives to be a

Community Centered Utility

working to make Seattle the best place to live for everyone. We deliver high quality, vital services, across four lines of business: providing water, solid waste, drainage and wastewater services for Seattle residents and businesses. We also provide drinking water for 1.3 million regional customers in Seattle and the other municipalities. Our customers depend on us to deliver high quality, reliable utility services and to provide value for dollar. With that goal in mind, we pursue everything we do with the following core areas of focus:

Achieve Excellence in Core Service Delivery

Increase Affordability and Accountability

Improve Investment Value

Enhance Public Health and Environment

Ensure Equity and Inclusion

Expand our Impact through Strong Partnerships

We have an exciting opportunity for a nimble and creative individual who shares our interest in optimizing a Community-Centered operating model to serve as

Community Affairs


. Reporting to the Chief Administrative Officer, the Community Affairs Director will drive communications for the organization's future and be at the forefront of demonstrating how effective communications strategies can catalyze community centered results.

Communication and partnerships are essential to advancing SPU's goals to advance equity and inclusion, protect public health and our environment, ensure affordability and accountability, and provide excellent core services. In addition to developing and implementing strategic communications across all platforms, the Community Affairs Director will provide leadership, guidance, and direction to a staff of 10 to 14 communications and partnership development professionals whose skills include strategic communications, editorial and print production, social media, media relations, partnership development, and digital communications.

Collectively the team will position and support senior leaders across SPU to advance sustainability focused policy & community-centered utility campaigns using all communications platforms.

In addition, this individual will oversee the development and implementation of strategies designed to attract ever-growing numbers of funders, advocates, and interested others to push and support policies, programs and partnerships that will bring opportunities to the communities we serve, including Seattle's opportunity communities.

Job Responsibilities

Transition the existing talented communications group to a community affairs group which is well positioned to proactively engage with a broad range of partners and communities to:

Collaborate with senior leaders on the creation of a comprehensive internal and external communications plan that will enable SPU to maximize our impact and accountability

Be an advocate for the people SPU serves through understanding their concerns and working with them, partners, sister agencies and SPU staff to best address community interests and equitable service

Lead and mentor our team of dedicated communications professionals to help them achieve success in their roles; work with individual team members to support their professional development goals; be an advocate for the communications team

Be a communications visionary, consistently bringing a comprehensive understanding of how communications trends, best practices and technologies bear on the utility's work and how they might be best employed, given our customers' goals and the utility's resources

Communicate complex and powerful ideas to diverse audiences, engaging internal and external stakeholders in ways that foster a sense of community

Act as a strategic communications counsel, partnering with senior leaders to build internal and external content such as fact sheets, standard communications operating procedures, position papers, marketing materials, press releases, presentations, reports, signage, infographics, and digital resources for dissemination across various communications platforms with a keen eye for specific SPU audiences and constituents

Oversee the development of effective messaging across the organization to promote the SPU mission, vision, and values

Enhance communications standards and systems including identity and style guides, social media content policies, and inter-departmental workflows

Train cross-functional teams around communications best practices and systems

Develop and coordinate external community outreach and engagement programs to facilitate community input, engagement and activities on issues spanning across the utility's many areas of responsibility

Develop and coordinate internal communications and engagement platforms and programs to best connect staff across the utility, to ensure their input and engagement as well as understanding of departmental events and initiatives; to support their morale; and to facilitate their alignment with Mayoral, Council and departmental initiatives and goals

Develop strong partnerships with foundations, agencies, non-profits, community groups and others to align and leverage investments and efforts

Strengthen and oversee all communications including media relations and management, social media, emergency messaging and employee communications with a focus on proactive approaches that encourage partnership with the communities that SPU serves

Work closely with all SPU organizational branches and divisions - including SPU's Environmental Justice and Service Equity Division, Corporate Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs Division and Human Resources - to ensure alignment and mutual support across divisions whose success is dependent upon one another's partnership.


Ten years' experience in external affairs, communications, and/or marketing with progressive leadership responsibility and a track record of creating innovative communications plans and strategies that employ measurable tools and tactics; experience working with national progressive policy/advocacy organizations is especially valued

Excellent project and team management skills, alongside a profound enjoyment for leading and mentoring individuals in their professional development

Excellent analytical, written, and verbal communication and presentation skills, with proven success tailoring messages to a variety of audiences, particularly in translating complex policy and advocacy work to a diverse range of stakeholders

Keen understanding of promoting thought-leadership to strengthen an organization's identity and support differentiation in a competitive market

Ability to develop and enhance strong communications standards, workflows, and identity guidelines while disseminating content across multiple mediums, including social media, newsletters, and more

An innovative and strategic approach to identifying new opportunities to advance the mission of an organization through strategies that position it to be a thought leader, develop new partnerships, and elevate organizational responsiveness and connectedness

Independent thinking with openness and excitement for new ideas; passion for collegial team environment and working with multiple colleagues on different projects at the same time

Intellectual curiosity coupled with a sense of humor

An entrepreneurial spirit that thrives in a changing, fast-paced, high-performing world-class organization

Media relations

Crisis communications

Bachelor's degree required; Master's degree, or similar advanced degree preferred.

Offers of employment are contingent on a review of criminal history and verification of information provided by the applicant as part of the application process.

Additional Information

In addition to the above qualifications, the ideal candidate will also possess:

Experience in public affairs, lobbying, community organizing, or other campaign/political work

Management experience with a sound knowledge of utility and community practices

Familiarity and relationships with Seattle community leaders, community organizations, and elected officials

Experience with on-camera interviews

Multi or bilingual (Spanish preferred).

The City of Seattle offers a comprehensive benefits package including vacation, holiday and sick leave as well as medical, dental, vision, life and long-term disability insurance for employees and their dependents.

More information about employee benefits is available on the City's website at: (please use the apply button below)

Company info

City of Seattle,
Website :

Company Profile
The Civil Division represents the City in lawsuits and advises City officials as they develop programs, projects, policies, and legislation. The sections within the Civil Division include torts (claims), land use, environment, labor and employment, contracts, and utilities.

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