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Strategic Communications Advisor

Strategic Communications Advisor - Transit Division (1373)

Published: January 25, 2023


Ruel Cantos -

Department: Municipal Transportation Agency
Salary range: $137,826.00 - $167,492.00
Role type: Permanent Exempt What does this mean?
Hours: Full-time


The SFMTA, a department of the City and County of San Francisco, oversees Muni, parking and traffic, bicycling, walking and taxis. Over one million people get around San Francisco and rely on us to ensure safe and reliable travel.

Mission: We connect San Francisco through a safe, equitable and sustainable transportation system.

Vision: A city of diverse and vibrant neighborhoods seamlessly connected by safe, reliable, affordable transportation for all.

Division Description
The Transit Division of the SFMTA oversees five transit modes including bus, trolley bus, light rail, historic streetcar, and cable car. The mission of Transit Division is to provide safe, reliable, clean, efficient, accessible, and convenient public transportation to any destination in San Francisco. The Transit division works collaboratively with other SFMTA divisions and other city departments to provide safe and reliable service to our customers. The division maintains 71.5 miles of rail and trolley infrastructure and over 1,000 vehicles.

Transportation connects us all and that’s why the SFMTA works hard every day to build a multimodal transportation system for our city. We strive to ensure that San Francisco residents, workers and visitors have access to convenient, accessible, and equitable transit. Join us to become a part of delivering this mission!

Role description:

APPOINTMENT TYPE: Permanent Exempt - This position is excluded by the Charter from the competitive Civil Service examination process and shall serve at the discretion of the Appointing Officer.

Application Opening Date: 1/25/2023
Application Filing Deadline: 2/09/2023
The Strategic Communications Advisor is a principal advisor to the Director of Transit and produces core messaging with and for Transit Division executives 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 communicate with and engage employees. In collaboration with Transit leadership and communications colleagues, the Strategic Communications Advisor ensures the agency’s communications integrity, ensuring confidence in messages, communication that is supported by facts, and transparency and honesty.

The Strategic Communications Advisor will develop communications strategies and content for internal and external audiences and provide tactical communications advice to the Director of Transit and Transit Division leadership and senior management. They will be responsible for shaping the story of the evolution of transit in San Francisco and ongoing innovation in the way the SFMTA delivers on its values. The Strategic Communications Advisor will wrestle with some of the biggest issues facing the SFMTA and will need to convey both passion for our service and the employees who make our work possible. To succeed, the Strategic Communications Advisor 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 the SFMTA’s work.

  • Develops the Transit Division’s content strategy for web, broadcast, social media and print material that is rooted in the SFMTA’s values. Collaborates with other communicators 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.
  • Writes internal and external communications pieces on behalf of the Director of Transit.
  • Collaborates on the development of internal communications to help keep employees informed, inspired, and connected to the SFMTA’s mission and values.
  • Develops strategy related to multimedia communications and partners with designers to help develop visuals and videos for external and internal use.
  • Leads the execution of communications related to transit crisis events and major incidents. Develops and maintains a playbook and runbooks detailing execution steps needed to deploy communications.
  • Understands the unique needs of the SFMTA Transit Division (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.
  • Oversees, 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.

How to qualify

  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.


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.
  • Leadership role in communications for a highly visible, political agency, institution, or organization.
  • Experience developing successful social change campaigns.
  • Up-to-date knowledge of communications, media practices, technologies, trends, and opportunities.
  • Excellent writing skills including experience writing for senior executives.
  • Direct experience in crisis communications and/or social media strategies.
  • Video production and editing 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.
  • Experience and comfort working through conflict to productive outcomes; excellent facilitation skills.
  • Conversant in transportation and transit concepts, policies and operational challenges.
  • Conversant in modern concepts of equity, inclusion/belonging, and social justice and how these relate to the work of a transportation agency.
  • Experience with the public sector.
  • Knowledge of San Francisco neighborhoods, stakeholders, and politics.
  • Passion for the SFMTA’s work and mission.

What else should I know?

Applicants may be required to submit verification of qualifying education and experience at any point during the recruitment and selection process. More information can be found at: 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.

Selection Process:
Applications will be screened for relevant qualifying experience. Additional screening mechanisms may be used to determine candidates' qualifications. Only those applicants who most closely meet the needs of the Agency will be invited to move forward in the selection process.

For questions or inquiries, please contact: Ruel Cantos, Senior Human Resources Analyst at

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.

CONDITION OF EMPLOYMENT: All City and County of San Francisco employees are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 as a condition of employment. Someone is fully vaccinated when 14 days have passed since they received the final dose of a two-shot vaccine or a dose of a one-shot vaccine. Any new hire must present proof of full vaccination status to be appointed. Any new hire who will be routinely assigned or occasionally enter High-Risk Settings, must provide proof of having received a COVID-19 booster vaccine by March 1, 2022, or once eligible.

The City and County of San Francisco encourages women, minorities and persons with disabilities to apply. Applicants will be considered regardless of their sex, race, age, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition (associated with cancer, a history of cancer, or genetic characteristics), HIV/AIDS status, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, military and veteran status, or other protected category under the law.