Director of Local Leadership

POSTED Jan 12 2017

Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance
Boston, MA
Full Time

The Director of Local Leadership at the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance is a new senior-level staff position for an experienced practitioner who will lead outreach to local officials and other key stakeholders around the state, engage them in policy campaigns, and help develop and deliver a suite of services to address their needs.

The Director will frequently meet with local leaders in the field to discuss growth and development challenges in each region of the Commonwealth and identify solutions. He or she will be a “circuit rider” strengthening MSGA’s statewide presence while broadening support among mayors, managers, planners, community-based organizations, and regional business leaders. The Director of Local Leadership will contribute to the training of local smart growth activists, bring “bottom-up” policy ideas to the MSGA policy team for consideration, and pilot any fee-for-service ventures. This position reports to the Executive Director. 

Areas of Responsibility

Outreach to Local Leaders (50% time)

  • Support MSGA’s policy campaigns by conducting one-on-one meetings with local elected officials, planning and economic development directors, community-based organizations, regional business leaders and others. These meetings will support existing coalition relationships and build new ones.
  • Secure local endorsements for MSGA’s policy initiatives.
  • Articulate how growth and development issues vary across regions of Massachusetts and help ensure that MSGA’s proposals take these distinctions into account.
  • Bring new policy ideas and local best practices to the attention of MSGA staff and Steering Committee.
  • Explore the feasibility of establishing a Local Leaders Council and hosting events like regional town halls to engage local leaders on smart growth issues.


Place-Based Services (25% time)

  • Develop a suite of local services that could include the following:
    • Deliver “Smart Growth 101” talks that introduce the principles behind smart and equitable growth patterns.
    • Develop presentations and deliver workshops that reduce misperceptions about the costs and benefits of smart growth strategies (“myth-busting”).
    • Facilitate community conversations on growth and development to build consensus in advance of planning and zoning efforts (“table-setting” and “pre-planning”).
    • Present workshops on district management tools, including CBDs, BIDs, and parking management districts.


Support Local Smart Growth Campaigns (25% time)

  • Work with MSGA members and allies to identify significant smart growth planning, zoning, and development throughout the state.
  • Support the successful implementation of these initiatives by working with local advocacy efforts.
  • In collaboration with the Great Neighborhoods Director, develop and deliver training to smart growth activists.


  • Solid understanding of local planning, zoning, and real estate issues. Must be passionate about smart growth, natural resource protection, and equitable development.
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills essential. Must have the ability to manage conversations with mayors, town managers, legislators, business leaders, social justice groups, communities of color, and others. Exceptional public speaking and facilitation skills required.
  • Ability to work independently and travel as needed to communities throughout the state. Must have a driver’s license.
  • Practitioner experience in community development, organizing, planning, placemaking, real estate or related fields are all invited.
  • Bachelor’s degree required.
  • Comfort with technology and using platforms related to social media, Microsoft Office, Google tools, databases, and other online tools.
  • Ability to work some evenings and weekends, as necessary.

Application Details

  • Please send resume and cover letter expressing interest and qualifications to Please include “Director of Municipal Leadership” in the subject line. 
  • Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis. 
  • This is a full-time, benefits-eligible position, but willing to consider part-time, nontraditional, or consulting arrangements.
  • Salary negotiable based on skills and experience.


The Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Candidates of color are encouraged to apply.

About the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance

The Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance (MSGA) promotes healthy and diverse communities, protects critical environmental resources and working landscapes, and supports equitable community development and urban reinvestment. It is composed of the following organizations: American Institute of Architects-Massachusetts (AIA-MA), Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), Environmental League of Massachusetts (ELM), Fair Housing Center of Greater Boston (FHCGB), Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC-Boston), Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations (MACDC), Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA), and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC).