Now hiring: LOCUS Policy Director

LOCUS, a program of Smart Growth America (SGA), is seeking a highly skilled and motivated individual with deep knowledge, experience and interest in land use and housing policy at the federal level to help lead LOCUS’ policy work. This high profile position reports to the Vice President of Land Use and Development and is part of SGA’s Land Use and Development team. The Director will work in close collaboration with the LOCUS member leadership, as well as fellow policy staff at Smart Growth America such as policy staff within our Transportation for America program.

Organization overview

About Smart Growth America

Smart Growth America (SGA) is a national non-profit organization, headquartered in Washington, DC, that envisions a country where no matter where you live, or who you are, you can enjoy living in a place that is healthy, prosperous, and resilient. We empower communities through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership to realize our vision of livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity.


LOCUS is a member-based coalition of triple bottom line real estate developers and investors committed to advancing equitable, sustainable development through advocacy. LOCUS brings together purpose-driven real estate developers, investors and partners to affect smart growth policy and outcomes. A key focus for the coalition is transit-oriented development and advocating for policies which will lead to development that advances equity and addresses the climate crisis through mitigation and adaptation. LOCUS enables smart growth development that strengthens community, prosperity, and environmental health by:

  • Building and engaging a diverse coalition – driven by the private sector – around issues of equitable, sustainable development;
  • Advocating for development, housing and land use policies that catalyze federal, state, and local change;
  • Providing members with the resources and tools needed to drive policy change in their own communities.

Key areas of responsibility

Advocacy and research

Working in close collaboration with the Land Use and Development VP, LOCUS member leadership and Land Use and Development team, the Policy Director will:

  • Understand how policy can support the private sector to deliver smart growth, considering opportunities for equitable transit-oriented development (TOD), attainable housing and inclusive neighborhood development;
  • Develop proposals for legislative, regulatory and other executive actions at all levels of government to advance smart growth;
  • Craft strategies for effective advocacy, manage federal advocacy projects and track and analyze key legislation;
  • Analyze and communicate about land use, housing and development policy trends and how they impact smart growth, managing research and communications products such as e-blasts and member policy memos;
  • Develop and manage strategies for direct LOCUS member meetings and engagement such as calls for input, visits with elected officials and programming Hill Days;
  • Represent LOCUS and SGA as an active participant in coalitions related to land use, housing and development;
  • Develop relationships with policymakers and partners at all levels of government and partner advocacy organizations to create champions for smart growth; 
  • Manage and support technical assistance projects by serving as an instructor on policy related issues and best practices in the field and managing projects for and relationships with technical assistance partners; and
  • Closely coordinate with and identify synergies with the Transportation 4 America policy agenda, as well as SGA’s other coalitions and constituencies such as the National Brownfields Coalition and the Form Based Codes Institute.

Membership engagement, communications, management & fundraising

  • Contribute to, manage or lead,  LOCUS members’ meetings including Steering Committee meetings and all-members meetings;
  • Develop external programming focused on advocacy and policy for LOCUS members’ meetings and programming such as the LOCUS Summit;
  • Contribute to, manage or lead LOCUS membership outreach activities to connect with and understand the needs of current LOCUS members and engage with new companies and potential members;
  • Collaborate with the SGA communications team and other LOCUS staff  to produce engaging content for the website and reports; 
  • Speak on behalf of LOCUS and its coalition, including workshops, conferences and other events;
  • Manage colleagues’ work, initially on a project basis with potential for a direct report;
  • Seek out funding for policy work including writing and managing grant applications;
  • Manage grants, grant reporting on project budgets related to LOCUS’ policy work.

Knowledge and skills


  • Commitment to SGA and LOCUS’ North Star, with a demonstrated commitment to advancing racial equity;
  • At least seven years experience working in land use policy or a closely related policy field;
  • Knowledge of the relationship between land use, development, housing, equity, climate and economic development;
  • Knowledge of the legislative process at multiple levels of government, as well as the ability to think strategically and work across party lines;
  • Ability to analyze the land use field and spot emerging trends;
  • Commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion;
  • Excellent written/verbal skills, with a high degree of accuracy and attention to detail;
  • Project management skills and experience;
  • Excellent time management and ability to prioritize workload; and
  • Comfortable with working in a dynamic and collaborative team environment.


  • An advanced degree in public policy, political science, planning or other related field;
  • Experience with membership-based organizations;
  • Experience working within a state or local government;
  • Staff management skills and experience; and
  • Experience fundraising and in managing grants.

Compensation and location

The salary range for this position is $90,000-110,000. The successful candidate who would be in consideration to be compensated near the top of this range would need to have more than 7 years of experience, specific legislative or advocacy experience and one or more of the qualifications listed as preferred above. 

SGA has an entrepreneurial and innovative workplace culture where employees work collaboratively to achieve the mission with a focus on equity. SGA offers a generous employee benefits package featuring a fully paid medical plan, optional dental and vision coverage, 401k with a strong company contribution, company-paid life and disability insurance, three weeks’ vacation in the first year and 12 paid holidays.

This position reports to the VP of Land Use and Development and is based in Washington, DC. No relocation assistance is offered at this time.  All SGA staff are currently working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and you may live anywhere in the US  during our remote work period. However, all staff are required to move to the DC metropolitan area within 60 days of notice that the DC office will be reopening.  All SGA employees must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

How to apply

Please send a cover letter and resume to [email protected] with “ATTN: LOCUS Policy Director Application” in the subject line. In your cover letter, please indicate how you’ve learned of this opportunity.

SGA is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion/creed, sex, national origin, disability, genetic information, pregnancy, veteran or active military status, alienage or citizenship status, arrest or conviction record, credit history, salary history, caregiver status, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or partnership status, familial status, unemployment status, status as a victim of domestic violence, sexual violence or any other status protected by applicable law.