Now hiring: Vice President, Land Use and Development

Position summary

Reporting to SGA’s President & CEO, the VP will be responsible for setting the strategic direction for the Land Use and Development (LUD) Team, leading and motivating LUD staff, and helping to create a vision for the LUD team and SGA’s niche in the national conversation on housing, land use, zoning, community revitalization finance (e.g., opportunity zones) and equitable development, including issues of racial equity and economic inclusion. The VP will be a dynamic, proven subject matter expert and thought leader who can be one of the key external faces of SGA overall, and alongside LUD staff, a key external ambassador and fundraiser for LUD’s programs and projects. The VP is a member of SGA’s senior management team.

Organization overview

Smart Growth America (SGA) is a national non-profit organization 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. That vision is our North Star, and we empower communities through technical assistance, advocacy, and thought leadership to realize our vision of livable places, healthy people, and shared prosperity.

Land Use and Development team overview

The mission of the Land Use and Development (LUD) Team is to accelerate the implementation of performance-based and community-driven land use and development practices that create environmentally responsible, socially inclusive, and economically competitive walkable urban places.  The LUD Team is comprised of a variety of multi-faceted programs and projects including SGA’s LOCUS coalition of responsible developers and investors, Form Based Codes Institute, and National Brownfields Coalition, each of which includes an active Steering Committee.

Key responsibilities

Team leader and manager

  • Provide overall leadership to the LUD Team, including setting an overall team vision, strategic priorities, and goals, and overseeing execution of the vision and priorities.
  • Provide direct supervision of program directors and deputies within the LUD team, including staffing, long-range planning, inter-team coordination and budget oversight.
  • Develop and manage team budget and oversee all grants and contracts management.
  • Ensure LUD’s programs, projects & coalitions are managed at the highest level of quality.
  • Attract, recruit, and retain staff including providing mentoring and opportunities of growth.
  • Work closely with SGA’s CEO & team leads to drive SGA vision and strategic priorities.

Policy advocate and thought leader

  • Develop or help develop proposals for legislative, regulatory, and other executive actions at all levels of government to implement the LUD team’s and SGA’s housing, land use, real estate development and community revitalization priorities.
  • Follow and communicate about housing and land use trends and how they impact the LUD team’s and SGA’s priorities, and the implementation of smart growth principles.
  • Develop relationships with policymakers and partners at all levels of government to create champions for LUD and SGA housing, land use and zoning priorities.
  • Craft strategy and tactics for effective advocacy on housing, land use and zoning issues.
  • Communicate the interconnections between housing, transportation and land use, and the implications for achieving racial equity, economic inclusion, and climate resilience.

Fundraiser and external ambassador

  • Raise funds from foundations, governmental agencies, membership, corporations, and other sources to meet LUD team and SGA goals and priorities for advocacy, technical assistance and thought leadership work.
  • Cultivate new sources of revenue, including fee-for-service contracts, by expanding the team’s existing funding base and creating new Team products and services.
  • Build new relationships with partners & peer organizations while continuing to collaborate with existing constituencies to expand the reach and impact of the LUD team & SGA.
  • Speak on behalf of the LUD team and SGA, including workshops, conferences, and other events (outside of global pandemics, this public speaking work will include travel).

Knowledge and skills


  • Commitment to SGA’s North Star and LUD’s mission; including a demonstrable focus on creating racially equitable, economically inclusive and climate resilient communities.
  • Ten or more years’ experience working in the housing and land use fields.
  • Five or more years of experience in a leadership role and in organizational management, including supervision of a team.
  • Knowledge of the interrelationships between land use and other fields or topics, including transportation, infrastructure, equity, and economic development.
  • Knowledge of the legislative process at the federal level, as well as the ability to think strategically and work across party lines.
  • Fundraising experience, and experience managing or overseeing grants.
  • Project management skills and experience.
  • Excellent time management and the ability to work independently with minimal supervision.
  • Excellent written/verbal skills, with a great reputation as a public speaker & thought leader.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, comfort in a collaborative team environment, and experience working with diverse staff, partners, clients, and populations.


  • An advanced degree in public policy, urban planning, real estate, or another related field.
  • Successful experience fundraising at six-figure levels and/or higher, and experience managing or overseeing grants of the same size and scale.
  • Experience developing and managing an organizational-level budget.
  • Knowledge of the legislative process at the local and/or state level.
  • Experience managing and leading membership coalitions.
  • Knowledge and experience working on climate change policy and its intersection with housing and land use issues.

Compensation and location

Salary is commensurate with experience, with a set range of $150,000 – $170,000 per year. The successful candidate who would be in consideration to be compensated near the top of this range would need to have the land use and managerial experience listed above, some fundraising experience, relevant federal legislative experience and one or more of the knowledge and skills listed as preferred above. SGA offers a robust benefits package, including health insurance, 401k, paid vacation, and sick leave. SGA staff are currently working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic (likely through at least the summer of 2021); therefore, the successful candidate will be able to live anywhere in the United States during the remote working period. However, they should be prepared to move to DC within 60 days of notice if the office is reopened. No relocation assistance is offered at this time.

How to apply

Please send the following to [email protected] with “ATTN: Vice President, Land Use and Development” in the subject line: 1) A cover letter of interest that describes your relevant experience and motivation for applying, 2) A resume, and 3) The names, e-mail addresses, and telephone numbers of three applicable references. 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.

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