Vice President, Advocacy & Economic Development

Vice President, Advocacy & Economic Development

Reporting Relationship
President & CEO

Full-time, exempt


The Downtown Seattle Association’s (DSA) mission is to create a healthy, vibrant downtown for the city of Seattle. For over 60 years, DSA has provided vision and leadership on the critical issues and opportunities facing Seattle’s urban core, including economic competitiveness, transportation and mobility, housing and the quality of downtown Seattle’s public realm. As a member based organization, a core activity of DSA is to advance economic competitiveness issues and advocacy for downtown businesses, nonprofits and residents. DSA works closely with city and county leaders, neighborhood organizations, nonprofits and government agencies to advocate for more affordable housing, better transportation options and making downtown Seattle attractive and accessible to businesses, workers, residents and visitors.

The VP of Advocacy & Economic Development for DSA plays a central, executive leadership role to lead this work for the organization. This position reports to the President & CEO.

General Summary

The VP of Advocacy & Economic Development has the overall responsibility of managing the organizational strategy and leading advocacy efforts and economic development initiatives.

Essential Duties and Tasks

  • Lead a team to develop and manage all activities related to economic development, government affairs and public policy initiatives
  • Drive the process to develop DSA’s legislative agendas by engaging with members, board of directors and business leadership
  • Develop and execute strategies and related activities to ensure DSA’s public affairs agenda and legislative priorities are accomplished
  • Works closely with the DSA board of directors to establish the organization’s position on numerous, emergent public policy issues and ballot measures
  • Represent DSA and DSA’s membership during legislative hearings and testify as appropriate
    Drive the content of DSA policy and advocacy programming and events
  • Lead public affairs and economic development team and ensure their work and activities align with DSA’s mission and agenda
  • Develop and maintain strong working relations with elected officials, senior public agency staff, media and other policy makers
  • Develop and maintain strong working relationships with other downtown groups whose interests are aligned with and/or overlap with DSA’s own public policy concerns including with local chambers, economic development groups, transportation advocates, retail and hospitality associations, developers, social service and affordable housing providers and arts and culture organizations
  • Participate as key member of DSA’s Senior Leadership Team with influence in shaping overall strategic planning, budgeting, direction and work program for organization

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree plus five (5) years working in public policy, government relations or economic development. In addition, the following are also minimum qualifications:
  • Demonstrated leadership skills exhibited in the public policy arena.
  • Familiarity with city and county government structures and legislative and political processes. Familiarity with similar state and federal political processes are also desired.
  • Experience with grassroots advocacy, community organizing and lobbying.
  • Ability to exercise strategic judgment and diplomacy in a wide variety of public situations and high-profile issues.
  • Ability to work with a variety of constituencies including business leaders, public officials and community representatives.
  • Extensive experience and knowledge of community issues.
  • Strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Strong collaboration and consensus building skills.
  • Strong interpersonal and negotiation skills.
  • Well-developed presentation and facilitation skills.
  • Ability to effectively represent DSA, its mission and values.

Specialized Skills

Experience with the following types of software and/or Windows-based applications is preferred: word processing, databases, internet, email.


  • Reflect the Downtown Seattle Association’s core values of Collaboration, Perseverance, Innovation, Excellence and Integrity
  • Deep commitment to equity and social justice with an understanding of the role that racism, ableism, sexism and other forms of bias and oppression play in perpetuating inequity
  • Commitment to growth mindset, collaborative leadership and a learning-based philosophy
  • Humility, sense of humor, comfort with ambiguity, and servant leadership
  • Ability to weave and work within all DSA mission areas associated with creating a healthy, vibrant downtown.
  • Willingness and comfort to engage with evolving and shifting portfolio of job duties


Competitive annual salary DOE, plus medical and dental benefits, health insurance, paid time off, short- and long-term disability, 401K retirement plan and annual ORCA transit pass.

To Apply

Email 1) a copy of your resume, 2) a cover letter providing more in-depth information on the experience and qualities you would bring to the job, and 3) the names, addresses and phone numbers of three references to: We are committed to creating conditions where all candidates are able to fully express their talents and potential and invite you to let us know if there are any accommodations that we can provide to support you in your pursuit of this role.

Apply Today

The Downtown Seattle Association is an Equal Opportunity Employer.