Director of Community Engagement with Parks California


Parks California is an ambitious new organization working to ensure that our state’s parks thrive. From redwood groves and desert springs to lighthouses and ghost towns, we’re working with our partners to make California parks more welcoming, accessible, and relevant to all visitors. Managing these assets for nearly 40 million residents and millions more annual visitors takes collective work. Park managers cannot do it alone. Parks California will harness skills and resources—and California’s renowned ingenuity—to help our state, regional, and local parks thrive and evolve. Formed after extensive consultation with hundreds of stakeholders, park executives, and philanthropic leaders, Parks California will stimulate and support innovative public-private partnerships that raise the visibility of California’s parks and their partners, inspire passionate support for public lands, and set trends for the future of parks. Parks California will attract new public and private funding, and provide expertise and entrepreneurial approaches to high-priority projects and programs developed and implemented in collaboration with the Department of Parks and Recreation (Department) and other park districts across the state. Parks California will coalesce a diverse set of partners to make this vision a reality. Parks California is committed to supporting and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout the organization and its programs.


Parks California seeks a Director of Community Engagement to build and deepen the relationships among parks, communities, grassroots organizations, and the diverse constituents they all share. This role will be responsible for forming relationships with communities new to parks or who have the opportunity to become regular users and strong advocates for parks in California. Working with our program staff, this position will be responsible for helping Parks California identify, understand, and address the barriers to park access, use, and relevancy faced by key communities. This position will also work collaboratively with parks, communities, and existing local organizations to identify opportunities and identify programs to increase the use and enjoyment of parks by a broad spectrum of residents and visitors. This role will be simultaneously focused at the local level to identify successful programs and connect directly with people where they live, work, and play; and inform our work at the state level on how solutions might scale to serve larger needs through the California parks network. The successful candidate in this role must be an excellent listener and will require strong emotional intelligence and the ability to quickly form meaningful connections with diverse constituencies. This opportunity has the potential to impact the experiences of millions of visitors to California’s parks for decades to come. The Director Community Engagement will report to the Vice President of Programs and include significant travel throughout the state.


Help Parks California understand local context and connect with key local stakeholders

  • Identify key stakeholders and local community resources and service providers in target locations.
  • Conduct preliminary research into park use patterns and barriers to access encountered by local communities and specific demographic groups.
  • Develop a systems map of stakeholders and existing strategies and engagement models.
  • Work with communities and stakeholders to identify opportunities to adapt existing approaches or develop new programs to increase engagement.
  • Advocate for key constituencies within the Parks California decision making process.

Community engagement and connection

  • Help to connect existing community, park partner, and other service groups to Parks California projects and support opportunities.
  • Build community support for Parks California and its partners.

Work with local park sites and groups around the state

  • Work with local parks to implement programs and solutions which benefit communities, key constituencies, and connect Californians and visitors to parks.
  • Build a network of park-connected organizations statewide to enable collaboration and information sharing.


The ideal candidate may come from a variety of career pathways. Critical to success will be a passion for the mission of the organization and a dedication to partnering with and advancing the interests of diverse local communities. The ideal candidate will be a strong communicator and an active and empathetic listener who is able to build strong and enduring relationships. They must be collaborative, creative, flexible, and comfortable working in a startup environment. Experience working with diverse community groups and underserved communities, and a deeply-rooted commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is essential.

The following are desired qualities:

  • Success in growing and supporting multiple networks of individuals and organizations collaborating to advance common priorities.
  • Diplomatic approach and adept at engaging, understanding, and integrating the needs of local communities and organizations into larger projects and initiatives.
  • Experience working collaboratively with large groups of diverse stakeholders.
  • Strong cultural competence, interpersonal skills, and the ability to resolve conflicts and find common ground.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills and comfort with public speaking.
  • Spanish fluency.
  • Proven program leadership skills and the ability to inspire and motivate others.  
  • Strong project management skills.
  • Adaptability and flexibility in the face of changing conditions; tolerance for adversity and uncertainty.
  • Sense of humor, humility, and confidence.


A competitive compensation package, including a comprehensive benefits package, will be offered based on experience.


Interested candidates should apply via email by sending a cover letter describing their qualifications that match the position criteria and what they will bring to the role, along with a resume, to Ashley Booker at with the subject line “Parks California, Director of Community Engagement Search.”


More information on Parks California can be found at For additional information regarding this opportunity, please contact Ashley Booker Administrative Assistant Parks California

Parks California is an Equal Opportunity Employer. We believe that our overall effectiveness is enhanced when equity and inclusiveness are practiced and protected throughout our organizational governance, culture, and staffing. We are committed to leadership in and serving as a catalyst for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in parks communities.