Yerba Buena Center for the Arts (YBCA) is seeking a Head
of External Relations to add to its leadership team. YBCA
is a welcoming living art space that is committed to bringing
together artists, cultures, and communities, in bold, urgent, and
accessible ways to deepen understanding of—and engagement in—the
essential issues of our time and place. The Head of External
Relations is a new overarching role for YBCA, in that it brings
Fundraising, Government Relations, Communications, Public
Relations, and Marketing under one umbrella for the very first time
in the organization’s history. YBCA will be looking to the
successful candidate to bridge the work of the Center to a variety
of audiences, communities, and stakeholder groups, and to work
cross-functionally to focus storytelling efforts across all of
Work Shouldn’t Suck has been retained to assist with this
search, and we are currently inviting expressions of interest from
fierce and grounded individuals who are ready to answer the call
for the radical levels of hope and repair that are required in this
time. We are excited to hear from candidates who have energy to
work as a part of a team in transition, are compassionate leaders,
and skilled storytellers. YBCA is committed to diversity in its
programming and in creating a work culture and environment that is
reflective of the San Francisco Bay Area demography. The Center
actively welcomes and encourages applicants from equity seeking
groups who represent dimensions of difference that include — but
are not limited to — age, national origin, ethnicity, race,
religion, ability, sexual orientation, gender, or political
YBCA will consider for employment all qualified applicants with
criminal histories in a manner consistent with the requirements of
the San Francisco Fair Chance Ordinance (SF Police Code, Article
Opened to the public in 1993, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts
was founded as the cultural anchor of San Francisco’s Yerba Buena
Gardens neighborhood. Located at 701 Mission Street in downtown San
Francisco, CA, the office building and workspaces are wheelchair
accessible. Read more about YBCA
YBCA prioritizes above all the safety, health and wellbeing of
its staff, collaborating artists and partners, and community. They
strictly follow the COVID-19 guidance of local and state public
health agencies, OSHA, and the CDC to ensure that their protocols
address and mitigate the risk of illness and injury and promote
wellbeing. Please refer to the Application Package for details
about YBCA’s current hybrid work policy and health and safety plan
amid COVID. As of January 1, 2023, staff will be working
onsite as least 3 days per week.
The Yerba Buena Center
for the Arts is a California non-profit, public benefit
corporation founded in 1993, that is committed to the
transformative power of broad, boundary-breaking participation in
art. As a first-class cultural facility with ancillary uses
including education, fundraising, convenings, and social events
related directly to arts and culture:
- YBCA offers, develops, and supports all forms of art through
multidisciplinary participatory experiences, civic
initiatives, community partnerships, investments, and
- It’s an innovative home for the region’s artists,
creatives, and communities, supporting their capacity to
- They promote proximity and spark dynamic
- Their priorities and programming are directly shaped by
the Bay Area’s kaleidoscope of
In 2020, with the onset of the global pandemic YBCA shifted into
virtual operations and responded with a focus on providing
much-needed relief to artists in these difficult and complex times.
The organization’s pandemic recovery efforts created opportunities
for equity-driven digital and investment work that profoundly
changed the DNA of YBCA.
Today, YBCA is simultaneously navigating at least three
transitions: a leadership transition, a move to increasing and
renewing in-person activities across both buildings (and
integration of new activities), and the shifting role that arts
institutions play in society. YBCA stated that, “It is critical
that we take stock of history and clarify, for ourselves and the
public, what we do (and don’t do), why and how we will continue to
have impact in the communities we serve, and refine our logic,
story, and financial resilience while building our team to make
2023 marks YBCA’s 30th anniversary – a milestone they look
forward to celebrating with clarity of purpose, an inviting
program, and the wherewithal to do great work at the intersection
of art and social justice. This is an incredible opportunity to
rescript YBCA and understand the impact this organization has been
able to contribute to San Francisco, as the place where cutting
edge, experimental art invites people to connect to, and be changed
by, one another through evocative creative experiences—in
collective pursuit of a better way forward.
Since 2021, YBCA has been led by its Chief Executive Officer,
Fenske-Bahat. In addition to the CEO and the newly-created Head
of External Relations, the other roles currently on the leadership
The Board and Search Committee acknowledge that the Head of
External Relations is a new leadership position within a structure
in transition and as such will require care, humility, and
investment from the whole team in order to be successful. They are
dedicated to providing this support.
Key Responsibilities of the Role
- Interface with fellow senior leaders on strategic and
- Lead financial planning, management, and budgeting for the
External Relations functions. Maintain a strong situational
awareness of financial capabilities, risks, and trends. Work with
the Chief Finance Officer to maintain fiscal awareness and
- Foster collaboration and guide continuous improvement within a
large team and promote cross-functionally throughout the
- Team design: Clarify roles, build cohesive structure,
understand knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) required in the
team and create plans to train/develop/upskill existing staff.
- Implement feedback loops and practice active listening to help
the team feel heard and make evidence-based decisions.
- Forge excellent working relationships with program directors,
project managers, and curators, and develop a thorough – and always
evolving – knowledge of YBCA’s programs and activities.
COMMUNICATIONS & PUBLIC RELATIONS
- Serve as a key external face of YBCA, doing the work of
connecting what’s happening in the sector, and city, to what’s
happening within YBCA.
- Build and maintain strong local relationships and encourage a
sense of belonging that draws community members to YBCA.
- Scale stories of YBCA’s hyperlocal activity to the broader
- Work across internal organizational boundaries to build the
infrastructure, processes, and structures that facilitate
communication, unite YBCA narratives and build alignment in
storytelling for multiple audiences.
MARKETING & BRAND
- Assess the needs of programs, community investment, and funding
functions of YBCA and determine how marketing works in relational
service to these activities.
- Ecosystem development: Refine the organization’s understanding
of the longer arc stories YBCA should tell and the opportunities to
share the shorter arc experiences.
- Develop and build consensus and a consistent tone for the YBCA
brand, visual identity, and voice.
- Connect deeper, cohesive points of view to inform marketing
activities to draw participation and attendance, and to facilitate
- Identify and prioritize broader trends in marketing,
technology, and storytelling to ensure marketing strategies are
current and engaging as many audiences as possible.
- Discover revenue generating opportunities.
- Collaborate internally with IT, facilities, and other
departments to understand compliance, health and safety, legal and
contractual risks linked to use of technological platforms and
public facing events.
- Collaborate with internal stakeholders to understand how YBCA’s
activities align with the communities they serve in order to
develop an institutional fundraising strategy that meets YBCA’s
revenue goals, securing financial support from diverse funding
- Acts as a bridge between the interests of YBCA’s development,
funders, artists, and community stakeholders to manage, translate,
and align priorities.
- Support grant writers and fundraisers by ensuring access to
current organizational identity frameworks and documents to ensure
a storytelling approach to fundraising.
- Actively participate in the identification and cultivation of
strong, long-term development relationships, and the solicitation
and stewardship of funders.
- Serve as YBCA’s primary contact for development campaigns and
high profile donors, and attend YBCA events to cultivate and meet
potential funders on behalf of the organization.
- Coordinates with the CEO, leadership team, and YBCA Board to
maximize presence and representation of YBCA externally in the
community and philanthropic spaces.
- Collaborate with Events, Facilities, and Programs on related
events and productions to support event management.
A full job description, including detailed information about
YBCA’s activities and operations, the position compensation and
benefits package, its current work plan amid COVID-19, and a myriad
of other items of interest can be found in the Application
Who Should Apply?
Research shows that folx from groups closest to the
harms of institutional racism and inequality often apply to jobs
only if they meet 100% of the qualifications. We believe that no
one meets 100% of the listed qualifications. We are less
concerned about whether you’ve done everything on a laundry list of
specific things and more interested in cultivating a pool of
candidates who want to join a connected, mission-driven,
hard-working team of practitioners driven by creativity, curiosity,
justice, and equity.
Ultimately, we are seeking applicants who have a blend –
in some way – of the following:
- In-depth understanding and practice in the public
sphere and at least one or more specializations including
Fundraising, Marketing, Communications, and/or External/Public
Engagement, evidenced by a relevant combination of at
least 5-7 years’ experience, related certification, accreditation,
or a degree in a related field of study.
- An anti-racism and accessibility lens
including, i.e., ongoing personal learning and development, an
understanding of history and its implications and accountability to
contemporary social justice issues, familiarity with integrating
equity principles into all aspects of organizational strategy, and
a caring, inclusive, facilitative leadership style.
- Personal experience that relates to YBCA –
i.e., as a champion of multidisciplinary, multiperspective,
multicultural and multilingual art, as a San Franciscan, or someone
invested in a just, equitable and inclusive region and a holistic
understanding of the communities YBCA serves, as someone with a
passion for working in organizations seeking to create positive
If much of this describes you, we encourage you to apply.
Compensation & Benefits
The salary for this position is between $180,000-$220,000 based
on full-time hours, and includes a competitive benefits package
that is available to all employees.
YBCA is in the midst of an organization-wide compensation
assessment process in service of increasing pay equity and
transparency throughout the organization. A range above is provided
because, at the time this position posting went live, the
assessment’s preliminary information had been received but not the
full and final compensation levels.
In addition, reimbursement of relocation expenses, as required
by the successful candidate, will be provided. Please see the
Application Package for more information about benefits.
Application & Hiring Process
- PHASE ONE: Expression of Interest. Interested
individuals are encouraged to send an expression of interest — in
any format they choose — to Tim Cynova and Katrina Donald at
or by submitting an application using the “Apply Now” button
and/or audio applications are welcome in addition to written
expressions of interest.
- PHASE TWO: Formal Application. A resume and
writing sample may be requested from those who choose to formally
apply, should they be invited to interview.
- PHASE THREE: Interview Process. Two rounds of
interviews via Zoom are anticipated, with a likely third round
interview conducted on-site at YBCA in San Francisco, CA. (Travel
expenses will be covered for candidates invited to the final
If you need accommodations to make this application process happen,
please connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We will work to support you through the application process via
email, phone call, and/or video chat. Expressions of Interest will
be accepted until at least Monday, January 23, at 5PM PT. Priority
review given to those received before that date.
Expressions of interest and formal applications will be reviewed
by the YBCA search committee and the team at Work Shouldn’t Suck.
Search committee members include: Angela Carrier, Ursula
Hunting, Daniela Lencioni, Julie Mae Lopez, Mark Sabb, and Sara
Fenske Bahat (CEO), who will make the final decision on the
If you have any questions regarding this search, please contact
Tim Cynova and Katrina Donald at email@example.com.