Associate Opportunity in Northern California Region


The Associate will support collaborative problem solving, dispute resolution, and public outreach and engagement processes involving stakeholders from state and federal agencies, tribal communities, advocacy organizations, industry, and local government in California and across the United States. It is expected that this position will support multiple projects involving issues touching on water resources management and ecosystem protection and enhancement, among other projects.

This position involves multiple responsibilities and roles including: planning, scheduling, and executing stakeholder meetings or other types of in-person or online interactions (including logistics such as venue location, audio visual equipment, and invitations), project research, strategic planning, stakeholder communications and outreach support, notetaking and preparation of meeting summaries, development of project proposals including budgets, business development, contract administration, and invoice and expense report preparation. Associates may also have opportunities to facilitate dialog, problem solving, decision making and other tasks in groups of diverse sizes and makeup, depending on prior experience and demonstrated skill.


We’re looking for someone who is:

  • Highly organized and prepared to contribute to team organization
  • Adaptable and flexible
  • Self-motivated and comfortable working independently
  • An effective and reliable communicator
  • Comfortable with taking direction and able to take the initiative as needed
  • Able to reliably set priorities, manage multiple tasks, and meet project deadlines
  • Able to work and balance multiple projects for multiple clients
  • Successful at balancing working as part of a team with working independently, and
  • Comfortable working in a small [2-3 person] office environment and collaborating virtually with inter-office teams (based in San Francisco/Portland/Washington, DC/Southern California). 

We are in the business of supporting effective problem solving and joint decision making, often in the public sector, so proven communication skills and enthusiasm for outreach are critical. A strong candidate will write clearly and accurately under deadlines, and will have strong “people” skills. Work assignments will involve other K&W locations, and the ability to work virtually with our team will be important. A strong candidate also will have sound professional judgment.


  • offers significant opportunities for professional growth and experience
  • will require virtual presence for the time being
  • will require physical presence in Northern California locations when deemed safe by health experts and our K&W leadership team, as well as some travel (local, regional, national)
  • is a non-partisan, “neutral” position in relation to subject matter, not an advocacy position

A strong candidate will be interested in a career that incorporates strong collaborative problem solving and stakeholder outreach and engagement abilities.


MINIMUM EDUCATION: Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree or equivalent. Advanced degree or education is valued but will not change job duties described above.

PREFERRED EXPERIENCE: Strong candidates will have one to three years of work experience or a master’s degree equivalent with a focus on public policy, energy/transmission, the environment, water issues, communications, or conflict management and resolution. Demonstrated understanding and interest in state and local government policy will enhance an application. Fluency in Spanish is valued but not required. Proficiency with online collaboration, database management, graphic design, and social media tools is preferred.

REQUIRED SKILLS: Proficiency in MS Office (Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, and Excel) is required.

PRIOR REGIONAL CONNECTION: We value a demonstrated prior connection to Northern California, including: SF Bay area, Davis-Sacramento, Central Valley region. Family ties, work experience, or graduate school are examples.


The salary for this position is open and will be dependent upon the qualifications and experience of the selected candidate. In addition, benefits are provided which include: profit-sharing; 401K; bonuses; health, dental and disability insurance; vacation and holidays; and more.


Please apply immediately by submitting a cover letter and resume to using the subject line “NorCal Associate Opening.” Resumes will be accepted until the position is filled.


Kearns & West is seeking to hire an Associate for its team delivering Collaborative Solutions services from the Davis/Sacramento-San Francisco region. Our team members work extensively – but not exclusively – on public policy decision making, problem solving, conflict resolution, and citizen engagement across a broad spectrum of issues. We are recognized around the United States as a leader in consistently delivering high quality and innovative services from a non-partisan perspective. Our physical offices are located in Sacramento/Davis, San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles, CA, Portland, OR, [Atlanta, GA,] and Washington DC.

Our clients are primarily local, state, and government agencies and public sector companies. We deliver customized conflict and needs assessments, public outreach and engagement, process and meeting design and facilitation, conflict resolution/mediation, and strategic planning and communications services. We employ diverse tools, methods, and techniques to promote constructive stakeholder relationships, collaborations, and strategic partnerships and sustainable solutions.

Kearns & West is a small, women-owned business founded in 1984. We offer a collaborative, collegial work environment and the chance to work on significant public policy projects. We offer professional development and a partnership track as team members advance in their careers. We are committed to doing business in ways that are consistent with explicit principles and values.