Senior Associate, Public Involvement, Stakeholder Facilitation and Communications Focus, Southern California

Permanent Position or Part-Time Contract Opportunity
Southern California – Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County, or Inland Empire


Kearns & West is a leader in the collaborative communications field, providing services in public involvement, stakeholder facilitation, community outreach, and mediation, primarily for government agencies. Founded in 1984 as a women-owned business, Kearns & West has offices in San Diego, Los Angeles, Riverside, and Costa Mesa in Southern California and elsewhere including Sacramento, San Francisco, Portland, Denver, and Washington, DC.

Focusing on positive, mutually beneficial results has allowed Kearns & West to maintain long-term relationships with the people and organizations they assist. The firm’s high-stakes projects include work at local, state, and national levels and cover a variety of sectors including land use and community planning, transportation, energy, water, major public facilities and infrastructure, and natural resources. At the core of all of our projects is finding solutions to advance essential policies and programs.

Kearns & West’s Southern California team is conducting stakeholder and community engagement for cities, water districts, regional agencies, the State of California, and some federal agencies. Most of our projects intersect with climate resiliency, equity, health, and involve formulating participatory processes where community members and stakeholders can share knowledge and inform the development of multi-benefit solutions. We are experts in multi-pronged in-person and virtual engagement methods. We are also specialists in inclusive and equitable engagement methods and are helping our government clients to meaningfully involve communities that are particularly vulnerable and/or marginalized due to racism and socioeconomic disparities.

Kearns & West is the ideal match for professionals seeking meaningful work, opportunities for growth, and colleagues that are smart, capable and supportive. Once on board, our employees stay for the long term. The entrepreneurial culture at Kearns & West values employee initiatives in practice innovation and business development – principal tracks are open to all team members. Compensation and benefits at Kearns & West are also highly competitive with firms in our field.


The Senior Associate will support and help manage community and stakeholder engagement on a wide variety of projects for local and regional government across Southern California. Opportunities for involvement outside of the Southern California region also exist. A background in local government, communications and/or planning is desirable.

The position involves a wide range of responsibilities and roles including interaction with diverse stakeholder and all aspects of planning and executing multi-pronged community engagement programs, focused outreach with environmental justice and marginalized communities, stakeholder and public meetings or other forums (virtual and in-person), online and social media, project research, communications and public information, and working group and committee processes. The position also involves project management support and participation in business development and proposals.

Candidates from a variety of backgrounds, including dispute resolution, public policy and communications will be considered. Interest in collaborative problem-solving and communications is essential.


Successful candidates will have 3-6 years of experience with public and stakeholder engagement, conflict management and resolution, transportation and infrastructure issues, environment, community and regional planning, local and regional government, public policy, and community relations. A Bachelor of Science or Bachelor of Arts degree is required; Advanced degree or education a plus, but will not change job duties. Fluency in Spanish and/or other languages spoken in California is a plus. Completion of the International Association of Public Participation certification program or similar program is also a plus, but not required.

We’re looking for someone who is:

  • An effective and reliable communicator
  • Comfortable leading and facilitating meetings
  • Organized and prepared to contribute to our team organization
  • Adaptable and flexible
  • Self-motivated and comfortable working independently and as a team member
  • Comfortable with taking direction yet able to take the initiative
  • 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 office environment and collaborating virtually with inter-office teams
  • Adept at researching and understanding the regulatory, policy, environmental and community contexts of our projects.


Compensation will depend on the qualifications and experience of the selected candidate.


Please apply immediately by submitting a cover letter and resume to with the subject “45_Southern California Senior Associate.” Importantly, please specify your interest in a permanent position and/or freelance opportunity. We ask that you do not call or email staff directly. Resumes will be accepted until the position is filled.