Downtown Association Seeks New Director

Category: New & Noteworthy

Downtown Association of Santa Cruz
Executive Director Position

The Executive Director is responsible for implementing the mission statement of the organization: “To provide effective leadership in order to create, promote and sustain downtown as a unique and economically viable business, entertainment, social and cultural center”. The Executive Director executes policy set by the board through  the daily management of the organization and represents the interests of the Downtown Association to the public, including city government, media and other organizations. 

Applicants should have experience in marketing and economic development, a knowledge of nonprofits, public/private partnerships and an entrepreneurial mindset.

About Downtown Santa Cruz, CA

Downtown Santa Cruz is an approximately 40 square block area nestled between the beach and redwoods. Downtown Santa Cruz is a vibrant business district made up of local and large retail, restaurants, service, nonprofits and a recently growing population of residents. Downtown Santa Cruz is known for its quirky characters, innovative businesses, thriving arts and participatory community.

The Role

This is a small organization with an Executive Director position that evolves and changes based on current need.  This is absolutely a “roll up your sleeves” kind of position. This small staff is active in all elements of the organization and the support of Downtown Santa Cruz.

The current COVID crisis has reshaped the organization and this role once again, moving the organization in the coming fiscal years away from event production and toward a more robust economic development, marketing and clean, safe and welcoming focus. 


  • Publicize downtown, increase the customer base of membership
  • Manage public relations of the organization and related activities 
  • Develop and coordinate special events and promotions
  • Manage organization web site, updating regularly
  • Send weekly promotional email
  • Social Media Strategy and Implementation 

Public Advocacy

  • Act as liaison between business members and local government
  • Speak for the Association, representing the membership
  • Write press releases, articles and reports advocating the message of the Association
  • Work with other businesses and organizations to support the business climate in downtown

Membership Services

  • Solicit member involvement in the organization
  • Stay current with member activities and needs
  • Keep members informed about city business that affects downtown


  • Prepare annual budget for board approval
  • Responsible for controlling and administering the budget
  • Provide regular accurate information to the board about the financial status of the DTA


  • Supervise the implementation of all board policies
  • Structure staff and work responsibilities for maximum productivity
  • Hire, supervise and evaluate staff, ensure all personnel policies are followed
  • Manage all communication between board and staff
  • Act as staff liaison to The Downtown Management Corporation 


  • Prepare an Annual Plan for board approval.
  • Ensure all committees are staffed and meeting regularly
  • Facilitate Board communications to develop long-range plans


Required Minimum Qualifications

Experience in leadership in managing downtown's, nonprofits, municipal governments or related private sector functions.

Critical Skills & Experience

  • Passion for and knowledge of Downtown and the Santa Cruz community
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills. Should be very comfortable speaking in public.
  • Working knowledge of key downtown functions including district operations, destination marketing, event production, and member services
  • Marketing and communication experience and knowledge around current marketing trends
  • Track record of recruiting, motivating and retaining a strong staff and fostering a positive and productive workplace culture
  • Creativity in solving problems as well as initiating new ideas and priorities to keep downtown Santa Cruz vibrant, unique and competitive
  • Demonstrated fluency in preparing and managing annual budgets
  • Ability to balance demands and priorities of a diverse group of stakeholders
  • Demonstrated history of setting ambitious goals and producing results
  • Interest and experience in public policy related to downtown issues of transportation, parking, homelessness, development policies, small business support, etc.
  • Experience working for and engaging with boards of directors

Compensation & Benefits

Downtown Association of Santa Cruz works to offer a competitive salary to all staff. The starting salary for the Executive Director position is $75,000 annually. The position offers sick time, family leave, and vacation time. Medical benefits are limited to contribution into a Health Savings Account or HSA.

To Apply

Email with:

  1. A copy of your resume
  2.  Cover letter providing more in-depth information on the experience and qualities you would bring to the job,
  3. The names, phone numbers, and emails of three references

Deadline for applications is July 3rd

Downtown Association of Santa Cruz is an Equal Opportunity Employer. The Downtown Association of Santa Cruz is  committed to building a diverse staff and strongly encourages applications from candidates of color.