Los Angeles County is working to make its beaches and coastline more resilient to climate change. At the same time, the County has launched an effort to ensure that the future development of Marina del Rey is guided by County priorities of equity and accessibility, to make it more inclusive and welcoming for all Los Angeles County residents, especially for people from historically marginalized communities. The FUSE Executive Fellow will provide communications strategy and planning to grow awareness of these two initiatives and build support among numerous stakeholders, as well as assist the Department with related media communications needs.

Fellowship Dates: October 21, 2024 – October 20, 2025

Salary: Executive Fellows are FUSE employees and receive an annual base salary of $80,000. Fellows can also access various health, dental, and vision insurance benefits. Compensation for this year of public service is not intended to represent market-rate compensation for the experienced professionals in our program.

ABOUT THE FUSE EXECUTIVE FELLOWSHIP

FUSE is a national nonprofit working to expand social and economic opportunities, particularly for communities that have been limited by a history of systemic and institutionalized racism. FUSE partners with local governments and communities to more effectively address pressing challenges by placing experienced professionals within city and county agencies. These FUSE Executive Fellows lead strategic projects designed to advance racial equity and accelerate systems change. Since 2012, FUSE has led over 250 projects in 40 governments across 20 states, impacting the lives of 25 million people.

When designing each fellowship project, FUSE works closely with government partners and local stakeholders to define a scope of work that will achieve substantive progress toward regional priorities. FUSE then conducts an individualized search for each project to ensure that the selected candidate has at least 15 years of professional experience, the required competencies for the role, and deep connections to the communities being served. They are data-driven and results-oriented and able to effectively manage complex projects by developing actionable roadmaps and monitoring progress to completion.

Executive Fellows are hired as FUSE employees and embedded in government agencies for at least one year of full-time work. Throughout their fellowships, they receive training, coaching, and professional support from FUSE to help achieve their project goals. FUSE Executive Fellows bring diverse perspectives and new approaches to their projects. They build strong relationships with diverse arrays of stakeholders, foster alignment within.

PROJECT CONTEXT

Los Angeles County is home to large areas of publicly accessible beaches and coastline as well as the publicly-owned harbor of Marina del Rey (MdR), all which serve as a vital economic and recreational asset for residents and attract millions of visitors from across the country and world. The County has adopted two major initiatives to protect these strategic assets for the future and ensure that MdR and the beaches are accessible and welcoming to everyone, including people of color and historically marginalized communities. One of these efforts is a coastal resilience initiative to preserve and enhance public access to Los Angeles County’s beaches and coastline, areas of which are facing extreme erosion from intense storms, high tides, tall surf, and projected future sea level rise. The other is Marina del Rey for All (MdR for All), a community-led effort to make the beachside community of Marina del Rey more equitable, inclusive, welcoming, and accessible for all, particularly Los Angeles’s communities of color. The unincorporated area of MdR sits on County-owned land, but much of the real estate is leased to private developers, whose projects have helped generate revenue via County ground rent, as well as jobs and tax revenues. The County intends to use real estate development, including ground leasing in MdR, to drive equitable and inclusive access to MdR. The coastal resilience effort seeks to preserve and protect the existing beaches, which are a public asset for all residents, and tailor Department-led programming toward the same objectives across the beaches and MdR.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved both of these initiatives, and initial reports on MdR for All, coastal resilience, and equitable and inclusive beach access have been completed. The MdR for All initiative reflects the Board’s county-wide focus on equity and inclusion in all facets of the County’s operations and policies, including its future development of publicly-owned MdR. County staff and other stakeholders are seeking funding and moving ahead with action on both these initiatives.

Both of these initiatives are complex and will involve significant changes to Marina del Rey and Los Angeles County coastal areas over time. To succeed, Los Angeles County will need to engage effectively with numerous stakeholders, including other local government agencies, foundations, and other funding sources, as well as private sector and community organizations and the broader Los Angeles County community. Garnering accurate and supportive media coverage is critical to the success of both initiatives. The Los Angeles County Department of Beaches & Harbors will partner with FUSE to develop and implement strategic communications and engagement plans in order to build the support needed for the success of MdR for All and to ensure that Los Angeles beaches and coastline continue to be a vital part of the community for generations to come.

PROJECT SUMMARY

Starting in October 2024, the Executive Fellow will conduct a listening tour to build relationships and gather information from an extensive array of stakeholders to better understand the current status and dynamics of both the coastal resilience initiative and the MdR for All initiative. These individuals and groups may include other County departments, various government agencies, foundation funding partners, and business and labor organizations. The FUSE Executive Fellow will also seek to connect with community organizations in historically underserved communities inland to understand their needs, perceptions, concerns, and aspirations regarding access to MdR. In addition, the Executive Fellow will research similar plans and initiatives from other coastal municipalities to be able to incorporate successful ideas and best practices into their project work for Los Angeles County as makes sense.

Based on the information gathered from stakeholders and research, the FUSE Executive Fellow will develop strategic communications and engagement plans, including media-related strategy, with specific goals and deliverables that will enable the Department of Beaches & Harbors to tell the story of these two initiatives in a way that engages the community and stakeholders and builds support while leveraging existing resources and identifying staffing and other needs. The Executive Fellow will also ensure that the Department is keeping its communication channels, such as the MdR for All website, up-to-date so that key stakeholders and constituents have access to information about ongoing progress and plans and can provide feedback. Similarly, the Executive Fellow will ensure that the Department website remains current with regard to coastal resilience efforts. Throughout the project, the Executive Fellow will ensure the work on both initiatives remains accountable to the community by gathering data and tracking communications and engagement metrics. These metrics will be utilized to continually adjust and improve the communications and engagement tactics and capture the success and evolution of the initiatives.

By the end of the Fellowship, significant activity will have been undertaken for both initiatives to widely communicate their value and potential impact; and the work of the Executive Fellow will serve as a blueprint for future strategic communications efforts of the Department on these initiatives and others.

PROJECT DELIVERABLES

By October 2025, the Executive Fellow will have overseen the following:

  • A strategic communications plan for the coastal resilience initiative. This should include provisions to work with key stakeholders in that work, consultants the County hires, as well as the media and other external audiences.
  • A strategic communications plan for the MdR for All program. As with the coastal resilience plan, this should include tactics to help consultants on the project engage broadly with Los Angeles County residents and stakeholders,
  • Significant media coverage of one or both of these initiatives. Ideally, this would be positive media coverage highlighting these two County initiatives and explaining the benefits they’ll bring to the community. In addition to “mainstream” English-language media, coverage should be cultivated in media outlets that reach non-English speaking residents and members of historically underserved communities.

KEY STAKEHOLDERS

  • Executive Sponsor – Amy Caves, Chief Deputy Director; Department of Beaches & Harbors
  • Project Supervisor – Gary Jones, Director; Department of Beaches & Harbors

QUALIFICATIONS

  • Synthesizes complex information into clear and concise recommendations and action-oriented implementation plans.
  • Develops and effectively implements both strategic and operational project management plans.
  • Generates innovative, data-driven, and result-oriented solutions to complex challenges.
  • Respond quickly to changing ideas, responsibilities, expectations, trends, strategies, and other processes.
  • Communicates effectively verbally and in writing and excels in active listening and conversing.
  • Fosters collaboration across multiple constituencies to support more effective decision-making.
  • Establishes and maintains strong relationships with diverse stakeholders, both inside and outside of government, particularly community-based relationships.
  • Embraces differing viewpoints and implements strategies to find common ground.
  • Demonstrates confidence and professional diplomacy while effectively interacting with individuals at all levels of various organizations.

FUSE is an equal-opportunity employer with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. We encourage candidates from all backgrounds to apply for this position.