An award-winning communications professional and community leader with expertise in research-driven strategies that inform and influence.


Communications Director

San Francisco Police Department
San Francisco, Calif.

January 2020 – Present
Hailed by the New York Times as a major city department “where police reform has worked,” the San Francisco Police Department continues to break ground with its Collaborative Reform Initiative and Mayor London Breed’s ambitious Police Reform Roadmap.

Under the leadership of San Francisco Police Chief Bill Scott, the department has been working in partnership with the California Department of Justice since 2018 to implement some 272 recommendations that aspire to make SFPD a national model of 21st Century policing.  

As director of strategic communications, Matt Dorsey works with Chief Scott on communications strategy, and with local and national journalists on breaking news reports as well as public safety, criminal justice and police reform trend stories.
Communications Director

S.F. Kids vs. Big Tobacco Coalition,
No on Proposition C Campaign
San Francisco, Calif.

July 2019 – November 2019 
In a nationally watched ballot initiative funded by Big Tobacco-led e-cigarette giant, JUUL Labs Inc., the San Francisco Examiner reported “powerhouse consultant Matt Dorsey came out of retirement from campaign work to help the opposition campaign to Prop. C,” adding that his “long-time connection to the Democratic Party and reputation as a sensible progressive centrist would’ve doomed JUUL’s chances should the Dems have needed moving.”

• As communications director for the S.F. Kids vs. Big Tobacco coalition’s No on Prop C campaign, Matt played a lead role in developing the messaging, research and press strategy that ultimately led JUUL to abandon its citywide campaign — even after the world’s dominant e-cigarette manufacturer had already poured a record-breaking $11.8 into its corporate-sponsored committee.

• He worked with San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton to research and draft what Mission Local described as a “meticulously detailed” letter to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — documenting dozens of examples of prohibited modified risk tobacco product claims by JUUL in its Prop C campaign — which led the FDA to investigate the company’s campaign practices in San Francisco.

• Matt worked alongside coalition partners like the San Francisco-Marin Medical Society, Parents Against Vaping e-Cigarettes (PAVe), former City Attorney Louise Renne and others to research and author opposition arguments, and to develop successful strategies that virtually ran the table of newspaper and political endorsements citywide — despite being outspent my more than 7-to-1.
Of Counsel and Partner

Lighthouse Public Affairs, LLC
San Francisco, Calif.

September 2016 – July 2019
As a partner and head of the communications practice for Northern California’s preeminent public affairs firm, Matt worked with an array of seasoned experts from a multitude of advocacy disciplines at Lighthouse Public Affairs, LLC. Serving a diverse array of high-profile, industry-leading clients, Matt’s representative client engagements at Lighthouse included:

• The Millennium Tower Homeowners Association in its lawsuit against the developer of the exclusive luxury tower in San Francisco’s SOMA neighborhood that has been beset by sinking and tilting issues less than a decade after opening.

• Presidio Terrace homeowners in their successful administrative challenge to the national headline grabbing — but legally invalid — tax sale of their common area property by the San Francisco Treasurer and Tax Collector’s Office.

• The Sisters of Fraternite Notre Dame, which with the help of celebrated benefactors Tony Robbins and Marc Benioff won the hearts of San Francisco’s press corps — commanding the front pages of both citywide daily newspapers — and won City approval to re-open their charitable soup kitchen in the Mission District.
Press Secretary

Office of the City Attorney,
City & County of San Francisco
San Francisco, Calif.

September 2002 – September 2016 

As the longtime press secretary and spokesman for San Francisco City Attorney Dennis J. Herrera, Matt functioned as primary contact for members of the news media — locally, nationally and globally — on all civil litigation involving the City and County of San Francisco.

His media relations work on high-profile legal matters included: 

• The office’s landmark, nine-year legal battle to win LGBTQ marriage equality in California, from defending then-Mayor Gavin Newsom’s issuance of marriage licenses in 2004 to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Hollingsworth v. Perry, which struck down Prop 8 in 2013. 

• City Hall’s high-stakes lawsuit against a controversial accreditation board, which ultimately saved City College of San Francisco from imminent closure. 

• Dozens of other cases in which groundbreaking city policies and millions of taxpayer dollars were at stake — and where San Francisco’s legal objectives were aided by fact-intensive, rapid-response communication strategies.


Boston, Mass. and San Francisco, Calif.

January 2001 – September 2002 
Before selling his “” domain, Matt’s independent consultancy — dorsey.communications —served a diverse national clientele that included: political campaigns like Warren Tolman for Governor of Massachusetts, Kevin Shelley for California Secretary of State and Mark Leno for California Assembly; leading nonprofits, like the California League of Conservation Voters and the Internet Alliance; and private sector businesses like Quadramed Software and Wolaver’s Organic Brewery.  

• Matt’s award-winning work for the California League of Conservation Voters’ annual online legislative scorecards earned top honors for multiple years as a Webactive Featured Site — in addition to recognition among the “Top 5% of the Web” sites. 

• His comprehensive opposition research undertaking in 2002 played a significant role in a successful outcome for his client in a hotly contested race for the California State Assembly. 

• He wrote and designed the groundbreaking website for Democrat Warren Tolman’s 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial bid, on which the Boston Herald lavished praised as “the most pleasant surprise in the campaign.” The news analysis added: “Tolman’s site has poetry. Whatever you think of his maverick politics, he has an interesting campaign site that probably appeals to many reform-minded voters.”
Campaign Strategist, Manager

Applied Communications, Inc.
San Francisco, Calif.

January 1999 – January 2001 
At ground zero for the “Dot-com Boom,” Matt managed public relations efforts and developed research-based campaign strategies for a top technology PR agency that specialized in competitive communications. He pitched and secured news and feature coverage for clients that included executive profiles, customer successes, and competitive de-positioning. He also authored PR and executive-level communications plans for major “e-business,” “e-government” and corporate philanthropic campaigns. Matt’s notable accomplishments at Applied included: 

• His award-winning account management to launch the firm’s first major consumer-brand client, — later PayPal — led by then-CEO Elon Musk. 

• His successful pitch and placement of a major feature story in Fast Company magazine on the up-and-coming Oracle executive leading the company’s e-business transformation — Thomas Kurian.

• His message development and media outreach efforts for Oracle Corporation philanthropic events, which included Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, Gen. Colin Powell (ret.) and then-Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt.

Political Consultant

Koenig & Dorsey, LLC
Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, Calif.

April 1994 – January 1999 
Matt was the founding partner of a national political research firm that served candidate campaigns and public interest causes in nearly two-dozen states. He also led the firm’s development of an award-winning web consulting practice, which served a diverse array of public sector, private sector and political clients in groundbreaking applications. Matt’s notable accomplishments at the Koenig & Dorsey firm included: 

• Creating the first political committee ever approved by the U.S. Federal Election Commission to accept campaign contributions online — for the anti-Newt Gingrich virtual PAC and award-winning website, “NewtWatch,” in 1994. 

• As part of the consulting team responsible for one of the only landslide victories by a statewide Democratic candidate in the 1994 election cycle — Democrat Ben Nelson for Governor of Nebraska.  

• Leading the opposition research effort credited by national campaign consultants as decisive in narrowly winning a statewide victory for LGBTQ equality — for “Maine Won’t Discriminate/No on One” — in the 1995 General Election.
Research Director

Democratic National Committee,
National Health Care Campaign
Washington, D.C.

March 1993 – April 1994 
Matt directed opposition research into industry and ideological foes of President Bill Clinton’s Healthcare Reform Act of 1993, managing a five-person research team that compiled public information and conducted detailed analyses on activities, funding sources and agendas of more than 450 organizations 

• He conducted and operationalized research from the congressional record and other public statements on the topic of healthcare reform by Republican foes of President Clinton’s plan. 

• Matt and his team provided historical research and analyses on prior healthcare reform efforts in the U.S. — dating back to President Theodore Roosevelt 

• In daily coordination with administration staff and party leaders, Matt regularly attended meetings of the Clinton Administration’s legendary “Health Care War Room,” providing research and drafting talking points for rapid-response efforts by the White House.

Deputy Press Secretary,
Title IV-D Officer

S.F. District Attorney’s Office
San Francisco, Calif.

September 1992 – March 1993 

Appointed by District Attorney Arlo Smith to serve as an investigator in the office’s Family Support Bureau. 

Matt functioned as the District Attorney’s deputy press secretary and speechwriter in a part-time capacity, while managing a caseload of family support matters. He authored news releases and media advisories for the office, and drafted prepared remarks for speaking engagements by the District Attorney.
Research Consultant,
Campaign Manager

The Research Group, Inc.
San Francisco, Calif.

May 1990 – September 1992 
In his first job after college, Matt served as a research analyst for the nation’s leading Democratic opposition research firm — which had been co-founded by Ace Smith and Rahm Emanuel — working in key political roles for Smith’s father, then-San Francisco District Attorney Arlo Smith.

• Matt served as deputy press secretary for Arlo Smith’s narrowly unsuccessful bid for state attorney general in 1990, and then managed Smith’s successful 1991 re-election campaign.

• Representative examples of Matt’s client engagements at the Research Group included U.S. Senate campaigns for Barbara Boxer in California; Carol Moseley Braun in Illinois; Ben Nighthorse Campbell in Colorado and Geraldine Ferraro in New York.


Elected Member

Democratic County Central Committee,
San Francisco Democratic Party
San Francisco, Calif.

January 2012 – June 2016
In 2012, Matt Dorsey won election to the San Francisco Democratic Party’s governing body — known as the Democratic County Central Committee, or “D-Triple-C” — in one of the most heavily Democratic and highly competitive districts in California.

Earning more than 19,000 votes, Matt was the top vote-getter among first-time candidates, outpolling a number of sitting elected officials, and posting what the San Francisco Bay Guardian called: “an impressive finish for a freshman candidate but longtime politico.” 

• Despite starting out as an underdog, Matt’s 2012 endorsement list would ultimately grow to include: U.S. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Attorney General Kamala Harris, City Attorney Dennis Herrera, State Sen. Mark Leno, State Assemblymember Tom Ammiano, former Mayor Art Agnos and both the Alice B. Toklas and Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Clubs. 

• Appointed to the committee’s executive board as corresponding secretary, Matt authored comprehensive reforms to the San Francisco Democratic Party’s bylaws and practices to better harmonize with California Brown Act and San Francisco Sunshine Ordinance. 

• He also won broad support for resolutions that championed transgender rights, HIV/AIDS protections and other progressive issues during his term on the DCCC. Matt was the lead author of a forceful resolution against 2016’s Prop 60 — Michael Weinstein’s ill-advised, anti-porn condom mandate — which was instrumental in winning the California Democratic Party’s support for a “No on Prop 60” recommendation.
James C. Hormel Award Winner

The Shanti Project
San Francisco, Calif.

October 9, 2013 
The Shanti Project, San Francisco’s venerable AIDS and HIV services organization, annually bestows the James C. Hormel Client Community Service Award “for embodying the values of Shanti in reaching out and serving others in the community.”

Matt was awarded the honor in 2013 by then-State Sen. Mark Leno.

Parish Councilor

Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Church
San Francisco, Calif.

January 2008 – June 2014
A longtime parishioner at San Francisco’s Most Holy Redeemer Roman Catholic Church, Matt helped to lead outreach efforts for multiple ministries to the community and also served on the parish council.

In the midst of California’s high-profile political and legal battles over Prop 8 and marriage equality — and at a time in which the strongly LGBTQ inclusive Roman Catholic parish was targeted nationally by Fox News, far-right critics, and others — Matt regularly advised pastors on media relations challenges and was often quoted as an active parishioner.

career client list


Bachelor of Science in Speech,
BSSp. cum laude

Emerson College
Boston, Mass.

Class of 1989
Matt earned his Bachelor of Science in Speech (BSSp.) degree cum laude from Emerson College in Boston, where he majored in communication studies with an emphasis on political communications and a minor in psychology. 

• Honing his political and organizational skills early, Matt founded “Students Against Moving Emerson,” or SAME, an organization of students, faculty and alumni that successfully opposed the college administration’s bid to relocate the Emerson College campus to Lawrence, Mass. 

• He earned an advanced placement internship as a speechwriter to New England Telephone President and CEO Paul C. O’Brien during his junior year at Emerson, and went on to serve on Beacon Hill as a legislative intern to State Rep. Kevin Honan (D-Boston). 

• Elected president of the Zero Marlborough Street dormitory, Matt also served as a resident assistant there. He was active in Emerson’s Communications Politics and Law Society, in intramural athletics and as a columnist for the college newspaper, Berkeley Beacon. Like many of Emerson College’s political graduates, Matt remains a dedicated Paynesian (an acolyte of the communications studies department chair, Dr. J. Gregory Payne).

• Matt made Dean’s List every semester while at Emerson College, and graduated with an Emerson GPA of 3.91/4.00. His other academic honors included winning the John F. Kennedy Scholarship from the Massachusetts Democratic Party (1988) and recognition in Gold Key Honor Society (1989) and Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities (1989).


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