Careers at the Aspen Institute
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Aspen Institute employees come from a wide range of backgrounds and possess a unique blend of education, skill, and policy experience. We recognize that our people are our vital resource and we value their knowledge, enthusiasm, and commitment. At the Aspen Institute we offer competitive salaries and a wide variety of benefits to our employees and their families.

If you would enjoy working in a dynamic environment and are looking for an opportunity to become part of a stellar team of professionals, we invite you to apply online today.

Program Associate

Department: LEADERSHIP
Location: Washington, DC

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. Its mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. The Institute has campuses in Aspen, Colorado, and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also maintains offices in New York City and has an international network of partners.

The Aspen Global Leadership Network (AGLN) is a growing, worldwide community of entrepreneurial leaders from business, government and the nonprofit sector – more than 3,000 "Fellows" from 49 countries -- who share a commitment to enlightened leadership and to using their extraordinary creativity, energy and resources to tackle the foremost societal challenges of our times. All share the common experience of participating in the Henry Crown Fellowship or one of the 13 active Aspen Global Leadership Network initiatives it has inspired in the United States, Africa, Central America, India, the Middle East and China.

The China Fellowship Program seeks to foster the development of a new generation of responsible, community-spirited business leaders in China.  Over the past three decades, China has experienced an economic and social transformation on a scale and at a speed unlike anything witnessed in recorded history. The achievements of the past thirty years in lifting hundreds of millions from poverty, building the world's second largest economy and thrusting China onto the world stage are truly awe-inspiring. As daunting as this task has been, what lies ahead for China over the next decades is an even greater challenge -- how to build a progressive, prosperous 'good' society in an increasingly globalized world community.

The Program Associate will work in a self-directed fashion reporting to the Managing Director based largely in China. This position is located in Washington, D.C. but requires frequent travel (approximately 30% of time) to support the program’s work in the Greater China region and convenings in Aspen, Colorado. Successful Program Associates are driven by making an impact, have a high degree of empathy, and are passionate about high-quality event design. The ideal candidate for this position is self-motivated, proactive, and comfortable working with largely remote stakeholders. Candidates must have exemplary organizational, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills; the ability to respond to rapidly changing priorities; high self-awareness; discretion and sound judgment.

Principal Responsibilities

A. Ensure Seamless Seminars

The 2 year seminar arc of the Fellowship is grounded in text-based dialogue, with curated curriculum of timeless readings, trained moderators, and disagreement through constructive civil discourse. These seminars create space for retreat and reflection.

  • Coordinate the China Fellowship Program’s three annual seminars. From time to time coordinate events engaging China Fellowship alumni and other AGLN alumni based in the Greater China region such as welcome receptions, regional gatherings, and alumni reunions.
  • Research, vet, and secure contracts with conference facilities, organizing lodging, planning meals and logistics, providing on-site management of vendors, and organizing transportation. Organize off-site excursions and activities. Facilitate risk assessments for activities and vendors. Confirm that all activities and services are seamless and of high-standard.
  • Disseminate instructions and seminar materials to ensure fellows and moderators receive in a clear and timely manner. Serve as the primary contact for questions and requests. Accommodate any needs from Fellows and moderators prior to the seminar and on-site to ensure an exceptional experience.
  • Ensure Fellows are aware of and follow through with their Fellowship commitments, including the requirement to attend the duration of all four seminars in their entirety and initiate a leadership venture. This includes securing punctual arrival/departure plans, collecting venture forms/slides, communicating the venture sessions for each seminar, and monitoring venture small groups.
  • Process expenses and reimbursements, adhering payment deadlines. Monitor monitoring program spending against budgets and ensuring seminars stay within budget.
  • Carry out post-seminar follow up, such as evaluation summaries, debrief meetings, and financial reports. Organize and drive pre and post seminar conference calls.
  • Facilitate Fellows’ participation in the “Leading in an Era of Globalization” seminar.
  • Monitor readings and discussion ratings for China Fellowship Program compared to global network. Assist AGLN in developing East Asian curriculum.

B. Coordinate Class Nomination and Selection

Sourcing and assembling a mosaic of Fellows that weaves together relevant, diverse experiences and perspectives is a science and an art. It is a key component of the Fellowship’s success and thus the team work load.

  • Coordinate the nomination and selection process of each new class of Fellows, involving outgoing communications, careful tracking and maintenance of databases of contact information, creation of online forms, and more.
  • Update relevant  materials (such as website, info guides, FAQs, one-pagers) with new yearly cycle information.
  • Prepare research materials on candidates, including bios, company information, and industry context for board review. Proactively stay up-to-date with news in the region and different markets.
  • Provide updated statistics on candidate diversity throughout nomination cycle and produce final statistical summary with graphs.
  • Confirm moderator availability and seminar dates for each class prior to confirmation.
  • Prepare and send emails to nominees and their nominators informing them of the outcome of the selection process. Convey to those selected the requirements of the Fellowship and secure all signed agreements from Fellows.
  • Create and send announcements of new classes for Fellows and sponsors via email, website, and WeChat.

C. Foster Leadership Venture Activities

Undertaking a leadership venture spurs Fellows to create impact by stretching themselves to step up in new ways, model high-integrity leadership, and mobilize their resources for positive change. Providing our methodology, support, and resources can raise the probability of success of these ventures.

  • Track each Fellow’s leadership venture status and help ensure Fellows meet deadlines. Schedule venture vetting phone calls and other follow up.
  • Assess ventures’ social impact through form collection and analytical surveys. Identify trends and synergies among venture portfolio. Convey impact through narrative reports.
  • Help provide opportunities for Fellows to connect across the Fellowship and network on venture collaboration, advice, and support.
  • Coordinate nomination of ventures for the McNulty Prize and Catalyst Fund, two highly competitive funding opportunities.
  • Facilitate Fellows’ participation in the Resnick Aspen Action Forum by promoting registration, assisting with scholarship requests, and coordinating selection for venture workshops.
  • Coordinate with the AGLN on changes in the ventures process to keep Fellowship aligned with AGLN guidelines.

D. Support Efforts to Ensure Sound Program Governance

Ensuring sound program governance allows us to operate sustainably and advance our impact. In our small China Fellowship Program team, financial, operational, and legal governance will be addressed at some level by the Program Associate.

  • Prepare the annual budget and maintain accurate financial records. Create financial projections to assess fundraising cycles. Prepare for Aspen Institute financial audits and board reports.
  • Assist with establishing new financial systems and operational infrastructure.
  • Coordinate conference calls of the program’s governing board, including compiling and distributing materials.
  • Send contracts through the Aspen Institute’s Due Diligence Review. Assist with drafting moderators’ annual contracts.
  • Participate in conference calls and meetings designed to foster collaboration and share best practices/tools among program coordinators of the Aspen Global Leadership Network, who are based both in DC and around the world.
  • Represent the China Fellowship and provide program updates during quarterly Leadership Department meetings and other forums

E. Foster Communications with Donors and Public

We must not only measure and understand our impact but also find ways to communicate it to Fellows, donors, leadership, and the public. The voice of the Fellowship as well as the AGLN is expressed on many platforms, some of which are specific to the China context.

  • Create impact reports on ventures for distribution to current Fellows, donors, and stakeholders. Track and record news coverage of ventures in salesforce.
  • Maintain China Fellowship informational guide for distribution to potential candidates and donors.
  • Track and share updates on Fellows, their accomplishments, and the program with the Aspen Institute for posting on the website, social media, and other outlets as appropriate.
  • Maintain the program’s website and assist with sharing bios, project updates, and other materials with the AGLN team.
  • Assist with development of Chinese social media resources and mobile-friendly communications resources (e.g. Youku, WeChat).

Required Skills/Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree and 2-6 years progressively responsible work experience required.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English. Professional proficiency in spoken professional Mandarin and written Chinese required.
  • Experience coordinating meetings and events internationally required. Strong venue/vendor management skills.
  • A high level of empathy and humility as well as a customer-service attitude. Able to navigate complex interpersonal situations.
  • Superb professionalism and judgement, willingness to be entrepreneurial and multi-tasking. Attention to detail. A keen eye for logistics and processes.
  • Experience living and/or working in Asia strongly preferred. Able to comfortable navigate international travel and new environments.
  • Demonstrated interest in modern Chinese society and private-sector business, as well as China’s role in the global world community.
  • Ability to work with and respect people of different cultures, viewpoints and religions, and use great discretion across interactions.
  • A high level of competency with Microsoft Office programs such as Excel is required. Also, website maintenance and experience with Salesforce preferred.
  • Must be legally authorized to work in the United States

Principal Interactions: Executive Vice President, Leadership Division; Managing Director for Leadership Programs and Partnerships; program managers and coordinators and directors of the Institute’s Leadership Initiatives, and potential Fellows and nominators, Fellows and moderators of the AGLN.

To Apply

The Aspen Institute is actively reviewing applications with a start date of late August. Candidates must be able to commit to staffing an eventfrom September 10-27, 2019 to be considered. Please visit the Aspen Institute’s career page and follow the instructions to submit a cover letter and resume. Cover letter must highlight applicant’s interest and specific qualifications for this position. Applications without cover letter will not be considered.

No phone calls or emails please.

The Aspen Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all District and federal laws. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or protected veteran or disabled status and will not be discriminated against.

Candidate must have the ability to work under pressure and handle stress. Candidate must also have the ability to meet the regular attendance policy of the Aspen Institute.


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