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.

Communications Officer

Department: ASCEND
Location: Washington, DC
Salary: $90,000 - $110,000


Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Since its founding in 1949, the Institute has been driving change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most critical challenges facing communities in the United States and around the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

To achieve our mission of a more free, just, and equitable society, we commit to working proactively to advance the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion across our myriad endeavors such as the recruitment, compensation, training, and advancement of staff. The best people-serving institutions make this commitment, and we seek to be a leader in the ways that we do so and learn from others. Visit our website to learn more about our commitment and recent actions taken toward building and nurturing a diverse and inclusive environment.

Ascend at the Aspen Institute Founder Anne Mosle set out with a mission to spark and spread breakthroughs in how we achieve intergenerational prosperity and well-being. Over the past decade Ascend has catalyzed a modern two-generation (2Gen) approach intentionally focusing on children and the adults in their lives together. We activate and amplify values-based leadership to drive innovation, cross-system collaboration, and policy change. Our community of leaders fuels our reach and impact: 140 Ascend Fellows, 130 Parent Advisors, more than 500 national Network Partners, and our philanthropic partners – active in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico as well as across the globe in Ireland, Rwanda, and Guatemala. Together, leaders in this growing movement are rewriting the narrative, catalyzing more than $500 million in public and private investments, and transforming systems that serve 15 million families.


The Communications Officer will primarily focus on developing, implementing, and evaluating a strategic communication plan for Ascend’s Postsecondary Success for Parents Initiative (PSP). Since 2018, PSP has been a key driver in building an expansive, nationally-coordinated effort to advance innovative solutions that provide greater postsecondary access, affordability, and success for parents. We focus on the more than four million student parents enrolled in postsecondary pathways. We believe student parents’ leadership and lived expertise should inform and strengthen higher education’s equity agenda to accelerate better outcomes.

The Communications Officer will be responsible for the design, project planning and implementation of communications-related deliverables for the shifting and expanding post-secondary ecosystem, including how that ties to our broader 2Gen approach. The successful candidate will possess outstanding writing, project management and analytical skills. Ascend seeks a passionate and dynamic self-starter with creative ideas and strong attention to detail to both strengthen and support policy and communication efforts and help launch important new areas of work.

The Communications Officer will work closely with diverse leaders across the Ascend community. This position reports to the Senior Director of Communications and works closely with Ascend’s Postsecondary Success for Parents team. The Communications Officer will join a high-performing team of three communications professionals and a broader team of ~25 Ascenders (team members), which operates as a flagship program within the broader Aspen Institute network. The salary range for this position is $90,000 - $110,000. This role is based in Washington, DC, with a hybrid work arrangement (2+ days a week in the office).


  • Develop, implement and evaluate an overarching strategic communications plan focused on priority audiences for PSP with measurable goals and objectives
  • Demonstrate proficiency in using both “high tech and high touch” modes of communication. Contribute to knowledge management and continuous improvement efforts for Ascend’s communications function; develop and maintain communications, audience, and impact tracking systems
  • Help manage Editorial Calendar for Ascend-wide communications deliverables generally and PSP deliverables specifically
  • Manage development, promotion and dissemination of PSP communications deliverables such as a briefs, factsheets, a third season of the “1 in 5” podcast, and more
  • Identify, craft, and disseminate written and multimedia products to highlight the impact of Ascend, the Ascend Network, and other leaders and advance practice and policy solutions for children and families with low incomes
  • Manage inbound and outbound media relations, including monitoring targeted trade media covering higher education issues as well local, state, and national media related to family economic mobility
  • Support Ascend team members with public speaking requests, strategic presentations, and op-eds
  • Curate photos and video library
  • Curate storybank to capture partner work and use in various formats from speeches to marketing collateral
  • Coordinate with Aspen Institute communications team to leverage the Institute’s platforms, including the Journal of Ideas, 5 Best Ideas of the Day, public programs, and other opportunities
  • Maintain project plans and manage relevant consultant contracts
  • Help inform and manage Ascend’s digital content and channels, with primary responsibility for PSP’s digital presence, to maximize engagement and impact with priority stakeholders

Shared Responsibilities:

  • Actively participate in program and convening design and strategic planning for Ascend
  • Contribute to effective engagement and stewardship of current and potential philanthropic partners
  • Contribute to team-wide learning and knowledge management, including drawing on and contributing to other Aspen Institute programs and resources
  • Identify opportunities to improve the quality and efficiency of Ascend
  • Functional supervision and collaboration with cross-functional team members


  • 5+ years integrated communications experience in agency work, journalism, marketing, digital media, and/or other related or strategic communications experience with a track record of accomplishment
  • At least 2 years of lived or work experience in issues related to post-secondary education/higher education arena, ideally working with senior level stakeholders, e.g. college presidents, deans, etc.
  • Experience working within the DMV landscape and community is a strong plus
  • Subject matter expertise in journalism, public policy, advocacy, public relations, marketing communications and/or political campaigns
  • Strong project management and stakeholder engagement skills; comfortable working in an environment that has a number of “firsts” (opportunities to figure out)
  • Expertise supporting and advancing policy efforts at the local, state, and federal level desirable
  • Outstanding writing skills with a focus on detail and accuracy
  • Social media and web savvy and experience working with wide range of social media tools
  • Entrepreneurial acumen and drive, ability to see and respond to opportunities to strengthen and/or course correct program plan to increase impact
  • Awareness, knowledge, sensitivity, and ability to build relationships with people of all backgrounds and communications skills
  • Excellent computer skills, particularly Microsoft Office Suite, Mailchimp, and Salesforce
  • Graphic design skills a plus
  • Thrives in high performing environment and has a passion for making a difference in the lives of families


Visit our career page at and follow the instructions for uploading your cover letter and resume. All interested applicants must submit a resume and thoughtful cover letter. Applications without cover letter will not receive full consideration.


The Aspen Institute offers a generous benefits package including health, dental, vision, and prescription benefits, retirement benefits, and paid leave.

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.

If you would like to request a reasonable accommodation regarding the accessibility of our website, a modification or adjustment of the job application or interview process due to a disability, contact or call (202) 736-5800.

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