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.

Manager, Convenings

Department: ASCEND
Location: Washington, DC


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 is the national hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations to build family economic prosperity and well-being. Ascend embraces a two-generation approach Ė focusing on children and the adults in their lives together - and is committed to centering gender, racial equity, and lived experiences in our work. We believe that early childhood learning and care, postsecondary education/employment pathways for parents, economic assets, social capital, and health and well-being are the core elements that enable families to achieve their full potential. As a leading model of social innovation, Ascend has been on the forefront of advancing policies, systems, practice, and community solutions. We have built an ecosystem of diverse leaders and multi-sector organizations through a national fellowship program, an action and learning network, the Family Prosperity Innovation Community, and the Postsecondary Success for Parents Initiative. Ascend engages the perspectives, strengths, and resilience of families with low incomes to Inform program design and policy development.

We host approximately 20 convenings each year and each is designed to facilitate learning across sectors; identify solutions and innovations at the community, state, and federal level; provide a platform for parents living with low incomes to share their experiences and recommendations with policymakers; and inspire leaders toward bold action on behalf of all families. At an Ascend convening we:

  • Embrace interactive and engaging session design to encourage collaboration, fuel creativity, spur reflection, and inspire action;
  • Believe in the importance of time for networking and time to recharge;
  • Try to design with a blend of hard work, inspiration, and action;
  • Demonstrate a commitment to racial equity and gender lenses in content and who is at the table; and
  • Leverage the Aspen Institute platform to convene the right people for the right conversation. 


As Manager, Convenings, you will plan and manage a best-in-class slate of in-person and virtual events, meetings, and engagements for the Ascend team and fellowship program. You will partner with the Network & Outreach; Postsecondary Success for Parents; and Aspen Conference Services; teams, as well as colleagues across the Institute, to bring to life the ambitious vision and strategies that turn convenings into catalyzing opportunities to drive ahead Ascendís priorities. The Manager, Convenings will partner with each team lead to envision the optimal experience and will be responsible for bringing this to life through approximately 20 annual small and mid-size gatherings (donor events, regional roundtables, virtual forums, milestone anniversary celebration, and more) in our Washington, D.C and Aspen, Colorado locations including support of our annual Leadership Impact Forum.

The ideal candidate looks at convenings as an opportunity to delight the audience and enjoys designing and segmenting the content and experiences that fit with the teamís objectives; you are proactive, highly-organized, resourceful and customer-oriented. You will bring deep project management expertise along with the ability to consistently deliver high-quality event management as well as a passion for Ascendís mission. You  have a sophisticated ability to communicate and collaborate effectively, to understand the vision for the program experience and enhance it through thoughtful and seamless operations and project plans, managing multiple workstreams simultaneously. Reporting to the Associate Director of Network & Outreach, this role is based in the Washington, DC metro area.


Convenings Strategy and Operations Lead

  • Understand the needs and core objectives of the team, acting as an internal advisor around the type of experience to curate to achieve the desired outcome, as well as the lead project manager to bring these experiences to life.
  • Co-create and manage the strategies and tactics that will allow Ascend to achieve its objectives for each convening.
  • Partner with Ascend colleagues as well as the Conference Team in Aspen, CO, to effectively manage many complex, multi-stakeholder workstreams, projects and processes.
  • Assess and evaluate needs of the Ascend team; understand program visions and translate this into overarching project plans; enhance the experience of content through well-orchestrated operational plans.
  • Serve as a valuable contributor during convening design sessions; proactively look for and act on potential needs, problems, and solutions as appropriate -- especially with regard to envisioning the event flow; anticipate and communicate possible challenges and present alternative options for consideration.
  • Manage the team toward continuous learning - what is working and what is not, troubleshoot, and offer solutions.
  • Design and bring both in-person and virtual convenings to life, ensuring participants are engaged in a meaningful way with each other and the content, and leave feeling energized to act on the convening topics.

Convenings Evaluation and Best Practice Development

  • Track and evaluate various convening activities against key success metrics, with an eye toward continuous improvement, including audience satisfaction, attendance, registration experience, future engagement with attendees, etc.
  • Create and manage clear processes for budget development and ongoing budget management; hold team members and domain team members accountable for budget decisions.
  • Analyze and evaluate what is working and what is not in the planning processes and make course corrections as needed; codify and communicate best practices.
  • Research and utilize technology to maximize efficient and effective planning and communication about tasks and progress.


  • You have 7+ years of professional experience in a combination of project management, fundraising, large-scale convening management, media, and/or other areas that require bringing an event vision to life as well as managing competing priorities against a fixed deadline. You have experience participating in professional networks/associations of event planners.
  • You have experience working with comprehensive event management tools (e.g. CVent) and one or more project management software (e.g. Asana).
  • You have managed both in-person and virtual events and have developed a toolkit of best practices for engaging audiences with a variety of event experiences.
  • You believe in Ascendís mission and share our passion for increasing equity.
  • You sweat the small stuff and bring exceptional attention to detail to everything you do.
  • You have an ability to forge and manage strong relationships with constituents at all levels.
  • You are a creative thinker and exceptional communicator and know how to get creative in solving problems that may arise.
  • You approach projects with a sense of possibility, see new challenges as an opportunity to learn and grow professionally, and take ownership over failures because you know it helps you grow fast.
  • You are your happiest and most successful in an entrepreneurial, collaborative, and fast-paced environment, and have a sense of humor.

Visit our career page at Work at the Aspen Institute | The Aspen Institute and follow the instructions for uploading your cover letter, sample of your work or writing, and resume. All interested applicants must submit a cover letter and resume. The cover letter should highlight applicantís qualifications and share why this exceptional opportunity is a strong fit.

Applications without resume, cover letter, and sample of work will not be considered.

The Aspen Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all District and federal laws. Ascend at the Aspen Institute is committed to having a workforce that reflects diversity at all levels of the program team. We recognize the importance of not viewing individuals based on a single identity, and we thrive on being equitable in our recruitment process as well as in our efforts to be inclusive of all employees. We encourage all applicants regardless of gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability, or other social identity.


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