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.

Administrative Assistant

Department: ASCEND

The 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 is a catalyst and convener for systems, policy, and social impact leaders who are working to create a world where every family passes a legacy of economic and educational success and well-being from one generation to the next. We serve as the hub for two-generation (2Gen) solutions and an amplifier of innovations that create pathways to economic mobility. 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, and the Family Prosperity Innovation Community. Ascend engages the perspectives, strengths, and resilience of families with low incomes to inform program design and policy development.


As Administrative Assistant, you will partner with the Associate Director, Postsecondary Success for Parents; Director, Leadership Programs; Director, 2Gen Practice; and Senior Director of Communications at Ascend (“Directors”) to support the logistical, operational, and communication details for their diverse portfolios. As Administrative Assistant, you will play a central role in providing efficient, responsive, and proactive support to maximize their time/schedule and assist with other operational responsibilities on an as needed basis. You will work with internal and external stakeholders to coordinate and prep for speaking and external engagements, manage key relationships, and manage logistics, ultimately ensuring the Directors have the leverage necessary to work both efficiently and effectively.

Key objectives for this role include:

  • Support the Directors in being a proactive, accessible and responsive leaders to ensure that the organizational goals and objectives are met and that operations are running efficiently
  • Maintain and refine internal processes that support the growing team, coordinating internal and external resources to expedite workflow
  • Coordinate and implement project plans that ensure the Directors’ priorities are met, organizational goals are achieved, and best practices are upheld

The ideal candidate will have stellar critical thinking skills and will be highly organized, with an ability to monitor and manage multiple workstreams simultaneously to ensure success. You are a skilled communicator, know how to sweat the small stuff and obsess over the details. You are a grounded, mature and unflappable professional who revels in this critically important, often “behind the scenes,” role. You have a passion for Ascend’s mission, are a quick and eager learner, are excited about balancing multiple — and often simultaneous — activities, and have extremely high standards for the quality of your work. You understand and respect senior director-level communications and confidentiality and exercise strong judgment at all times.

Preference is for the role to be based in Washington, D.C., but we are open to fully remote applicants. 


Administrative Support/Communications:

  • Manage scheduling for Directors; lead strategic coordination with external stakeholders and staff.
  • Act as first point of contact for outside inquiries. Handle written, telephone, and internet requests for information; draft, edit, and produce correspondence as requested, maintaining professionalism, confidentiality and discretion with all relationships and correspondence;
  • Arrange logistics for Directors’ external engagements, media requests, and other external commitments, including but not limited to duration of remarks, production notes, greeter information, and transportation;
  • Coordinate frequent, often complex, travel arrangements with meticulous attention to detail, including drafting itineraries, managing reservations, and processing expense reimbursement forms; and,
  • As needed, research and summarize briefing materials for meetings, conferences, speaking requests, and events, individually or in conjunction with team leads.

Operations and Coordination:

  • Internalize the Directors’ and team members’ priorities and anticipate needs, maintaining a strong sense of empathy and personal accountability;
  • Track deadlines and/or update organizational systems, such as Salesforce, to ensure productivity and effectiveness aligned to priorities;
  • Provide logistics support for Ascend convenings;
  • Draft agreements and vendor contracts, obtaining legal/compliance approvals, payment processing, and update and maintain relevant internal tracking systems;
  • Identify opportunities to improve the quality and efficiency of the program, and implement improvements as directed;
  • Manage expense report submission process for Directors’ expenses and approval process of their direct reports in an efficient and timely manner; and
  • Other duties, as needed.


  • You believe in Ascend’s mission and share our passion for increasing equity;
  • You enjoy working with seasoned and thoughtful senior leadership;
  • You have an inherent curiosity and possess at least a cursory understanding of public policy and/or the foundation landscape;
  • You are intrinsically motivated by operating behind-the-scenes to support others to do their best work;
  • You know how to get stuff done, whether that’s managing your own workflows or managing up and across to move priorities forward;
  • You consistently go above and beyond in meeting the needs of your team, and you take it upon yourself to proactively think of ways to make their workloads and schedules more manageable;
  • You have strong judgment and are skilled in navigating and handling sensitive relationships and/or confidential information and relationships;
  • You sweat the small stuff and bring exceptional attention to detail to everything you do, even when juggling multiple projects and tasks at once;
  • You are an exceptional communicator and relationship manager and can effectively influence internal and external stakeholders;
  • You like being a strategic problem-solver in order to find new and improved ways of getting work done;
  • 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,
  • You are nimble, thoughtful and assertive in managing up; you know how to prioritize, reprioritize and think on your feet.

Visit our career page at Work at the Aspen Institute | The Aspen Institute and follow the instructions for uploading your cover letter and and resume. All interested applicants must submit a cover letter and resume. The cover letter should highlight applicant’s qualifications and share why this exceptional opportunity is a strong fit.

Applications without resume and cover letter will not be considered.

The Institute has implemented a mandatory COVID vaccination policy for all employees who will work at one of our physical locations, attend any of our in-person events or travel on behalf of the Institute. Staff unable to be vaccinated may request an exemption under certain circumstances.

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.

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