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.

Operations Manager

Department: ASCEND
Location: Washington, DC
Salary: $88,000 - $112,000 per year

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 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 Ė and is committed to advancing gender and racial equity. We believe that early childhood care and learning, 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 at 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.

Key Responsibilities:

The Operations Manager will provide high-level operational, administrative, and outreach support and leverage to Ascendís Managing Director as well as the Operations and Programs teams. Reporting directly to Ascendís Managing Director, you will ensure Ascendís internal operations support Ascendís cutting-edge policies, programs, research, and communications that create a cycle of opportunity for all children and families in the United States.  Additionally, you will gain visibility and experience providing logistical support for virtual and in-person convenings, which are a critical to the success of Ascendís work.  You will join the dynamic, entrepreneurial, high-performing Ascend team of ~25 team members (ďAscendersĒ), situated within the larger environment of the Aspen Institute in its Washington, DC headquarters.

This is a terrific opportunity for someone who loves to enable the success of others and can bring a process-driven and systems approach to streamline how efficiently we are able to support our constituents. This role will also provide you with visibility across the organization, such that you will have opportunities to learn about all aspects of Ascendís work and set you up for additional management and leadership opportunities within the organization and in your career. Youíll work alongside Ascendís Managing Director, team of three administrative assistants, and our broader team to fortify how we function as a collaborative team.

The ideal candidate is a talented, early-career operations professional with experience handling a wide range of organizational systems that ensure efficient internal operations; is creative and eager to implement new strategies to an organization that is quickly scaling its operations; and has extremely high standards for the quality of their work.  You are energized by ensuring our Salesforce database as well as other systems (SharePoint, Excel, Project Management tools) are consistently utilized by the team, gathering insights while generating recommendations on how we optimize our work, and you will conduct periodic trainings and cleanup efforts to ensure the integrity of Ascendís reporting.  You bring an impeccable attention to detail, superior organizational skills, exceptional verbal and written communication skills, as well as the ability to flourish in a dynamic environment.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities

Internal Operations (75%)

  • Design, implement, and improve upon Ascendís internal operations processes and protocols, including electronic documents and records;
  • Train team members on Ascendís internal operations and protocols;
  • Manage and assess the integrity of Ascendís CRM platform (Salesforce);
  • Maintain monthly Salesforce tracking of Ascendís technical assistance and outreach efforts;
  • Identify, implement, and assess use of file sharing platforms, project management tools, and virtual convening platforms (Zoom, Remo, Circles, etc.);
  • Support the design and facilitation of Ascend convenings and related logistics;
  • Seek training and peer learning opportunities across Aspen Institute departments and programs to take advantage of shared resources; and
  • Liaise with Ascend team members and other Aspen departments (e.g. accounting, due diligence review, finance, etc.) to process and monitor consultant and vendor contracts and payments.
  • Work with consultants to troubleshoot system issues and implements new tools as needed;

Centralized Ascend Team Responsibilities (25%)

  • Provide logistical support for briefings, forums, roundtables, and other convenings;
  • Support program staff in maintaining best-in-class electronic and hard copy filing systems;
  • Support program staff in maintaining a contacts database and ensure quality control of data entered by other staff; 
  • Prepare and submit payment request for invoices that have been reviewed by the program staff (e.g. contracts and vendor payments), and liaise with accounting department to ensure timely payments; and
  • Identify opportunities to improve the quality and efficiency of Ascendís reporting, documentation, and implement improvements.

Knowledge, Education and Experience:

  • 5+ years of experience in internal operations, administrative, convening/event logistics, and/or research support, preferably in the nonprofit sector;
  • Strong passion for nonprofit organizational effectiveness;
  • 3+ years of experience and affinity for systems, particularly Salesforce, Google Drive Microsoft Outlook (including managing multiple, complex calendars), Microsoft Excel (including creation and maintenance of complex spreadsheets); and Microsoft PowerPoint (including development of dynamic PowerPoint presentations);
  • Superior attention to detail and ability to manage multiple tasks;
  • Experience establishing organizational systems to improve efficiency and functioning in a rapidly-changing and scaling environment;
  • You enjoy working with a seasoned and visionary executive;
  • 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 thatís managing your own workflows or managing up and across to move priorities forward;
  • You sweat the small stuff and bring exceptional attention to detail to everything you do, even when juggling multiple projects and tasks at once;
  • Strong customer service orientation: patience, listening, resourcefulness, responsiveness, and attention to detail;
  • Strong critical thinking skills, discretion with sensitive information and judgment;
  • Ability to work with diverse audiences and proven ability to effectively interface with senior executives;
  • Strong verbal communications skills, written and oral;
  • A desire to learn, sense of humor, flexibility, and resourcefulness;
  • Deep and demonstrated commitment to Ascendís core values of agility, boldness, creativity, determination, and excellence.

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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