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.


Policy Advisor

Department: ASPEN DIGITAL
Location:
Salary: $100,000 - $125,000 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.

Role Overview

We are looking for an experienced policy advisor who loves writing and building policy deliverables to mentor and support policy trainees at the Aspen Tech Policy Hub.

Aspen Tech Policy Hub

The Aspen Tech Policy Hub is a West Coast policy incubator, training a new generation of science and tech policy entrepreneurs. We take science and tech experts, teach them the policy process through fellowship and training programs, and encourage them to develop outside-the-box solutions to society’s problems. We model ourselves after tech incubators like Y Combinator, but train new policy thinkers and focus the impact of their ideas.

To date, we have trained over 200 scientists and technologists through our fellowship and training programs. Our trainees have already made a considerable impact on STEM policy, from advising county governments of coastal communities on mitigating the effects of sea-level rise, to proposing amendments to the California Consumer Privacy Act regulations, to advising the City of New York on how to improve the provision of broadband services to help close the digital divide. The Hub is increasingly expanding its policy trainings beyond tech policy; it recently completed a Climate Cohort of its fellowship program, and is currently partnering with the Aspen Institute Food and Society program to train food experts in policy.

The Aspen Tech Policy Hub is a part of Aspen Digital, an Institute program that empowers policy-makers, civic organizations, companies, and the public to be responsible stewards of technology and media in the service of an informed, just, and equitable world.

Responsibilities

The Policy Advisor will primarily be responsible for teaching trainees how to have policy impact, especially by 1) supporting them in improving their writing and communication skills and 2) mentoring trainees on policy projects, including by providing guidance on project substance and editing project products such as policy memos and app demos. The Policy Advisor will also be responsible for mentoring trainees on careers in policy; supporting Hub curriculum development, including identifying guest and keynote speakers for our programs; and meeting with external stakeholders such as government agencies or company policy officials to promote trainee projects. Teaching experience is not a requirement for this role, but candidates with an interest in teaching may also have the opportunity to teach class sessions.

This is an ideal role for a candidate who loves writing, and especially editing and improving written policy documents. The bulk of the Policy Advisor’s time will be spent improving documents written by our fellows: clarifying their message, adding ‘Bottom Line Up Front,’ improving logical flow, etc. When a Hub fellowship cohort is not in session, a portion of the Policy Advisor’s time (approximately 20%) will be reserved to help on other Hub projects as needed, such as writing portions of the Diversity in Cybersecurity and Diversity in Climate Policy reports we recently published.

The ideal candidate is a multi-talented, mid-career professional with at least 3 years of experience working in public policy; is able to balance multiple projects simultaneously; is an excellent writer; and has extremely high standards for the quality of their work. It is preferred that the candidate has some experience in science or technology policy, though that is not a requirement.

The role is a good fit for candidates who are transitioning out of a government or a company policy position and are interested in using their expertise to mentor and train the next generation of policy leaders. This position requires balancing multiple activities, as the Policy Advisor may be overseeing a dozen trainee projects at once. The Advisor will work closely with the Hub’s Director and Deputy Director.

Qualified candidates must demonstrate: an extensive knowledge of policy; exceptional verbal and written communication skills; impeccable attention to detail; and the ability to flourish in a fast-paced environment. Candidates can reside in any location, but must be willing to relocate to the Bay Area for up to 10 weeks in the Summer of 2023 to help lead our in-person fellowship program.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Writing and Communications Support (40%)

  • Provide extensive feedback on policy memos, public comments, pitch sessions, and other exercises trainees participate in as part of our program;
  • Provide supervision and feedback on fellow work products, including but not limited to policy memos, wireframes, and app demos. Specific responsibilities might include providing feedback on stakeholder maps for trainee projects, identifying relevant experts trainees might engage with, providing mentorship on effective advocacy plans for projects, and helping fellows revise policy problem statements; and
  • Provide writing and design edits on fellow work products to ensure that all projects formally published meet high standards of professionalism;

Policy Project Coordination (20%)

  • Help identify and coordinate policy projects with government or company stakeholders;
  • Shepherd policy products to completion, including by working with copyeditors, designers, and web designers; and
  • Meet with external stakeholders such as journalists, government officials or company policy teams to help promote fellow work products and drive policy change.

Fellow Mentorship (20% during cohorts, 10% when cohorts are not in session)

  • Provide extensive mentorship support to fellows, meeting with them on a weekly basis, assisting them with career plans, and connecting them to relevant policy leaders as needed;

Curriculum Development (20% during cohorts, 10% when cohorts are not in session)

  • Assist in revising training program curricula, working with the Director and Deputy Director to improve class sessions and activities based on trainee feedback;
  • Moderate panels with policy experts as part of training programs; past speakers for our programs have included Tom Kalil, Ann Mei Chang, and Neil Chatterjee;
  • Provide feedback on curricula for new Hub initiatives, such as executive education programs or topic-specific fellowships; and
  • (If the advisor has teaching experience and interest) Co-teach policy sessions for our training programs that are focused on teaching technology experts the policy process. Sample teaching topics include: Scoping a Policy Problem, Stakeholder Mapping, Executive Branch 101, Legislative Branch 101, and Company Policy 101.

Support on Other Hub Projects (20% during times when Hub cohorts are not in session)

  • Support development of long-form Hub thought leadership pieces such as the Diversity in Cybersecurity report we recently published;
  • Support other Hub projects, as needed.

Knowledge, Education and Experience:

Required:

  • Bachelor’s degree;
  • 3+ years of professional experience or the equivalent working in policy or related field;
  • Strong, demonstrable writing and editing skills;
  • Passion for helping grow and mentor the next generation of policy leaders;
  • Superior attention to detail and ability to manage multiple projects;
  • Professional and polished interpersonal skills; and
  • A desire to learn, sense of humor, flexibility, and resourcefulness.

Preferred:

  • Graduate degree in law, public policy, business, or a similar field;
  • 2+ years working in science, technology, or innovation policy;
  • 7+ years professional experience in public policy or related field;
  • 2+ years of professional experience working in government at any level in the United States;
  • Experience teaching large groups complex materials; and
  • Experience with mentorship.

Salary: $100,000-125,000 per year, commensurate with experience.


Applicants should submit a cover letter and resume through the online portal. Applicants without a cover letter will not be considered.

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.

Individuals needing an accommodation to complete the job application can contact HRSupport@aspeninstitute.org or call (202) 736-1074.

 

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