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.

Managing Director, Aspen Young Leaders Fellowship


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.

Youth Leadership Programs identifies, cultivates, and amplifies the talent of rising generations and the ecosystems that support them. The department works with youth up to the age of 25 to redress the most complex and challenging social, political, and scientific issues facing communities not in some distant future but today. The department is home to The Aspen Challenge, Aspen Young Leaders Fellowship, Bezos Scholars, and Youth Lead Now.

The Aspen Young Leaders Fellowship (AYLF) identifies, cultivates, and amplifies future generations of talent to engage in the values-based leadership essential for transforming their lives and society for the better. AYLF is a place-based, multi-site program that nurtures a cadre of diverse youth ages 18 – 24 to support (1) degree completion, (2) workforce readiness and placement, and (3) civic engagement that addresses the most compelling social, political, and scientific issues facing their communities. AYLF accelerates leadership development, socio-emotional learning, and social innovation along with fellows’ abilities to effectuate change both inside and outside of systems. The program operates on a 1+4 model (1 year of intensive training coupled with 4 years of targeted support for degree completion and workforce placement) and stimulates long-term community transformation through a whole-systems approach involving families, educators, and community stakeholders.

Basic Function:

The selected candidate will manage a diverse, dynamic, and high-performing team focused on youth and community development. The Managing Director will operate remotely and reports to the Executive Director of Youth Leadership Programs. This position is responsible for the strategic, programmatic, operational, and financial success of the program, importantly, with direct fundraising responsibility for a $2.5 million annual budget. The managing director provides executive leadership to a program team of ~8 staff while also working closely with funding partners and donors. These responsibilities are achieved via an unwavering commitment to working equitably in communities with youth, families, and educators.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:


  • Manage day-to-day work of the AYLF program team setting strategy and priorities for AYLF ensuring achievement of core performance goals
  • Build program communications to share the AYLF story and impact narrative
  • Promote a proactive, inclusive, and collaborative culture; cultivate optimization of resources and efforts across AYLF and the Youth Leadership Programs Unit 


  • Oversee three core AYLF areas (learning strategy, community strategy, and operations) ensuring delivery against goals and expectations
  • Accountable for ensuring all internal/external work (e.g., MOUs, funding agreements, re-grants, legal compliance, risk and liability) meets established Institute standards and protocols
  • Support the continued strategic evolution of AYLF working in concert with staff, the program founder, advisory council, and funders to determine future sites, build local and national networks, and drive program performance

Fundraising & Finance:

  • Accountable for raising and managing $2.5 million budget inclusive of, but not limited to, setting and ensuring compliance with cost parameters, revenue and expense processing, as well as accounting/payment authorization
  • Create and implement annual plans to reach short- and long-term financial objectives for major and planned gifts. Design and implement development themes, outreach, and communications strategies that feature compelling opportunities for donor investment
  • Monitor fundraising results and activity on an ongoing basis meeting with the Advancement office and to identify areas of highest concern and priority
  • Effectively steward major donors and foundations building alignment between giving needs and programmatic impact

Knowledge, Education & Experience:

We’re seeking candidates who can work effectively with diverse teams and communities, juggle complex projects, and cultivate strong relationships with donors and partners. A successful candidate will have expertise working with educational systems and significant systems management, fundraising, finance, supervisory, and communications experience. The candidate will have a proven ability to direct strategy, secure necessary funding, and function in an evolving environment that requires empathy, flexibility, and the ability to set strategy.

  • Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 15 years of professional work experience with track record of effective management and accomplishments; Completion of advanced degree preferred.
  • Significant experience working with educational institutions and their constituents.
  • Demonstrated ability to raise dollars and steward donor relationships.
  • Excellent cultural competence and experience working directly with constituents from diverse racial, ethnic, socio-economic, and geographic backgrounds.
  • Excellent computer skills, particularly Microsoft Office Suite, Adobe Creative Cloud Suites, contact databases, and complex spreadsheets.
  • Strong organizational and motivational skills including experience supervising work teams.
  • Strong analytical skills to support strategy development.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills, including a desire to learn, sense of humor, and creativity.
  • Excellent and demonstrable writing and oral communication skills.
  • Direct experience with and strong capacity for managing large-scale, complex grant agreements
  • Willingness and ability to travel (up to 40% annually)

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

Candidate must have the ability to work under pressure and handle stress. Candidate must also have the ability to meet the regular attendance policy of the Aspen Institute.

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