Washington, DC

Assistant Director for Strategy and Operations, The Aspen Institute

The Organization
The Aspen Institute, a national education and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC, is seeking applications and nominations for the position of Assistant Director for Strategy and Operations in the Education and Society Program.  Building on the Institute’s mission to foster leadership based on enduring values and a commitment to providing a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical social issues, the Education and Society Program seeks to improve public education by supporting frontline education leaders, practitioners, and key decision makers with a particular focus on ensuring equity for traditionally underserved students. By distilling and disseminating learnings across communities of policy and practice, the Education and Society program aims to inspire and influence education leaders.

Position Overview
The Assistant Director, Strategy and Operations is a new position that will work directly with the Executive Director across all aspects of Program activities and administration.  S/he will contribute to a thriving program by working with leaders of the Program’s practice and policy teams to ensure internal processes, strategies, and resources are aligned to Program goals. The Assistant Director is also responsible for managing Program finances, including contributing to the development and monitoring of the Program’s annual budget.

The ideal candidate will demonstrate success in operational oversight and project management as well as an appreciation for the challenges and opportunities facing public education improvement efforts, especially those targeting traditionally under-served students.  S/he will be an excellent team leader with the ability to effectively manage and mentor administrative staff, offering support as needed.  The ideal candidate will expand upon existing systems and implement processes for enhancing structures for collaboration, capturing and tracking relevant workflow details and offering strategic input for Program development opportunities.  S/he will bring leadership, wisdom, and humility to the task of developing and implementing strategies to enhance the operations of a growing program team. This is a full-time position reporting to the Executive Director of the Education and Society Program and located in Washington, DC.

Responsibilities and Opportunities

The Assistant Director will: Work in close partnership with program leadership and program staff to establish strategic systems and processes to support and assess program initiatives.  Specifically, s/he will:

  • Support the Executive Director and other team leaders in refining the strategic plan and establishing systems for setting program and team goals, work plans, and progress measures
  • Redesign and implement knowledge capture and knowledge management activities to better understand Program impact, fuel team learning and continuous improvement, and demonstrate Program effectiveness
  • Plan and execute a staff development strategy
  • Directly supervise an administrative team of 3 and review performance of staff periodically and annually with the Executive Director.
  • Work with staff to ensure excellence and efficiency in the Program’s many convenings, including ensuring that content-development, logistics, and participant-support functions are coordinated smoothly.
  • Build and facilitate opportunities with program staff for partnership and collaboration.  Specifically,  s/he will:
    • Actively seek opportunities to foster cross-team collaboration
    • Support cross-team learning and continuous improvement
    • Partner with the Executive Director to plan and facilitate internal team meetings including staff meetings, leadership team meetings, team retreats, and informal team activities (e.g., book study, social events, etc.)
    • Ensure coordination and collaboration with a National Commission housed within the Aspen Education Program, including coordination between the Commission and other Aspen Institute programs
  • Manage budget development and conduct financial oversight to ensure overall goals and obligations are met.  Specifically, s/he will:
    • In collaboration with the Executive Director and others, ensure the financial health of the Program by developing proposals, maintaining relationships with funder staff, and managing grant-reporting processes including interim reports and ensuring compliance with grants
    • Support development of an annual budget, monitor and adjust throughout the budget cycle as required
    • Oversee accounting functions of the program, supervise requests for payment and track invoices
    • Monitor monthly program expenditures, track expenditures by project and convening on a quarterly and annual basis and keep relevant program staff apprised of project budgets
    • Serve as Program Liaison to the Financial Services unit and work with the Financial Services team to gather and report financial information as needed for the Institute’s budget

Qualities of the Ideal Candidate

The ideal candidate for this position will have many of the following desired qualities and attributes:

Professional Experience & Education

  • Demonstrated leadership skills and 5-7 years of progressively responsible professional experience
  • Ability to master a diverse and demanding workload; and to manage projects successfully
  • Ability to manage and mentor staff and to develop a strong team culture
  • Experience working effectively with diverse groups of people who may have divergent interests
  • Prior program and project management experience is essential, ability set priorities and meet deadlines·
  • Experience with budget stewardship and financial management including monitoring of grants
  • Bachelor’s Degree required, Master’s Degree preferred or equivalent training and experience

Personal Attributes

  • A demonstrated passion and interest in developing process improvement strategies to elevate the work of a program committed to enhancing opportunities for young people through improved public education
  • Strong orientation towards collaboration and comfort working in a small team environment
  • The personal balance and confidence necessary to remain agile in assisting administrative staff with the demands of work overflow while also offering counsel and support to senior program leadership
  • Knowledge and interest in education policy and practice and passion for working with organizations that have actively contributed to education improvements
  • The willingness, wisdom, and initiative necessary to enhance processes for improved outcomes and the flexibility to adapt to changing program priorities
  • Demonstrated experience in building consensus and facilitating cross-team adoption or understanding of an idea or program
How To Apply
All nominations and applications which include a cover letter, resume, salary history, and source of knowledge of the position should be directed to ASPEN-ADIR@nonprofitprofessionals.com.

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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