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Program assistant, Aspen Words

The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute

Aspen, CO, USA
Posted on Thursday, August 10, 2023

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.

Program Description:

Aspen Words

Aspen Words was founded in 1976 as a literary center based in Aspen, CO. A program of the Aspen Institute, its mission is to encourage writers, inspire readers, and connect people through the power of stories. AW’s year-round programs include Summer Words, a writing conference and literary festival; Winter Words, a speaker series presenting the best of contemporary literature; the Aspen Words Literary Prize, a $35,000 annual award for fiction with social impact; as well as a writers-in-the schools program and writing residencies. For more information, visit http://www.aspenwords.org/.

Basic Function:

Aspen Words seeks a highly organized, detail-oriented Program Assistant capable of juggling multiple administrative needs. Our team expects the Program Assistant to have a strong interest and commitment to the Aspen Words’ mission and play an important role in a wide variety of projects, while maintaining a high standard of quality work in a fast-paced environment. The role includes administrative work such as data entry, registration management, booking travel and a strong customer service orientation, while also providing an opportunity to collaborate with a diverse group of stakeholders to support an array of distinct and meaningful literary programs. In doing so, the Program Assistant will be afforded a unique opportunity to do work that has substantive social purpose.

Candidate must have the ability to work under pressure and handle stress. Candidate must also have the ability to work from the Aspen Words office in Aspen, Colorado, a minimum of four days per week. Weekend and evening work will sometimes be required.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities


  • Manage Aspen Words’ general inbox and respond to emails as needed
  • Assist with preparations for AW public events--transport signage and supplies to event venue, assist with setup and cleanup
  • Book travel and accommodations for visiting guests and AW executive director
  • Serve as an AW ambassador by greeting authors at the Pitkin County Airport and driving authors to various local events
  • Create and manage registration forms for AW virtual and in-person events and programs. This includes close coordination with Aspen Institute central staff to create forms, run attendee reports and ensure smooth operations
  • Track attendee lists and information for participant groups ranging from 20-400 people
  • Ensure the accurate collection and storage of data, including participant information
  • Proofread various AW communications and assist with general correspondence
  • Order and maintain office supplies
  • Meet and coordinate with the Aspen Institute’s IT team to discuss any tech needs involving the AW team
  • Handle general shopping/coordination for board meetings, public events and AW executive director visits
  • Assist with book purchasing for various AW programs
  • Provide general administrative support for all AW programs

Knowledge, Education and Experience

  • A college degree is desirable
  • Impeccable attention to detail is essential
  • Superb communications skills over email and phone are essential
  • Excellent computer skills, particularly Microsoft Office Suite and web-based platforms for data and document management
  • Ability to navigate, quickly learn and troubleshoot a variety of technology platforms, such as Salesforce and other CRM platforms used for registration and constituent management
  • Strong administrative skills —the ability to proactively plan, organize, and follow through with staff and a variety of constituencies
  • Ability to work on multiple, time-sensitive projects in a fast-paced environment
  • Customer service orientation: patience, good listener, resourcefulness
  • Good interpersonal skills, including a desire to learn and a sense of humor

Not required but welcome

  • Experience working with youth and educators
  • Experience writing grants, press releases, newsletters or other marketing communications
  • Experience with WordPress and website development
  • Experience with Photoshop, Canva and other design programs

To Apply

To apply, please submit a resume and a cover letter articulating your interest in the position and explaining how your capabilities and experience match our candidate description above. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered.

Local candidates are strongly encouraged to apply.

Please note that applications are reviewed on a rolling basis until the position is filled. Due to the volume of applications we receive, we are not able to provide status updates to candidates. If you are selected for an interview, a member of our team will reach out via email.

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.