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Director of Operations, College Excellence Program (DC-Hybrid)

The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute

Washington, DC, USA
Posted on Thursday, February 8, 2024

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:

The Aspen Institute’s College Excellence Program supports colleges and universities in their quest to achieve a higher standard of excellence, delivering credentials that unlock life-changing careers and strengthen our economy, society, and democracy. We know it takes visionary college leaders to achieve this higher standard and we make it our mission to equip them with the knowledge, skills, and research-backed tools to inspire change, shift practice, and advance the capacity of colleges to deliver excellent and equitable student outcomes. Learn more at https://highered.aspeninstitute.org/

Basic Function:

The Director of Operations plays a lead role in managing and executing three functions essential to advancing the College Excellence Program’s mission: human resources, finances, and grant administration. This position is responsible for driving the processes that will identify, recruit, and hire staff, building the organizational culture that engages and develops staff, and providing people management support to the staff. The Director ensures finances are handled effectively to ensure strong stewardship of resources and to provide the strategic information needed for CEP’s program leaders to execute their work and devise revenue and expenditure strategies. The Director also devises and oversees the systems through which the senior team manages fundraising and grants, including prospecting new funders, stewarding existing funders, and completing grant reports.

This position reports to the Managing Director of CEP. The salary for this position is $150,000 - $170,000. This role will be in our Washington, DC office, with a minimum of twice per week in the office.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

The Director of Operations serves as a member of CEP’s senior team, leading and overseeing each of the areas listed below. The Director will lead a team that manages the program's human capital function, finances, grants, and overall operations.

  • Human capital:
    • Develop and execute systems for human capital development, including hiring, onboarding, professional development, and performance evaluation.
    • Lead the process of recruiting and hiring staff.
    • Maintain clear and transparent human capital policies, systems, and documentation, including job descriptions, promotion guidelines, and performance evaluation.
  • Finance:
    • Ensure the preparation of project budgets for grant proposals and contracts.
    • Ensure strong financial reporting to directors and effective monitoring of budgets at the project and CEP levels.
    • Conduct quarterly strategic budget analysis across programs and for CEP overall to project revenue expectations and needs, track spending, identify opportunities for efficiencies, and comply with Aspen Institute budget modeling and management processes.
    • Oversee CEP Core/Admin budget and, with the Executive Director, reserve funds.
  • Grants management:
    • Develop and execute funder, stewardship, and grants strategy, including managing systems to ensure consistent outreach to funders, monitoring funder communications, preparing for grant renewals, and ensuring timely and high-quality grant proposals and reports.
  • Communications:
    • Ensure strong communication between operations teams and CEP program divisions.
    • Serve as a strategic liaison to Aspen central services, ensuring that CEP adheres to Aspen policies and protocol and representing CEP at external and internal Aspen-wide meetings.
  • Operations:
    • Provide coaching and thought partnership to people managers and others to build program capacity for professional development and growth.
    • Conduct periodic strategic reviews of partnerships, including consultants, vendors, and contractors, to analyze the efficiency and effectiveness of spending and capacity needs.
    • Oversee and manage operational relationships and processes, including contract agreements and relationships, due diligence reviews, and legal review from the Aspen Institute legal department.
  • Support the Managing Director and Executive Director in developing and executing the strategies and agendas of senior team and staff meetings, including twice-annual home weeks and periodic senior team retreats.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Knowledge, Education, and Experience:

  • 10+ years of relevant work experience with a track record of effective management of operations at a comparable mission-focused organization.
  • An undergraduate degree is required, master’s degree in business, public administration, or a related field is strongly preferred (Equivalent experience will be considered).
  • Enthusiasm for the mission of CEP.
  • Ability to plan and lead complex projects with multiple stakeholders and timelines.
  • Significant people management experience, with the ability to coach others toward high-quality people management.
  • An understanding of the needs of a smaller nonprofit program and the capacity and skills to both manage and execute. Motivated more by whether work is done at high-quality levels than by who did it.
  • Experience in grant preparation, grant reporting, and management of grant-funded work to achieve outcomes.
  • Ability to communicate effectively with diverse audiences and to collaborate with partners and colleagues.
  • Flexibility to adapt to changing program priorities, ability to manage multiple tasks, and willingness to pitch in where needed.

To apply:

All interested applicants must submit the following:

1. A one-page cover letter. CEP prefers cover letters that describe what motivates you and how you understand and relate to our mission rather than a narrative version of your resume. Applications without a cover letter will not be considered.

2. Resume/CV.

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.

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