Chief of Staff

PEN America, a growing nonprofit organization that stands at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a proactive, analytic, and high-bandwidth chief of staff to work closely with our senior leadership during a period of significant organizational growth. This role will facilitate a wide range of executive functions, including assembling, assessing, and presenting data; accelerating communication within the leadership team; supporting key recruitments; helping to steward the Board of Trustees; and undertaking special managerial projects. The successful candidate will be intrigued by organizational change, comfortable with numbers, proficient in creating clear and compelling visual presentations, adept at problem-solving, and eager to acquire management experience in the context of a mission-driven nonprofit. The position will report to the chief operating officer while also supporting the chief executive officer, the chief finance and administration officer, the director of human resources, and other members of senior leadership.

This position is a new one at PEN America, which is expanding its budget, staff, profile, and reach, in part as a result of an ongoing centenary fundraising campaign. The senior leadership requires a chief of staff who will work at the intersection of the big picture and necessary detail. This role will involve a mix of analytical projects; development of presentations; planning of meetings and events; drafting and review of written materials for internal and external use; troubleshooting management issues; and engagement with service providers, counterpart organizations, and individuals influential for our work. An affirmative commitment to PEN America’s mission to defend and celebrate free expression, spanning our work in human rights and with the literary and journalistic communities, is critical and will be the foundation for the strategic and administrative aspects of the role.

PEN America’s New York headquarters will be the primary focus for the chief of staff, and significant in-person presence is required. The role will also embrace our Washington and Los Angeles offices, and some projects will reflect our national and international presence. Success will require the ability to handle multiple projects simultaneously. Being able to analyze problems, engage stakeholders, and ferret out answers will be important, as will be developing responses to requests with creativity. The chief of staff will have the opportunity to be enmeshed in most aspects of PEN America’s programs, operations, and strategy, offering significant professional growth opportunities.


  • Facilitate the effectiveness and efficiency of PEN America’s senior leadership team
  • Respond to requests for information, data, and analyses
  • Prepare high-level presentations for internal and external audiences
  • Step in quickly and usefully to identify and respond to unanticipated or developing organizational needs
  • Undertake projects that involve or span the finance, development, communications, human resources, and operations teams
  • Support the human resources department with targeted recruitment of key staff, and develop and execute strategies that enhance the employee experience
  • Support and coordinate activities with the Board of Trustees, including meetings, retreats, and special projects
  • Assist managers across the organization to analyze and resolve challenges


  • Two to five years of experience in a relevant role that can be shown to have developed required skills, potentially as a business analyst or consultant at a management consulting firm, in an executive office, or as a chief of staff to a senior leader
  • Demonstrated success in project management requiring problem-solving skills
  • Fluency with data, budgets, and analysis
  • Expertise in creating effective, professional, multielement presentations
  • High-level oral and written communications capabilities
  • Ability to communicate with and facilitate communication among senior, mid-level, and early career colleagues
  • Ease with influential and well-known figures, including donors, trustees, leaders of counterpart organizations, high-profile writers, political figures, and celebrities
  • Commitment to the mission of PEN America demonstrated through professional, volunteer, or educational experience
  • Affinity for fast-paced, ambitious professional environments that require handling multiple, varied projects
  • Ability to exercise discretion and maintain confidentiality

Salary and Benefits: PEN America offers competitive compensation and benefits, commensurate with experience.

To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter, resume, and the contact information for three references. Please submit the entire application as one PDF to [email protected]. Please use “Chief of Staff” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Chief of Staff – Jane Doe”). Only complete applications will be reviewed, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

PEN America is an equal opportunity employer that does not discriminate in its hiring practices, and in order to build the strongest possible workforce, actively seeks a diverse applicant pool.

No phone calls, please.

About PEN America:

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect free expression in the United States and worldwide. We champion the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Our mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.