PEN America–an organization that stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide–seeks a highly organized, skilled, and energetic individual for full-time work as Executive Assistant to the Executive Director.  This position offers a significant opportunity for professional growth and development in a trusted and responsible administrative role that touches on all areas of PEN America’s activities. The successful candidate will be ready to become immersed in the work of a dynamic global human rights and literary organization with an ambitious agenda to heighten its impact.

The Executive Assistant works closely with the Executive Director, Chief Operating Officer, and the Director of Finance and Administration, and engages with all members of the staff. Particular emphasis is on administration, institutional advancement efforts, and organizational governance, including close contact with the Board of Trustees. The Executive Assistant is a right-hand person to the Executive Director and plays a critical role in the effective functioning of the PEN America management team, office, and the wider organization.  Critical duties include maintaining the Executive Director’s schedule, keeping her on time, assisting with correspondence, ensuring adequate preparations for meetings, taking notes and carrying out follow up actions, arranging travel and handling receipts and expense reimbursement.   Additional duties require the assistant to work in tandem with the various program staff to assist with events and program initiatives. The Executive Assistant oversees shared aspects of the intern program, and may be called upon to support office administration, facilities, and general trouble-shooting and problem-solving to maintain a productive work environment for staff.  

The Executive Assistant will have the opportunity to make a critical difference in a fast-paced environment within an organization that is quickly evolving and growing.  The position offers opportunities for increased responsibility over time.

Key responsibilities include:

  • Maintaining the Executive Director’s calendar and contacts
  • Scheduling meetings
  • Drafting letters, memos and agendas
  • Helping to ensure that all communications to the Executive Director are channeled appropriately and receive a requisite response
  • Maintaining comprehensive and readily accessible files
  • Scheduling and preparing materials for Board meetings and requisite follow-up; taking detailed minutes at staff and Board meetings; engaging with Trustees and supporting their participation in PEN America
  • Tracking action items and workplans to ensure initiatives are progressing
  • Conducting research and collecting information to prepare the Executive Director for meetings and speaking engagements
  • Overseeing the intern program
  • Planning and executing organizational activities including staff and Trustee retreats and office events
  • Anticipating needs, trouble-shooting and problem-solving across organizational operations
  • Other duties as assigned

Requirements include:

  • B.A. and superb academic credentials
  • At least one year in a similar assistant role, either in business or with nonprofit organization, supporting a person in a leadership position
  • Exacting attention to detail
  • High energy and a boundless work ethic
  • Capacity to track and systematize information
  • Ability to stay highly organized and multi-task in a fast-paced environment, and to work quickly and accurately under pressure
  • Independence, good judgment, and diplomatic skills
  • Professionalism and excellent interpersonal skills
  • Exemplary capacity to maintain confidentiality and discretion
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Experience supporting a Board of Directors a plus  
  • Interest in literature, human rights, and/or advocacy are a plus

Other: Applicants for this position must possess current U.S. work authorization valid for a minimum of two years from start date. Diverse candidates are particularly encouraged to apply.

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

Contact:  Please submit a cover letter, resume, an unedited writing sample, as well as the contact information for three references.  Please submit the entire application to [email protected]. Please use “Executive Assistant” and your name as the subject of your email. 

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.