Executive Assistant and Board Liaison

PEN America, a nonprofit organization working at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a highly organized, diligent, skilled, and energetic individual for full-time work as a high-level executive assistant and liaison to the Board of Trustees. This position offers a substantial opportunity for significant levels of responsibility, 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 role affords exposure to all aspects of nonprofit organization management as well as contact with an array of prominent literary figures and free expression advocates. This position is in person at PEN America’s SoHo office in New York, where all appropriate health protocols and precautions are being taken. Due to current guidelines provided by New York State and City health authorities, the position is temporarily remote, however, applicants should be available and comfortable reporting to the office every day starting in the spring.

The executive assistant and Board liaison works closely with the CEO, chief operating officer, and the director of finance and administration and engages with all members of the staff. The position also involves close contact with and support of the Board of Trustees, an active group of prominent writers, publishers, business leaders, and philanthropists.

The executive assistant and Board liaison is a right-hand person to the CEO and plays a critical role in the effective functioning of the PEN America management team, office, and the wider organization. Particular emphasis is on administration, scheduling, correspondence, and meeting preparation. Critical duties include maintaining the CEO’s schedule and keeping her on time, drafting and proofing correspondence, tracking contacts, ensuring preparation 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 staff across the organization to assist with events and initiatives. The executive assistant and Board liaison may be called upon to provide defined support to other members of the executive office. The Board liaison facet of the role involves scheduling and preparing for Board and Committee meetings, meeting the needs of Trustees, ensuring that Board follow-ups and action items are completed, taking detailed minutes, arranging Board social events, and otherwise supporting every aspect of Board functioning.

The executive assistant and Board liaison will have the opportunity to make a critical difference in a fast-paced environment in an organization that is quickly evolving and expanding, with opportunities for increased responsibilities over time.

Candidates representing diverse backgrounds strongly encouraged to apply.

Key Responsibilities:

CEO Support

  • Manage the CEO’s calendar, including coordinating meetings in and out of the office, and organizing domestic and international travel
  • Schedule meetings and ensure that logistics and materials are properly prepared
  • Manage contacts and help ensure that all communications to the CEO are channeled appropriately and receive a timely response
  • Draft correspondence, including emails, letters, memos, and agendas
  • Conduct research, collect information, and draft content to prepare the CEO for meetings and speaking engagements
  • Maintain comprehensive and readily accessible files
  • Anticipate and facilitate the requirements of a fast-paced executive office with a wide range of internal and external engagements and projects

Board of Trustees Support

  • Support all aspects of the operations of the Board of Trustees, including the Executive, Finance, and Nominating and Governance Committees
  • Schedule, develop the agenda for, prepare materials for, and take detailed minutes at full Board meetings and Board Committee meetings
  • Ensure follow-up on Board action items
  • Engage with Trustees and cultivate their participation in PEN America
  • Facilitate the deepening of Board capacity, including through retreats, social activities, and training

Cross-Departmental Initiatives

  • Organize Directors’ meetings, seasonal all-staff events, and other cross-departmental planning processes and track action items to ensure initiatives are progressing
  • Recruit and supervise executive interns
  • Other duties as assigned


  • BA degree and superb academic credentials
  • At least one year in a similar assistant role in a demanding, fast-paced environment, either in business or with a 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 multitask in a dynamic 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
  • A track record for exercising sound judgement and forethought even in the execution of mundane tasks
  • A track record for going the extra mile at work, consistently taking initiative, thinking ahead, putting in the extra effort, and delivering beyond expectations
  • Interest in literature, human rights, and/or advocacy and in nonprofit organization management are a plus

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

To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter, resume, unedited writing sample, and the contact information for three references. Please submit the entire application to [email protected]. One PDF is preferred. Please use “Executive Assistant and Board Liaison” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Executive Assistant and Board Liaison – Jane Doe”). Only complete applications will be reviewed, and only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Applicants for this position must possess current U.S. work authorization valid for a minimum of two years from start date.

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.