Executive Assistant to the CEO

PEN America, a nonprofit organization working at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a highly organized, diligent, and skilled executive assistant to the chief executive officer. This position offers a significant opportunity for high levels of responsibility in a dynamic 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 growing global human rights and literary organization with an ambitious agenda to heighten its impact. This is a full-time interim position with the potential of permanent placement, based at PEN America’s New York City headquarters, and reporting directly to the chief executive officer.

The executive assistant will support CEO Suzanne Nossel, an internationally recognized authority on free expression and author of Dare to Speak: Defending Free Speech for All who makes frequent speaking and media appearances. The role also liaises with PEN America’s senior leaders and engages with all members of staff, as well as external supporters and counterpart organizations. As the  right-hand person to the CEO, the executive assistant will take on a broad range of administrative functions and will play a critical role in the effective functioning of the PEN America management team, office, and the wider organization. Key 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 expense reconciliation. Additional duties require the assistant to work in tandem with staff across the organization to assist with events and initiatives.

The executive assistant will have the opportunity to make an important difference in a fast-paced environment in a mission-driven organization, coming in contact with leading human rights advocates, eminent authors and others from the literary community, and notable representatives of the nonprofit and public interest sectors. As PEN America continues to evolve and expand, there will be opportunities for increased responsibilities over time.


  • Manage the CEO’s calendar, schedule meetings, and coordinate travel
  • 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
  • Engage with and cultivate the participation of writers, donors, public programming participants, and other supporters in PEN America
  • Liaise with other members of the senior leadership team to facilitate the CEO’s activities and organizational priorities
  • Track action items and ensure priorities of the CEO and senior leadership are progressing
  • Undertake special projects, all-staff events, and other organizational activities
  • Recruitment and supervision of executive interns
  • Other duties as assigned


  • B.A. degree and demonstrated academic achievement
  • 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
  • Capacity to track and systematize information
  • Ability to stay highly organized and multi-task in a dynamic environment, and to work quickly and accurately under pressure
  • Independence, good judgment, and diplomacy
  • Professionalism and excellent interpersonal skills
  • Exemplary capacity to maintain confidentiality and discretion
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills
  • A track record for exercising sound judgment 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 a plus

Salary and Benefits: PEN America offers competitive compensation and full benefits. The salary range for this position is $45k-70k, commensurate with experience. Candidates whose expectations are outside this range are welcome to apply, as PEN America is open to considering talented individuals at varying stages of their careers. PEN America’s benefits package includes medical, dental, and vision health insurance, paid time off, ten paid holidays, pre-tax commuter benefits and a 403b retirement plan. 

To Apply:

Please submit a cover letter, resume, and unedited writing sample. Submit the entire application to [email protected]. Please use “Executive Assistant” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Executive Assistant – 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.