Senior Manager, PEN Across America

PEN America, a nonprofit organization working at the intersection of literature and human rights, seeks a senior manager to lead its PEN Across America program, developing and sustaining our national network of chapters. The senior manager will mobilize PEN America Members, local and regional art and literature communities, as well as other supporters and community allies to address threats to free expression, engage with literature, and otherwise link PEN America’s mission to issues of local concern. They will create and help implement strategies and programs, develop regional and local leadership, nurture partnerships, and cultivate funders. This is a full-time position based at PEN America’s New York headquarters and requires substantial travel, including outside of regular work hours and on occasional weekends. The senior manager will report to the Director, National Outreach and Engagement.

The PEN Across America senior manager will bring PEN America’s mission to a growing network of chapters nationwide, focusing on issues such as the defense of press freedom, support of local media, the intersection of literature and activism, the amplification of marginalized voices, and the protection of free expression. They will leverage PEN America’s unique assets, including its national membership, subject matter experts, campaigns and programs on press freedom and media literacy, and connections to fiction and nonfiction writers, journalists, poets, playwrights, and other literary community voices. 

Candidates should be high-energy, creative, and pragmatic, attuned to political and social issues, able to engage with a wide variety of writers and other literary and artistic supporters, and able to push forward a multifaceted initiative lying at the center of PEN America’s organizational growth. They must also be comfortable in an organization that defends the right to free expression of all, regardless of ideology or political affiliation, while retaining a focus on raising marginalized voices. 

The senior manager will be responsible for identifying opportunities; pursuing new partners and diverse stakeholders in journalistic, literary, cultural, and academic circles; organizing compelling and impactful work; and fostering collaborations with various PEN America departments, office locations, and external partners. They will autonomously develop and execute activities across the country. These activities—including town halls, civic dialogues, skill-building sessions, film screenings, lectures, panel conversations, bookstore events, activism and engagement opportunities, and other advocacy-related activities—will be led by journalists, writers, and community activists, many of whom are PEN America Members, and allied organizations such as libraries, independent bookstores, universities, and civic groups. In addition to creating opportunities, nurturing a national network of key stakeholders and community partners, and prioritizing impact, the senior manager will develop programming models, toolkits, content, audience-building, and community engagement strategies to ensure vibrant programming at the local level, support regional PEN America chapter leaders, support the creation of new chapters, and expand Membership. 

This candidate will have an affinity for work across varied geographical regions and experience in strategic program development, community engagement, event planning, outreach and media relations, fundraising, project management, and logistics. 

The senior manager will supervise at least one full-time staff member with additional team members anticipated as the program expands. They will also draw on the resources of the full organization, working in partnership with program teams, as well as the Communications and Development departments.

In alignment with PEN America’s current policy, all applicants should be available to report to the office in person at least three days per week. This policy is subject to change.


  • Conceptualize, direct, and execute a strategy to engage a wide range of community partners in PEN America activities, support a sustained nationwide presence
  • Design event programming, mobilizations, and other initiatives to engage Members, supporters, community partners, and other allies in new and established regions in response to threats to free expression, including press freedom defense, and literary advocacy 
  • Creatively and responsibly implement grant funds in combination with the utilization of organizational resources, staff expertise, and opportunities for mission alignment 
  • Identify and cultivate resources to support and expand PEN Across America  initiatives, which may involve the expansion and sustainability of existing chapters and the creation of new chapters; this will include identification of funding opportunities at local and regional levels, engagement with individual and institutional donors, and preparation of proposals
  • Identify ways to tell the story of PEN Across America, and create measurement frameworks to assess outcomes and evaluate impact
  • Empower and equip PEN America communities for partnership building, community and audience engagement, outreach and media relations, event production, project management, and fundraising 
  • Integrate PEN America chapters into other aspects of the organization, including advocacy campaigns, the Board of Trustees, and digital communication channels 
  • Represent PEN America regionally at events, book fairs, and industry events

All PEN America staff are considered to be stakeholders in the development of our shared organization. As such, staff play a role in varied activities within the workplace as part of their job responsibilities. These may include committees or task forces to work on office issues, diversity and inclusion, strategy projects, training, or other initiatives.


  • Minimum of at least five years of demonstrated professional experience relevant to PEN America’s mission to advance free expression, an affinity for the literary community, and an expressed interest in justice and human rights activism 
  • Relevant work in strategic partnership building, community engagement, project development and management, and capacity building 
  • Experience in transforming programming ideas into successful multidimensional programs, with an ability to implement methods of evaluation that measure impact  
  • Deep commitment to diversity and inclusiveness through proactive approaches, including building diverse alliances and promoting dialogue that embraces and responds to varied communities and views 
  • Track record as an energetic self-starter with the ability to think creatively and collaboratively, and to work independently and as part of a professional, fast-paced team 
  • Exceptional writing, research, design, and communication skills, including the ability to quickly create engaging content targeted toward specific audiences 
  • Great empathy, listening skills, and negotiation skills, with a keen interest in considering various scenarios to benefit multiple parties 
  • Knowledge of media, press freedom, and literary expression issues at both national and local levels, with expertise preferred in regions outside of New York City, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles 
  • Experience in fundraising, proposal development, and donor stewardship 
  • The ability to travel in the United States (currently estimated at being up to 25 percent of Senior Manager’s time ) 
  • The ability to conduct weekday and weekend programming outside of traditional work hours
  • Familiarity with WordPress and Raiser’s Edge is preferred but not required

Salary and Benefits: PEN America offers competitive compensation and full benefits. The salary range for this position is $75-80k, 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, 10 paid holidays, pre-tax commuter benefits and a 403b retirement plan.


Please submit a cover letter and resume to [email protected]. Use “Senior Manager, PEN Across America” and your name as the subject of your email (for example, “Senior Manager, PEN Across America – Jane Doe”). Please also share where you heard about this position in the body 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.

No phone calls, please. 


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.