Managing Director - Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group

6 days left

District of Columbia, United States
Salary Not specified
Sep 28, 2020
Oct 27, 2020
Employment Type
Full Time

Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Since its founding in 1949, the Institute has been driving change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most critical challenges facing communities in the United States and around the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more, visit

Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group

The Aspen Institute Community Strategies Group (CSG) is one of the twenty-eight policy programs at the Aspen Institute. Aspen CSG helps leaders and organizations at the community level in the United States develop and adapt strategies and policy that build more widely shared and lasting prosperity in communities and regions. Since 1985, CSG has worked with community leaders – as well as the foundations, associations, networks and organizations that partner with them – in towns and cities, counties and states, rural and urban places, on the local, regional and national levels.

Aspen CSG is especially noted for its work in rural America. More than 75% of our work focuses on rural places and economies, working with rural leaders and organizations. This is a strength and a special niche; we intend to strengthen and expand our focus on this work in the years to come.

CSG's initiatives and projects especially seek to:

  • Build economies and local wealth from the ground up.
  • Improve the livelihood of low-wealth families in their communities.
  • Advance the livelihood of communities within their regions.
  • Address the convergence of geographic, racial and economic inequity – and opportunity.
  • Develop capacity and strategy to build healthy, just and prosperous communities where everyone belongs and thrives.
  • Create and leverage locally controlled investment and philanthropic resources – and deploy them to address critical issues.
  • Forge vital connections between rural and urban places.

Overall, CSG helps sharpen the focus and action of community leaders and their partners. To do so, CSG:

  • Convenes thinkers and doers to swap strategies, innovate and find common ground.
  • Designs and facilitates action-inducing peer-learning among organizations, leaders and policymakers.
  • Manages national, statewide and regional initiatives that catalyze innovation and progress.
  • Builds networks and deploys them to spread good ideas and useful lessons
  • Produces practical tools, frameworks, analysis, stories and media that help leaders make better decisions.

Essential Functions, Duties and Responsibilities

The Managing Director, a new, flexible and senior position, will partner with the CSG Executive Director in developing, sharpening, deepening and delivering CSG's work. The Managing Director will:

  • Devise a long-term CSG vision and strategy that will shepherd CSG into the future through efforts that address both emerging opportunities and persistent challenges, in partnership with the Executive Director.
  • Conceptualize and address the fundraising, planning, management and implementation of CSG's entire portfolio of work in coordination with the Executive Director.
  • Assume primary responsibility for managing CSG operations – e.g., budget development and implementation, partnership and consulting contracts, contributing to and addressing Aspen Institute internal policies and procedures, and overseeing the day-to-day work of the organization.
  • Lead and conduct a significant share of CSG's program work, with functions ranging from peer-learning and direct engagement with locally based organizations across the country to research and analysis to devising frameworks, insights and approaches that shape and influence regional and national thinking and action.
  • Work hand-in-hand with the Executive Director to continue to develop and advance Thrive Rural: Connecting Rural Development, Opportunity and Health a new, multi-year initiative that is a partnership between CSG and the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
  • Help organize, amplify and leverage the knowledge, experience and know-how in CSG's networks and footprint across the nation with a focus on improving rural economic and community development and practice, forging better rural-urban connections within regions, reducing rural family poverty, and devising inclusive policy solutions that work for rural people, places and firms.
  • Develop productive methods for rural innovators to learn from and with each other so as to spread effective rural practice both far and deep.
  • Contribute to highlighting innovative local practices, which may include designing and leading site visits, peer-learning opportunities and facilitating discussions.
  • Communicate the results of CSG's work, including presenting at conferences; shaping and moderating in-person and virtual exchanges for practitioners, policymakers and funder/investors; contributing blogs and op-eds to appropriate outlets; producing, writing and editing a range of written products including research reports, articles, proposals, web copy and tools needed to communicate with a broad range of audiences – while ensuring the high quality and standards of CSG's public-facing work.
  • Liaise, work and develop useful collaborations with other programs throughout the Aspen Institute.
  • Work closely with the Executive Director and the CSG team to build CSG's and its partnering organizations' efforts into a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.
  • Partner with the Executive Director in piloting and strengthening the organization through a leadership transition, maintaining the relationships, reputation and contributions that the organization has made to communities throughout the country over the past 35 years.

Overall, the Managing Director will be instrumental in leading and transforming CSG's values-based work into high-impact programming and initiatives that are responsive to community demand and that address changes in the economy, practice, policy, demographics and communication – both those underway today and in the decades to come.

Skills, Education and Experience

  • 10+ years' experience in economic development, community development, sustainable development, population health and/or poverty alleviation, with preference for a mix of experience that that includes on-the-ground work as a practitioner.
  • Passion for and experience working in rural America, on rural issues, and familiarity with a range of rural people, places and economies, including low-income communities and communities of color.
  • Professional experience managing a non-profit organization and/or a significant initiative at a non-profit that includes developing and managing budgets, hiring and managing staff, raising funds and building partnerships, developing contracts, understanding and meeting legal requirements and standards, establishing and maintaining relationships with partners, funders and investors – and other administrative aspects of organizational development.
  • Creativity and success in raising funds and developing partnerships with philanthropic organizations and social enterprise investors.
  • Real enthusiasm for and interest in advancing the full portfolio of the type of work that CSG does, which includes peer-learning design and facilitation, tool development, research and analysis, interview and survey outreach, policy scrutiny, writing and tool development targeted at practitioners and influencers, field building efforts, partnership development, resource development, workshop and public presentations.
  • Experience managing projects or initiatives with many moving parts and actors.
  • Experience designing and facilitating effective peer-learning exchanges.
  • Ability to synthesize information across multiple sources, places and experience.
  • Ability to conceptualize and draft a variety of written products for multiple audiences.
  • Exceptional writing and analytic ability.
  • Strong verbal communication skills.
  • Ability to set priorities and meet deadlines.
  • Extremely high standards for the quality of his/her and the organization's work.
  • Demonstrated exceptional attention to detail on items – from the sublime to the mundane.
  • Ability to work both autonomously and as part of a close-knit team.
  • Ability to mentor staff and manage the work of external consultants.
  • Flexibility to adapt to changing program priorities and conditions.
  • Willingness to pitch in on any task as needed.
  • Humility in interaction – and a roll-with-the-punches sense of humor.
  • Preferred: Master's degree or higher in a relevant discipline. Bachelor's degree may be sufficient, based on experience.
  • Position requires travel. Amount varies depending on time of year and requirements of specific projects. Travel not required in exceptional times, for example, during times of pandemic.

Principal Interactions

Works directly with CSG program staff and consultants. Has routine interaction with project partners, constituents and funders -- and with Aspen Institute leadership and the staff of other Aspen programs.

To Apply

Please visit the Aspen Institute's career page and follow the instructions.

Cover letter is required. Cover letter should highlight applicant's specific qualifications for this position.

The Aspen Institute is committed to developing and having a workforce that reflects diversity at all levels. We encourage all applicants of any gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation, disability or social identity.

The Aspen Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all District and federal laws. Candidate must have the ability to work under pressure and handle stress. Candidate must also have the ability to meet the regular attendance policy of the Aspen Institute.