Special Assistant and Project Administrator (Research to Action Lab)

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Who we are:

At the Urban Institute, we believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities.  Our employees are empowered to influence policy, open minds, shape decisions and offer solutions.  We encourage intellectual honesty, innovation, diversity, and mutual respect, and our analysis elevates debate, wherever it takes place.

Within the Urban Institute, the Research to Action Lab is an innovation hub serving decisionmakers and creative thinkers eager to effect social change. We draw on the breadth and depth of Urban’s research insights to test new strategies and develop cutting-edge tools, programs, and trainings, as well as to provide strategic and philanthropic advice to public, nonprofit, and private sector leaders.

How you’ll contribute:

The Urban Institute is seeking a special assistant and project administrator to support the chief innovation officer (CIO) and vice president of the Research to Action Lab. As a key member of the Research to Action Lab, this individual will be at the center of a strong team engaged in important work.  They will work closely with the CIO, a senior leader who leads the development of research programs, engages with key stakeholders, conducts external speaking engagements, and helps drive institutional strategy as well as the Research to Action Lab’s work on equity and inclusion at the local level.

The candidate will be responsible for supporting all the CIO’s activities and calendar planning with a high degree of professionalism, sensitivity to important relationships, and attentiveness to issues requiring the CIO’s attention. They will help the CIO monitor progress, prioritize various tasks and delegate responsibilities. They will also have the opportunity to take on special projects as needed.

Strong candidates will have an interest in better understanding the public policy landscape, the broad range of social and economic issues addressed by Urban Institute researchers, and nonprofit organizational management, as well as be motivated to pursue a career in public policy or a related field. In addition, they will be excited to join a team in a fast-paced office and thrives in dynamic conditions.

The special assistant to the chief innovation officer will:

  • Work closely with the CIO in managing an active calendar and scheduling meetings, events, and travel;
  • Track and support completion of CIO responsibilities and ongoing list or priorities,
  • Delegate CIO tasks and responsibilities to other senior managers as appropriate and in consultation with CIO;
  • Prepare briefing memos and background research to prepare the CIO for internal meetings and external engagements;
  • Monitor email correspondence closely, identifying follow-up tasks, and drafting correspondence;
  • Represent the CIO by welcoming visitors, answering questions, and responding to requests directed to the CIO;
  • Support collaboration between CIO and colleagues throughout Urban on institutional strategy, developing bodies of research, and stakeholder engagement;
  • Oversee Salesforce for the CIO’s contacts, track and complete expense reports, and support the CIOs social media activity;
  • Direct logistics for internal meetings and events;
  • Manage other duties as assigned by the CIO.

What you’ll bring:

The successful applicant must have:

  • Possess a bachelor’s degree and one to two years of work experience in fast-paced office environments; experience working with federal, state, local policymakers, philanthropic and/or non-profits leaders is a plus.
  • Strong attention to detail and organizational skills; experience managing an active chief executive’s calendar is preferred.
  • Strong communication and project management skills with experience managing multiple tasks and assignments.
  • Display excellent and versatile writing skills including the ability to compose superior formal business correspondence and other professional documents.
  • Sense of initiative, willingness to suggest improvements or develop solutions to challenges and processes, and ability to follow-through on projects to successful completion.
  • Ability to clearly and consistently demonstrate respect, professionalism, and good judgement with all people.
  • Excellent interpersonal, relationship building and teamwork skills.
  • Ability to adapt to changes in work assignments; deadlines; and team environment.
  • Baseline understanding and strong interest in public policy.
  • Familiarity with Outlook, Microsoft Office Suite, and other web-based applications; familiarity with Salesforce or other CRM software is a plus.

What you’ll experience:

Working in the Nation’s Capital – the epicenter of public policy – among a network of policy experts, you can expect to have an impact on policy areas you care about and work with great colleagues who are smart, mission-driven, and collaborative. Working with the leadership of the Research to Action Lab is an exciting opportunity to fulfill your potential through meaningful work that matters and, enjoy a welcoming workplace free from harassment, discrimination and intolerance. The Research to Action Lab values hard work, collegiality, and the pursuit of equity – and this position represents an opportunity to be in the middle of it all as a key support to the CIO.

In addition, we offer a comprehensive benefits package that includes: medical, dental, disability, and life insurance coverage. Competitive paid time off allowance, and eligibility to participate in a generous retirement savings plan plus elect a pretax benefit for commuting expenses.

The Urban Institute is committed to Equal Employment Opportunity without regard for race, ethnicity, gender, protected veteran status, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other protected status under applicable law.

The Urban Institute is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer Minorities/Women/Disabilities/Veterans.