Executive Assistant: Job Description

The Mellon Foundation ("Foundation") believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and we believe that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom to be found there.  Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive.  It makes grants in four core program areas (Higher Learning, Arts and Culture, Public Knowledge, and Humanities in Place).  It seeks an Executive Assistant in the Humanities in Place program.


The Foundation is seeking a thoughtful, experienced, results-oriented, and congenial executive assistant with well-honed communication competencies (verbal and written), organizational skills, and excellent judgment.  The work is detail-oriented and time-sensitive, and the executive assistant will need to be proactive, adaptable, timely, discreet, measured in manner, sensitive both to the priorities and to the circumstances of the moment, and adept at problem-solving.  They will also need to be an exceptionally clear written and oral communicator.  There will be substantial calendaring, travel arrangement, and project management skills required, and it is anticipated that scheduling will account for most of the appointee’s time and energy.


The Executive Assistant is a full-time position that reports to the Program Officer (PO), and works collaboratively with other members of the Humanities in Place (HiP) department as well as staff throughout the foundation.

The Executive Assistant's responsibilities may include, but will not be limited to:

  • Schedules and organizes a heavy schedule of continually evolving meetings and outside activities involving multiple participants for the HiP Program Officer and program staff in a fast-paced environment
  • Manages complex and intricate travel arrangements, ensuring detailed itineraries are accounted for, confirmations are maintained, and advance materials are coordinated
  • Maintains the PO's daily calendars
  • Manages work deadlines and schedules for the PO and program staff and is proactive in meeting them, anticipating needs related to the meeting of those deadlines
  • Organizes, answers, and directs large volumes of correspondence, and calls
  • Opens mail, drafts responses, and replies by phone or email, as needed, in a time-sensitive manner, with a clear understanding of office priorities
  • Works both independently and as part of a team on projects; handles matters expeditiously, proactively, and with follow-through to successful completion
  • Processes, formats, and proofreads copy for spelling, grammar, layout, and typographical errors and is a strong and lucid writer
  • Regularly consults with the Manager of Strategic Initiatives and program staff in Humanities in Place regarding staffing and workflow issues related to travel planning, consultant and vendor contracts, and other matters, including rendering assistance with the preparation of itineraries, reports, and office correspondence
  • Organizes and locates documents stored electronically and in paper files on a continual basis
  • Prepares expense reports and manages and tracks expenses through the reimbursement process in accordance with Foundation's policies
  • Serves as the PO's right-hand assistant
  • Review unsolicited inquiries and collect them for discussion with the Humanities in Place program team
  • Keep grant files in the Foundation's file management system up to date; resolve inconsistencies


The successful candidate will have the following qualifications:

  • Excellent knowledge of office administration procedures and the operation of standard office equipment, systems, and programs
  • Relentless attention to detail in composing, processing, and proofing materials, effectively establishing priorities, and meets deliverables with grace and finesse
  • Self-motivation, and the ability to manage well through ambiguity while also consulting appropriately
  • Superior proficiency in a variety of computer software applications (Microsoft Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Teams; Zoom, Box or other cloud-based filing software, Monday or other productivity software, Concur, etc.)
  • A high level of communicative and interpersonal skills, and the ability to handle discreetly sensitive and confidential matters. Position continually requires demonstrated poise, tact, sound judgment, diplomacy, humility, and aplomb
  • The ability to manage multiple projects and interruptions with ease
  • A strong and proven work ethic, high energy, and outstanding organizational skills
  • Strongly collaborative personality, and the ability to support multiple program officers whose needs may vary somewhat
  • Analytic ability to gather and summarize data
  • A bachelor's degree and 3+ years of administrative experience; C-suite-level experience is preferred
  • An interest in the humanities, arts and culture, and higher education is desirable

The Foundation is an equal opportunity employer that offers a competitive salary, outstanding benefits, and excellent working conditions.

Contact Information

Candidates should apply by submitting a thoughtful cover letter describing fit for the position together with a resume and writing samples here.  The Foundation will consider each response carefully, but only contact those individuals it believes are most qualified for the position.