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 Public Knowledge 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 sound judgment.  The work requires attention to detail and strong skills in time management.  The executive assistant in Public Knowledge 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 needs, such as for events planning.  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 Public Knowledge (PK) program as well as staff throughout the foundation.

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

  • Schedules and organizes a heavy rotation of continually evolving meetings and outside activities involving multiple participants for the PK Program Officer and program staff in a fast-paced environment
  • Manages travel arrangements for multiple staff, 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 PO, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, and other relevant program staff in PK regarding staffing and workflow issues related to travel planning, consultant and vendor contracts, and other matters, including 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 for the PO and manages and tracks expenses through the reimbursement process in accordance with Foundation's policies
  • Serves as the PO's right-hand assistant
  • Reviews unsolicited inquiries and collects them for discussion with the Public Knowledge program team
  • Keeps 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

Mellon Foundation is committed to providing compensation that is competitive and equitable within the philanthropic sector.  The estimated salary range for this role is $100,000–$120,000.  The amount of pay offered will be determined by a number of factors, including but not limited to qualifications, unique skills, credentials or experience that is expected to impact the candidate’s contribution to the role.  We will also consider market data as well as the Foundation's internal pay equity framework.  Mellon offers a generous total reward package that provides base salary as well as a comprehensive benefits program.  

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.