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Senior Program Manager - End Plastic Pollution

The Aspen Institute

The Aspen Institute

Washington, DC, USA
Posted on Saturday, August 12, 2023

The 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.

Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

To achieve our mission of a more free, just, and equitable society, we commit to working proactively to advance the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion across our myriad endeavors such as the recruitment, compensation, training, and advancement of staff. The best people-serving institutions make this commitment, and we seek to be a leader in the ways that we do so and learn from others. Visit our website to learn more about our commitment and recent actions taken toward building and nurturing a diverse and inclusive environment.

Program Description:

The Aspen Institute Energy and Environment Program (EEP) explores significant challenges with diverse thinkers and doers to make a more prosperous, equitable, and sustainable society for all. We address critical energy, environmental, and climate change issues through non-partisan, non-ideological convening, with the specific intent of bringing together diverse stakeholders to improve the process and progress of policy-level dialogue. This enables EEP to sit at a critical intersection in the conversation and bring together diverse groups of expert stakeholders. In addition to energy and environmental policy, which the program has been addressing for several decades, EEP is now actively and purposefully engaging in climate change policy – mitigating the effects of climate change, adapting to the inevitable impacts of climate change, and the international cooperation needed to achieve these goals.

Basic Function:

The Senior Program Manager, will lead the Aspen Institute’s role on ending plastic pollution, working closely with other staff, 1and key partners. As this is a leadership position, it is expected that the Senior Program Manager will play a key leadership role in developing and implementing Aspen’s workstreams within this partnership and will represent the Aspen Institute among its partner organizations and stakeholders. This position might oversee other staff and interns, as assigned.

The Senior Program Manager with limited supervision and direction will manage the Aspen Institute’s role in ending plastic pollution initiative. This will include planning and managing international high-level dialogues in the program’s target regions, convening a major public convening, and administering a plastics innovation prize.

In accordance with our Reimagining Work policy, the Coordinator / Associate must be willing to be in-person with colleagues a minimum of 40% of the time while having the flexibility to work remotely for the balance. In-person consists of meaningful connections with colleagues in an office, traveling to a different office or location to meet fellow staff members, at an Aspen event, at a meeting outside the office or other opportunities to meet in person with teammates and colleagues.

Please note that this is a non-permanent position tied to a specific grant and is expected to last through September 2026 but may be extended beyond based on available funding.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

Research & Writing

  • Researching and identifying the key stakeholders to participate in the high level dialogues, as well as the speakers and participants for the major global public event;
  • Researching, managing, and tracking outreach to partner organizations and relevant stakeholders;
  • Overseeing the creation of reports summarizing takeaways from convenings and conveying those in support of our goals and managing strategic communications, along with partner organizations, as well as writing and editing other reports, summary and action items from calls and meetings, email correspondence, invitations, post-convening follow up, and other items, as necessary.
  • Learning, analyzing and possessing a firm grasp of plastic-related policy and practice content.

External Affairs

  • Working closely with partner organizations to develop and administer a plastics innovation prize;
  • Working closely with partners to identify the exact counties and cities for meetings and the partners to be engaged in those meetings, as well as generally representing Aspen in coordinating and aligning workstreams among the large group, and likely participating in biweekly meetings among partners;
  • Moderating and/or facilitating group calls, meeting, panels, and representing Aspen on both substantive and logistical topics with all stakeholders;
  • Fundraising to further support the goals of the project and widen its scope and reach;
  • Attending major international convenings and planning strategic side meetings, relevant our mission, as well as gathering and conveying critical subject matter information;
  • Develop substantive agendas, including session topics and discussants, for various types of convenings, in alignment with the Aspen Institute model for dialogues;


  • Managing other staff to oversee logistics, including:
    • Preparing a timeline plan for each convening;
    • Identifying, negotiating, and securing sites, meeting space, meals, lodging, participant travel, ground transportation, and/or AV requirements for convenings;
    • Traveling to convening locations and managing on-site logistics coordinator;
  • Managing contractors as necessary for high-level dialogues and the global public event (i.e. translators, stage managers, etc.);
  • Maintaining an updated budget in coordination with the finance team, and adjusting scope if necessary;
  • Reporting to EEP program leadership on the progress and seeking support as necessary on grant management, relationship management, etc.
    • In coordination with EEP leadership and the State Department, managing the convening budgets, accounting, and general spending and ensuring the program maximizes available funding and minimizes expenses.
    • Supporting the Program Associate in tracking hours and managing other budgetary intricacies of working under a federal grant

Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belonging (DEI&B)

  • The Senior Program Manager will prioritize DEIB in this work, as well as contributing to a culture of inclusion and belonging within the larger EEP teams.

Knowledge, Education, and Experience:

  • Minimum of 8 years experience in the environmental space, with experience working on plastic-related issues preferred;
  • A strong ability and desire to rapidly learn a new subject matter and to think creatively and critically in the development and implementation of a groundbreaking, new project, and a proven ability to build strong relationships quickly;
  • Experience in event planning and precise attention to logistical tasks, both for closed-door roundtables and larger public events, which require more extensive stage and speaker management;
  • Experience working with government agencies and navigating domestic and international partners, and a demonstrated self-awareness, cultural competency and inclusivity, and ability to work with colleagues and stakeholders across diverse cultures and backgrounds;
  • Self starter who is excited by the possibility of working on something from start to finish and who enjoys a creative challenge;
  • Ability to successfully manage many tasks simultaneously, master workflow details, and self-prioritize;
  • Strong customer service orientation – a “Yes, and” attitude;
  • Strong analytical and writing skills;
  • Ability to work in a collaborative environment to build consensus and gain agreement on a plan of action;
  • Demonstrated ability to discern political, economic and cultural beliefs and ideologies related to policy questions and subject matter, including participant and institutional biases; and,
  • Willingness and ability to travel, with as much as 25% travel certain times of the year.

The Aspen Institute offers a generous benefits package including health, dental, vision, and prescription benefits, retirement benefits, and paid leave.

The Aspen Institute is an Equal Opportunity Employer and complies with all District and federal laws. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, or protected veteran or disabled status and will not be discriminated against.