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Special Assistant and Project Administrator (Office of Communications)

Urban Institute

Urban Institute

Marketing & Communications
Washington, DC, USA
Posted on Tuesday, October 24, 2023

About Urban Institute:

At the Urban Institute, we believe in the power of evidence to improve lives and strengthen communities. As a nonprofit focusing on social and economic policy, our researchers and policy entrepreneurs open minds, shape decisions, and identify transformative solutions to the most pressing issues of our time.

Our Mission

To open minds, shape decisions, and offer solutions through economic and social policy research.

Our Values

Collaboration, Equity, Inclusivity, Independence, and Integrity

For more information on the Urban Institute, please visit

The Opportunity:

Central to Urban’s mission is fostering a truly inclusive community that ensures ongoing relevance to a changing world. The Urban Institute's Communications Department has experienced significant growth over the past year, increasing our collaboration and productivity across the organization. To sustain this momentum, we are seeking an energetic, organized, and proactive individual to serve as a Special Assistant and Project Administrator within the Office of the Chief Communications Officer.

This person will work as part of Urban Institute’s Communications team and report to the Deputy Chief of Staff to advance COMM goals and initiatives, support the CCO’s day-to-day activities, and support high-priority departmental projects.

The ideal candidate will have experience working in a fast-paced environment, managing multiple priorities, and developing relationships with stakeholders across an organization. The Special Assistant should have excellent communication and organization skills and be able to exercise a high degree of initiative, tact, discretion, and judgment in all work assignments. Additionally, the ideal candidate will have at least 2-3 years of experience managing scheduling and project timelines and be extremely detail-oriented and analytical.

What You’ll Do:

Scheduling and Administrative Support:

  • Efficiently manage the Vice President’s schedule, ensuring optimal time management and prioritization of appointments and meetings.
  • Provide administrative support for meetings, including scheduling, preparing materials, taking notes, and sending out meeting follow up items.
  • Act as the point of contact for internal and external stakeholders, maintaining clear communication channels and managing inquiries.
  • Prepare comprehensive briefing materials and background information for the VP's engagements and meetings; Assist with the drafting of reports, memos, and other written materials.
  • Coordinate and prepare expense reports, travel arrangements and other administrative tasks as needed.

Project Management:

  • Assist the Deputy Chief of Staff with coordinating tasks, tracking timelines, and facilitating efficient project execution.
  • Conduct independent research on relevant topics to provide insights and support decision-making processes.
  • Foster an environment of continuous improvement by developing and implementing standard operating procedures for processes within the Office of the VP, Communications; make recommendations for improvements and increased efficiency
  • Work with colleagues to consistently communicate project statuses within databases and systems, including Jamis Prime, Airtable, Salesforce, Smartsheet, and Box.

Internal Communications Support:

  • Collaborate with the communications team to support intra-departmental communications efforts, fostering cohesion and effective communication within the department.
  • Assist in creating compelling PowerPoint presentations and related materials for various communication purposes.
  • Ensure confidentiality in handling sensitive information and maintain a high level of professionalism in all interactions.

Social Media Management:

  • Oversee social media presence, ensuring brand consistency and providing strategic guidance on content.
  • Monitor and analyze social media performance metrics and implement improvements to increase engagement.

Who You Are:

Essential Skills

  • Highly organized individual with exceptional attention to detail and the ability to manage multiple priorities in a fast-paced environment.
  • Strong communicator who can work effectively with stakeholders at all levels of the organization.
  • Self-starter who takes initiative and demonstrates good judgment in decision-making.
  • Comfortable working independently and as part of a team.
  • Excellent problem-solving skills and the ability to think creatively to overcome obstacles.
  • Display strong organization and communication skills; be innovative, reinvent and/or improve processes.
  • Possess strong time management skills and the ability to juggle multiple projects and shifting schedules. Take initiative and possess excellent communications skills to ensure solutions and interactions are consistent with organization objectives.

Education and Experience

  • Bachelor's degree required; a degree in a relevant field such as business administration, public policy, or communications is preferred.
  • 2-3 years of executive support experience in a fast-pace hybrid office.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of communications strategies, such as media relations, design, or digital engagement.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office suite, including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
  • Experience working in a non-profit or government organization is a plus.
  • Manage numerous requests/deliverables simultaneously with the expectation of multiple and changing priorities

Preferred Qualifications

  • 3+ years of experience managing multiple projects including, adhering to deadlines, and developing effective written and verbal communication strategies.

Please note all applications must include a cover letter to be considered.

What You’ll Experience:

No matter your role with Urban, you will contribute to meaningful work that makes a difference for people and communities across the country. And whether you call the Washington, DC area or elsewhere home, you can expect to be part of a welcoming and hybrid workplace. We are committed to cultivating a community and working in a manner defined by collaboration, equity, inclusivity, independence, and integrity.

Urban’s greatest asset is our people.

The salary range for this position is Min $58,750 – Mid $73,400– Max $88,150. Salary offered is commensurate with experience and considers internal equity. Candidates from diverse backgrounds are strongly encouraged to apply. Salaries are just one component of Urban Institute’s total compensation package. Urban is committed to supporting our staff’s physical, emotional, and financial well-being through a robust benefits package for yourself, eligible dependents, and domestic partners. It includes generous paid time off, including nine federal holidays, medical (including prescription), dental and vision insurance, and transit benefits.

Urban is unique in that we offer 403(b) retirement plan participation immediately after you’re hired and a generous employer contribution after six months of service and 500 hours, with immediate vesting. You’ll also have access to a health advocate, personal finance coaching, an Employee Assistance Program, and educational assistance for undergraduate and graduate degree programs.

Urban’s greatest asset is our people.

With the conclusion of the government-issued COVID-19 national public health emergency, Urban has updated our COVID-19 safety guidelines. All Urban Institute employees working from our onsite location must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and comply with any masking requirements. Fully vaccinated is defined as receiving the primary series of US approved COVID-19 vaccinations (Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Novavax, Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen) with the addition of at least 1 COVID-19 booster.

Employees who are working onsite may request exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination requirement based on a medical condition or a sincerely held religious belief that prevents them from being vaccinated. Where such an exemption is approved, Urban will discuss potential accommodation with the employee. These guidelines do not apply to employees who are teleworking or other offsite staff.

The above statements are intended to describe the general nature and level of the work being performed by the people assigned. This posting is not an exhaustive list of all duties, responsibilities, and requirements. Urban management reserves the right to amend and change duties, responsibilities, and requirements to meet business and organizational needs as necessary.

The Urban Institute is an equal-opportunity employer and is committed to a diverse and inclusive workplace.

All qualified candidates will receive consideration without regard to race, color, religion, national origin, gender or gender identity, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, veteran status, pregnancy or family responsibilities, matriculation, disability, political affiliation, or any other protected status under applicable law. The Urban Institute is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer Minorities/Women/Disabilities/Veterans.

Reasonable accommodation requests are considered on a case-by-case basis.

The Urban Institute has formally recognized the Urban Institute Employees’ Union, which is part of the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU). Urban management and the Union work together in good faith and are motivated by a shared commitment to this institution. This position is included in the Union-represented collective bargaining unit, and specific employment terms and conditions are subject to collective bargaining negotiations.