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.
Ascend at the Aspen Institute is the national hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations to build family economic prosperity and well-being. Ascend embraces a two-generation approach – focusing on children and the adults in their lives together – and is committed to centering gender and racial equity in our work. We believe that early childhood learning and care postsecondary education/employment pathways for parents, economic assets, social capital, and health and well-being are the core elements that enable families to achieve their full potential. Ascend engages the perspectives, strengths, and resilience of families with low incomes to inform program design and policy development.
The Systems Change Analyst is a critical position that works under the direction of the Managing Director and on the development of systems change and policy projects within the scope of Ascend's overarching goals. The Systems Change Analyst will bring strong analytical skills and possess expertise in systems change strategies in state agencies and in policy development and implementation. Expertise in at least one of the following content areas: two-generation approaches, early childhood education, postsecondary education/employment pathways, economic supports/assets, social capital, and/or health and well-being is required.
This position is responsible for the development and advancement of Ascend's systems change agenda, program planning and implementation; research and writing; and management of program deliverables. The Systems Change Analyst will identify, develop, and leverage state and national policy partnerships and will contribute to the development of the Ascend national two-generation network.
She/they/he will engage with and provide technical assistance to a diverse group of leaders and policymakers in the 2Gen field to accomplish systems change and policy goals. The Systems Change Analyst is an integral member of the Ascend team and will serve as an ambassador for Ascend in the field and throughout the Aspen Institute. Ascend operates with a core set of values – agility, boldness, creativity, determination, and excellence. The Systems Change Analyst must possess both commitment and experience that are reflective of Ascend's core values. She/they/he will join a high-performing team of 20.
Essential duties and responsibilities are as follows. Other responsibilities may be added, as necessary.
Program Strategy, Impact, and Management
- Develop a systems change and policy framework and agenda that primarily focuses on states and county level opportunities and aligned with Ascend's goals;
- With leadership from the Managing Director, design and implement convenings, briefings and roundtables in support of Ascend's systems change and policy goals, in coordination with and support from program staff;
- Develop a technical assistance strategy that includes tools, briefs, publications, regular communications and other resources for state and county-level partners engaged in systems change and policy efforts;
- Provide technical assistance and guidance to Ascend Fellows and Network Partners, where needed;
- Track national and state policy and practice trends, opportunities, and challenges relevant to the 2Gen approach;
- Develop strategic relationships that produce results with key national, state, and county partners;
- Work closely with all members of the Ascend team on the integration of the systems change and policy agenda with other key strategic areas of work, including the Ascend Network, Ascend Fellowship, and strategic communications;
- Develop and edit agendas, background readings, presentation materials (including online materials), and conference materials, including drafts developed by consultants, partners, and other team members in leveraging the Aspen Institute's convening power to develop and move a systems change and policy agenda; and
- Generate new policy and program ideas and thought leadership.
Learning and Knowledge Management
- Develop and implement systems for sharing knowledge with key partners at national, state and local levels;
- Stay current on critical issues and opportunities, and provide background research and message points to Vice President/Executive Director and Managing Director; and
- Contribute to team-wide learning and knowledge management.
- Contribute to Ascend's communications strategy to raise the profile of Ascend and the Ascend Network;
- Prepare written program materials, including reports, papers, strategy memos, and other documents, as requested;
- Contribute to high-quality website and social media content on relevant issues, as needed;
- Represent Ascend at relevant policy and research conferences; and
- Develop talking points, briefing materials, and draft op-eds for Vice President/Executive Director.
- Actively participate in program design and strategic planning for Ascend;
- Identify opportunities to improve the quality and efficiency of the program; and
- Contribute to Ascend's long-term sustainability through the development of compelling funder reports, proposals, and engagement strategies; and by identifying potential new funders and partners.
Knowledge, Education, and Experience:
- Minimum of 10 years of related experience, preferably in a state agency with a track record of effective management, accomplishment, and growth;
- Demonstrated ability to develop and implement a systems change and policy agenda at the state level;
- Extensive content knowledge in one or more areas of the Ascend framework: early childhood education, postsecondary education/employment pathways, economic security, social capital and health and well-being;
- Strong stakeholder engagement skills and experience at state, and community levels;
- Communications savvy: strong demonstrable writing and editing skills, track record of effective communication that engages audiences from public, private, and nonprofit sectors;
- Skilled and passionate about systems change, policy, and impact assessment. Proven program planning and high-quality execution skills;
- Superior commitment and skills to management, strategic thinking, planning, writing, and teamwork;
- Entrepreneurial acumen and drive, ability to see and respond to opportunities to strengthen and/or course correct program plan to increase impact;
- Attention to detail and ability to manage multiple tasks;
- Experience with fundraising and program development and design; access to strategic leadership and philanthropic networks;
- Proven experience in systems thinking, innovation, and/or best practice models;
- Excellent computer skills, particularly Microsoft Office Suite;
- Ability to work with diverse audiences;
- Thrive in high-performing environment and as part of a team;
- Good interpersonal skills, including a desire to learn; and
- Willingness and ability to travel.
The Institute has implemented a mandatory COVID vaccination policy for all employees who will work at one of our physical locations, attend any of our in-person events or travel on behalf of the Institute. Staff unable to be vaccinated may request an exemption under certain circumstances.
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.
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