J-PAL North America, a research center within the Economics department at MIT, seeks a Senior Events Associate to join its team and contribute to its mission to reduce poverty by ensuring that policy is informed by scientific evidence. J-PAL North America conducts randomized evaluations, builds partnerships for evidence-informed policymaking, and helps partners scale up effective programs. As a regional office of the global Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab, J-PAL North America leverages research by affiliated professors from universities across the world to generate and disseminate rigorous evidence about which anti-poverty social policies work and why.
Our Commitment to Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Embracing diversity, equity, and inclusion is essential to address the complex causes and consequences of poverty. To advance our mission, J-PAL North America must draw on diverse experiences from our staff and affiliated researchers in order to ask better questions and identify better solutions. We are working to increase the limited representation of individuals from underrepresented backgrounds in the economics profession. Our organization is implementing strategies to attract, develop, and advance a diverse staff and building a pipeline to increase diversity among economic researchers. We are committed to engaging in self-reflection, learning, and dialogue to nurture understanding across differences. Together, we will build an equitable, inclusive culture where everyone is respected, empowered, and heard.
To learn more about our work and team culture, see our Join Our Team brochure or visit www.povertyactionlab.org/na.
As a member of the J-PAL North America team, you’ll be part of a Nobel-prize winning scientific movement that can transform US policy making. The Senior Events Associate works closely with the policy, research & training teams to plan and execute a wide-variety of inclusive in-person, hybrid and virtual events and training programs aimed at promoting the production and use of rigorous evidence. The Senior Events Associate provides input into the development of event strategy and provides outreach and support for marketing and fundraising activities associated with events, trainings, and J-PAL North America’s Economics Transformation Program (ETP), a pipeline program that aims to increase diversity within the field of economics. The Senior Events Associate also works closely with the Senior Development Manager to plan and execute fundraising events, and with the social committee to plan staff events. The Senior Events Associate’s primary tasks will involve event planning and operations, event sponsorship and fundraising, and event analysis, reporting and systems maintenance.
For this position, we are looking for candidates with at least three years of event planning or program/project management experience, preferably with experience planning both in-person and virtual events. The ideal candidate will have clear and persuasive oral and written communication skills, exacting attention to detail, strong project management and organizational skills, creative problem solving skills, and the ability to work independently and collaborate effectively with other members of the team. Qualified candidates will also be proficient in Zoom, Salesforce, Asana, Google, and social media platforms and/or be able to quickly learn new technology systems. We seek applicants from diverse backgrounds and especially encourage candidates with lived or direct experience working with communities of color and/or those experiencing poverty in North America.
Essential Duties & Responsibilities
Event Planning and Operations (75%)
- Contributes insight into event planning, concept, and design for multiple, complex events with competing deadlines. Develops and manages detailed event project plans, timelines and budgets and works with the Grants and Finance Lead to obtain budget approval. Tracks and reconciles event budgets.
- Manages the planning and implementation of inclusive meetings and events, including capacity building events such as Research Staff Training, Evaluating Social Programs, and custom trainings, ETP programs, and fundraising and internal staff events. Manages event logistics and operations which may include arranging facilities and event details such as catering, entertainment, transportation, location, zoom/av equipment, promotional materials etc., ensuring everyone adheres to agendas and staffing plans, and coordinating with students, researchers, partner organizations, and other special guests.
- Serves as main technical and logistical resource for events, and as primary point of contact for event speakers/participants.
- Collaborates with event speakers and sponsors on content development and coordinates with them to obtain event content and set timelines. Responsible for making sure all sponsors and speakers adhere to deadlines.
- Identifies and evaluates potential vendors. Negotiates and confirms vendor contracts, including space, furniture, equipment, food services, publishing services, and other event specific arrangements as needed. Conducts planning and strategy meetings with caterers, venue contacts and vendors.
- Determines or recommends staffing needs and guides day-of event volunteers, staff and vendors.
- Oversees event staff and volunteer selection and delivers staff and volunteer training. Contributes to the development of staff and volunteer recruitment and retention strategy.
- Responds to event questions and problems and seeks solutions to any potential or arising issues; troubleshoots any emerging problems on the event day.
- Guides event marketing and PR activities. Collaborates with the Communications team to create marketing materials and to identify promotional activities for events. Ensures timely and clear communication to event stakeholders. Drafts copy as needed and proofs materials such as save-the-dates and event programs. Conducts outreach to targeted event participants, such as economics researchers, non-profit organizations, government partners, staff and local high schools and college access programs.
- May arrange and/or oversee the arrangement of logistics related to speakers and guests, including travel, accommodations, and transportation.
- Ensures compliance with MIT requirements for events involving high school or younger students as well as compliance with any Covid or other health or safety requirements.
- Travels and works nights and weekends as required.
Event Sponsorship & Fundraising (15%)
- Contributes to the planning and implementation of J-PAL North America’s event sponsorship strategy, including identifying funding opportunities, preparing communications with potential sponsors, scheduling meetings, developing promotional materials, and hosting meetings with internal and external stakeholders (e.g., potential sponsors).
- Engages with the MIT Industry Liaison Program to identify new sponsorship opportunities for events, ETP and other J-PAL North America programs or activities.
- Conducts research on foundations and corporate giving to identify prospective sponsors and contributes to developing funding proposals for events and ETP.
- Works closely with fundraising staff on additional sponsorship activities.
Event Analysis, Reporting and Systems Maintenance (5%)
- Assists in the maintenance of organizational systems for effective event planning, registration, budgeting, and broader organizational knowledge management.
- Tracks and reconciles event budgets.
- Evaluates events and suggests changes/improvements for future events. Coordinates and leads partner debrief/feedback calls, and ensures feedback is incorporated into future events.
- Conducts data entry and clean-up of contact and information management systems through the use of Salesforce and other platforms.
- Creates new documentation of policies, processes, and work flows as needed.
Other Duties (5%)
- Performs other duties as assigned
The Senior Events Associate reports directly to the Director of Finance & Operations. The Senior Events Associate is expected to complete complex projects independently while incorporating direction from the Director of Finance & Operations, Senior Events Manager (Policy & Training) and other senior staff as appropriate for each meeting, training or event.
Compensation & Benefits
This full-time, exempt position is classified by MIT as an Event Planner 2 (salary grade 7) position and currently offers a fixed market-based salary range that is based on experience.
J-PAL North America staff are MIT employees, which means they are eligible for a wide array of institutional benefits. Some of these MIT benefits include comprehensive health insurance, a 401(k) match up to 5% of salary plus a pension-based retirement plan, tuition assistance up to $5,250 per calendar year, commuter benefits, access to MyLifeServices, a generous vacation policy (3 weeks of paid vacation in your first year, and 4 weeks every year after that, plus an additional 13+ paid Institute-wide holidays and a winter break each year), paid leave for sick time, maternity and parental leave benefits, child care subsidies, discounted transit and parking subsidies, and much more.
J-PAL North America supports a culture of learning, with opportunities to attend weekly seminars, engage in small-group discussions with other J-PAL staff, participate in workshops, and take classes for credit at MIT or elsewhere with our generous tuition assistance program. Staff have the opportunity to work with J-PAL affiliates and directors, as well as interact with policymakers and practitioners.
- Commitment to Mission & Values: Cares personally and deeply about policy that has the potential to reduce poverty and the rigorous research that informs it. Demonstrates interest in poverty alleviation in the North American (primarily the United States) context in particular. Demonstrates a commitment to J-PAL North America’s values.
- Education: This position requires a Bachelor’s degree, or equivalent experience.
- Experience: 3 years of event planning or program/project management experience required. Experience with planning and executing a mix of in-person, fully virtual and/or hybrid events is preferred. Experience with fundraising events and events that include international participants is also helpful.
- Technical Skills: Actively demonstrates the knowledge, technical and computer skills necessary to successfully execute their own work to specific operational targets and standards and to delegate responsibility for event-related tasks to other staff. Ability to use Microsoft office and/or Google applications and comfort learning new applications is required. Knowledge of Zoom Asana and Salesforce is helpful. Ability to create and manage event staffing plans and budgets. Experience using social media for events is a plus.
- Ownership of Work: Takes responsibility/is accountable for effectively completing complex tasks or projects with high attention to detail. Produces high quality work in the time expected; identifies and follows up with managers and other stakeholders as needed to ensure assignments are completed on time. Takes initiative and offers ideas for new ways to approach work; shares knowledge and/or talents with others as needed to complete assigned tasks or projects.
- Written Communication: Accurately and succinctly communicates in writing with J-PAL staff and external stakeholders with minimal supervision from senior-level staff.
- Oral Communication: Demonstrates strong active listening skills and accurately and succinctly communicates information orally to staff and external partners with minimal supervision from senior-level staff.
- External Stakeholder Relations: Supports development and maintenance of ongoing strategic relationships with donors, researchers, and other existing stakeholders under supervision from managers.
- Task & Project Management: Takes on a process-oriented task or project, plans and organizes work, delegates appropriately, coordinates with others, establishes appropriate priorities and timelines, exercises follow through, and adds overall value to the process.
- Problem Solving/Decision Making: Demonstrates adeptness at analyzing facts, judgment, and strong decision-making ability. Responds to problems, issues, and opportunities independently. Collaborates as needed to identify a solution or response.
- Travel: Willingness and ability to travel as needed locally and in the US (usually minimal) to attend events or participate in meetings.
This position is based at the MIT campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts and offers a hybrid schedule, with some days in the office and some days remote as appropriate for the role. Please visit the MIT Now website for more information on how MIT is ensuring employee health and safety in response to Covid.
Ready to join a team of collaborative, inclusive, and inquisitive colleagues? Apply now.
This position is not eligible for any type of visa sponsorship.
Submit an application via MIT’s human resources system. Visit http://jobs.mit.edu/external, search for job ID 22277 (Senior Events Associate - J-PAL North America), and complete an application.
In a single PDF uploaded to the resume field, please include a resume and cover letter which answers the following questions:
- Tell us about your interest in poverty alleviation in the North America region, especially in the US?
- What experiences have you had with event planning, and how have they prepared you to be effective in this Senior Event Associate role?
- What experience have you had in communicating effectively with our target event audiences (policymakers, researchers, non-profit partners, students, and/or donors) including your experience in using inclusive language that resonates with diverse communities?
We will begin reviewing applications on a rolling basis as we receive them. Short-listed applicants will be asked to complete a technical exercise and phone interview. Finalists will be invited for a final interview.
MIT is an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin.