Special Assistant and Assistant Secretary to the Board of Trustees

Location: San Francisco
Deadline: June 15, 2020

In an increasingly complex and changing world, we believe that a peaceful and engaged Asia is of critical global importance. We work with innovative leaders and communities to build effective institutions and advance path-breaking reforms. Together with our partners, we are committed to Asia’s continued development as a peaceful, just, and thriving region of the world. Informed by six decades of experience and deep local expertise, The Asia Foundation’s programs address critical issues affecting Asia in the 21st century: governance and law, economic development, women’s empowerment, environment, and regional cooperation. These are just some of the ways we encourage Asia’s continued development as a peaceful, just, and thriving region of the world.

The Office of the President is seeking an experienced and action-oriented individual to provide professional and administrative support to the president and the Board of Trustees of The Asia Foundation. This highly visible, client-facing position is a key member of the president’s office and front office operations.

The ideal candidate is someone who understands and appreciates the impact that government and politics have on people and the challenges they face in the developing world. The candidate is passionate about the work that they do and have boundless enthusiasm for working collaboratively in a fast-paced, multicultural environment. The ability to work efficiently and diplomatically in a context that can be very challenging is highly desirable.


The special assistant and assistant secretary to the Board of Trustees will serve as principal aide to the president in executing overall institutional goals with advisory, research, and operational support; and assist in overseeing organizational plans and long-term strategies. Represent the Office of the President in conjunction with the president on internal committees and with external audiences. Provide professional support, facilitate internal and external communications, and serve as assistant secretary to the Board of Trustees. Overall responsibility for long-range planning and scheduling and drafting correspondence and briefing documents.


  1. Unit management: Prepare and monitor budget for the Office of the President and Board of Trustees. Review and approve expenses and time sheets for senior administrators. Manage and supervise executive assistant. Review management systems, identify needs, and design systems and strategies to address those needs.
  2. Foundation-wide initiatives: Assist the president in oversight and management of Foundation-wide initiatives, such as the Foundation’s TAF2025 exercise. Support and assist the president in efforts to increase the Foundations public visibility and private fundraising.
  3. Board governance: Plan and convene board, executive committee, and other committee meetings three times annually, and board meetings in Asia biannually; coordinate assembly and timely distribution of board materials; prepare and distribute minutes from board, executive, and other committee meetings; maintain and update formal corporate records of the Foundation; serve as central repository for correspondence related to the board and its committees; maintain and update trustee manual; provide orientation for new trustees; and maintain frequent, professional contact with Board of Trustees.
  4. Documentation/written communications: Assist the president in preparing written reports and other written communications for various internal and external audiences including Board of Trustees, donors, guidance memos to staff, promotional descriptions of Foundation activities, and correspondence with government agencies, partner organizations, etc.
  5. Internal coordination: Contribute to effective cooperation, communication, and information-sharing
    among the Foundation’s program and operation units in San Francisco, Washington, and Asia.
  6. Ad hoc projects: Perform any additional duties and responsibilities as needed by the president.


  • Daily interaction with the president, senior leadership, Washington and San Francisco office staff; and occasional contact with program directors, country representatives and deputy country representatives, and other units in the Foundation (e.g., Global Communications, private and public fundraising teams).
  • Frequent contact with board and high-level visitors, including donors, corporate leaders, heads
    of organizations, partner organizations, senior government officials, diplomats, journalists, and foreign


  • Bachelor’s and master’s degree (preferred) in appropriate field: International Development, International Relations, or Nonprofit Management. At least five years of program and/or operations management experience in an International Development, International Relations, or Nonprofit organization.
  • Excellent written/verbal communication skills required.
  • Event or meeting planning experience required.
  • Ability to work effectively under pressure of deadlines, frequent interruptions and shifting priorities consistently
  • Strong management, interpersonal, and organizational skills essential.
  • Must possess ability to pay close attention to detail while maintaining broad perspective of Foundation goals and approaches.
  • Ability to multi-task, prioritize, and work independently and with a team.
  • Willingness and ability to travel 3-4 times a year for 1 to 3-week periods.
  • Previous experience organizing and managing relationships with executives, government officials, and high-level donors preferred.
  • Previous experience managing Board governance taking minutes, meeting preparation, Committee coordination preferred.


At a critical moment in history, you will have the opportunity to help solve some of the toughest challenges in the development/aid sector. You will work with people who address environmental problems in the Asia region, improve access to legal information, enhance civil society, promote government engagement/collaboration, support women’s empowerment, and encourage learning and awareness. You will work in an innovative environment and build lasting relationships. The Asia Foundation, its donors, and its partners are unmatched throughout the region. This is an opportunity to work with and learn from some of the most accomplished leaders, influencers, and social entrepreneurs working in and with Asia today.

Apply now

The Foundation offers excellent benefits and salary commensurate with experience. The Asia Foundation is an equal opportunity employer. Women and people of color are encouraged to apply.

No phone calls please.


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