Special Assistant to the President

Office of the President · New Haven, Connecticut
Department Office of the President
Employment Type Full-Time


Since 1992, Heron has worked to help people and communities help themselves. Always the servant leader, Heron has understood from its earliest days that its impact is rooted in the success of others. Heron values the collective wisdom of its partners — on the ground in communities and within the capital markets — and uses that wisdom to help the foundation think differently. 

Over the past 25 years, those values have led Heron to challenge what we perceived as broken conventions in philanthropy. The foundation began making general operating grants when restricted grants were the norm. Heron is committed to investing in alignment with its mission when others expected it to focus exclusively on our financial returns. And Heron constantly works with partners to leverage different tools (financial and non-financial alike) in service to mission.

Heron is currently working to shift from traditional philanthropy toward a model of participatory philanthropy, ceding the authority to make investment decisions to local integrated capitals committees in a number of communities across the U.S. It is in the process of forming its first committee, made up of a diverse group of representatives that will create a shared vision for their community. For more information, please visit heron.org


Heron’s Special Assistant will play a critical role in the Foundation’s ability to achieve its mission through seamless internal operations and external communications in line with Heron’s values. The Special Assistant reports to Heron’s Director of Strategic Initiatives with a matrix to its President, whom they will support, and will gain an unparalleled view into foundations and the challenging of broken conventions. This role is well-suited to an individual who enjoys being in the center of the action and who has an exceptional ability to understand the priorities, preferences, and pace of a senior leader.  

Key Responsibilities include:

President and Board Support

  • Serve as the President’s primary administrative contact, often on complex and confidential matters
  • Manage the President’s calendar to reflect priorities and scheduling preferences, maintaining an awareness of related deadlines and dependencies
  • Maintain the President’s contacts in Heron’s CRM system, ensuring accurate and up-to-date information to enable thoughtful relationship management
  • Resolve administrative challenges by analyzing information, identifying potential solutions, and helping to develop systems and processes to prevent future challenges
  • Ensure all matters receive prompt and appropriate response; track items requiring follow-up and manage them through completion
  • Anticipate the President’s needs and acts on them, such as securing key meeting materials and indicating their relevant priority
  • Maintain BoardEffect, Heron’s board materials and scheduling software
  • Manage the President’s expense reports, ensuring accurate and timely submission
  • Schedule board and committee meetings with sensitivity and patience, demonstrating a solution-orientation in complicated scheduling scenarios
  • Exercise exceptional judgment in managing competing priorities, unaligned availability, and related challenges

External Representation and Communications

  • Become fluent in Heron’s voice, developing an understanding of its values and reflecting them in all communications
  • Apply Heron’s net contribution lens to support the selection of partners with a net positive impact on society 
  • Demonstrate patience and humility in the face of complex or challenging situations

Meeting and Travel Support

  • Manage catering and other vendor needs for President and board meetings, evaluating options through the lens of net contribution
  • Provide general administrative support for team meetings and trainings (e.g., scheduling, printing, agenda coordination, room preparation) 
  • Arrange President, Board, and guest travel as required (e.g., develop thorough itineraries, ensure accuracy of all reservations/arrangements) 


The ideal candidate will possess the following:

  • A passion for Heron’s work and alignment with its core beliefs
  • Experience in supporting an executive with an extremely complex and demanding calendar and robust network
  • Demonstrated ability to represent an executive and organization to internal and external stakeholders with diplomacy and nuance; exceptional professional judgment and professionalism
  • A strong systems orientation and proven ability to adapt to new systems with ease; ideal candidates will demonstrate proficiency in customer relationship management (CRM) systems like SalesForce and project management tools like Asana
  • Comfort with web-based communication tools (i.e., Zoom) and email management clients (Outlook or similar) 
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills; capacity to internalize Heron’s values and to apply them in all communications
  • A customer service orientation and the ability to demonstrate grace under pressure, acting with patience and humility
  • Keen attention to detail and respect for the often overlooked information critical to smooth operations
  • Strong organizational, project management, and prioritization skills, including the ability to identify interdependencies
  • A resourceful and solutions-oriented approach to solving problems
  • Flexibility and the ability to pivot as needs change

Heron works to help people and communities help themselves and values the lived experiences that enable its team members to bring their humanity and connect with community partners. Heron is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes candidates from diverse backgrounds.

COMPENSATION:  Heron extends its commitment to helping people and communities help themselves through competitive salaries and strong benefits packages for its team members. 

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  • Location
    New Haven, Connecticut
  • Department
    Office of the President
  • Employment Type