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Executive and Government Affairs Assistant

Job Title Executive and Government Affairs Assistant
Unit Government Affairs
Reports To Director of Government Affairs
Post Date December 23, 2021
Location Our offices are located in Alexandria, VA. All of our positions are currently remote. We will continue to assess our operations as the pandemic evolves.
FLSA Status Exempt

THE OPPORTUNITY

The opportunity to succeed in school and in life, regardless of circumstances at birth, is a core American value, and for the past fifty-six years, the Head Start community has embraced the challenge of delivering on that value and changing life trajectories for the nation’s most vulnerable children and families. A strong and sustainable future for Head Start will mean the success of generations of children who may otherwise struggle throughout their lives. Their future success rests on the knowledge, commitment, and collaboration of families, programs, researchers, and policymakers.

NHSA is a unique organization looking to grow intentionally and to find the right person for the right opportunity on our team. If you are looking to be part of an organization that is static, where things are predictable, and challenges are hard to come by, you should not work with us. If you are a person who is looking to only work on tasks on a job description (such as this) and has a proclivity to say “that is not my job,” we respect that, but you should not work with us. If you are interested in being a responsible contributor while flexing your curiosities and creativity, keep reading.

NHSA is seeking a full-time Executive & Government Affairs Assistant to work closely with and provide support to the Executive Director, Deputy Director, and the government affairs team. The ideal candidate will have the capability to prioritize competing needs, handle matters expeditiously and proactively, and follow through on projects to successful completion, often under tight deadlines. They should also be able to work independently on assignments, but know when to ask questions and seek counsel.

The Executive & Government Affairs Assistant will start as a hybrid position, working to provide administrative, logistical, and operational support to the Executive Director and also as an integral part of NHSA’s government affairs team. The tasks assigned will support NHSA’s efforts to carry out grassroots advocacy actions, convene diverse groups of Head Start leaders from every corner of the country to understand and address their challenges, and represent the interests of the Head Start community in Washington, DC. This role requires a balance of skills; a strong candidate will have good organizational skills and attention to detail, but also creativity, strategic thinking, and the ability to take abstract ideas and turn them into concrete action.

MAJOR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

NHSA is committed to staff growth and we expect that this position and its responsibilities will grow as skills and strengths of the assistant emerge. Our current Deputy Director and Senior Director of Governance and Operations both began in a similar role by supporting Government Affairs and the Executive Director. The Executive & Government Affairs Assistant drives activities that directly support NHSA and our ability to support our members.

Executive Support (35%)

  • Manage an extremely active, nationwide schedule of appointments; research, prioritize, and follow up on requests for the Executive Director, including those of a sensitive or confidential nature; and recommend an appropriate course of action, referral, or response.
  • Assist with meeting preparation and briefing materials, respond to requests promptly, flag and prioritize phone calls, and prepare presentations or nudge appropriate staff for data.
  • Coordinate external travel for the Executive Director and Deputy Director, including securing efficient and cost-effective travel arrangements, tracking transportation, and identifying alternatives or making changes as needed.
  • Makes themselves useful by participating in meetings where invited and to take notes and ensure follow up items are completed.
  • Other relevant duties as assigned.

Government Affairs Duties and Responsibilities (65%)

  • Schedule, prepare for, and manage follow-up from NHSA’s meetings with Congressional and Executive Branch officials.
  • Manage and update a legislative and advocacy database supporting the work of NHSA and the Head Start field.
  • Track and help guide NHSA’s advocacy and lobbying efforts around funding for Head Start.
  • Collaborate with marketing and communications staff to prepare written materials for the Head Start field, press purposes, informational documents, and website content.
  • Assist in creation and management of advocacy campaigns to engage the Head Start field, Head Start alumni, and other DC organizations.
  • Assist with planning and project management for various events throughout the year including NHSA’s Fall and Winter Leadership Institutes, other NHSA conferences, task force meetings, briefings on Capitol Hill, and other meetings as necessary.
  • Create and support relationship building opportunities between NHSA, Head Start practitioners, and policymakers and their staff.
  • Periodically update summaries, fact sheets, and website content.

REQUIREMENTS

  • Strong ability to articulate passion for and demonstrated commitment to NHSA’s mission.
  • Bachelor’s degree at a minimum, with an ability to learn quickly and ask appropriate questions.
  • Strong attention to detail, superior organizational skills, and computer literacy.
  • Capacity to design and execute multiple and constantly changing projects, with both creativity and high-quality work, on tight deadlines.
  • Innovative and analytical approach to problem solving.
  • Ability to adapt quickly and confidently to new challenges and job requirements with entrepreneurial thinking, even while under pressure
  • A high level of energy, creativity, ability to multi-task, and sense of humor
  • High degree of discretion and sensitivity to confidential matters.
  • Service-oriented and detail-oriented, comfortable working in ambiguity.
  • Good judgment, flexibility, and problem-solving skills.
  • Excellent organizational and time management skills and follow-through capabilities.
  • Skills in working independently while also being a dependable team player.
  • Strong verbal, interpersonal, and written communications skills to interact and communicate with a wide range of individuals and ability to be comfortable and assertive working with large and small groups.
  • Knowledge of the federal legislative process, especially the appropriations process.
  • Experience on Capitol Hill (especially with an appropriator and/or a member of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions or House Committee on Education and Labor) is a plus.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL HEAD START ASSOCIATION
NHSA is a nonprofit organization committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in life. NHSA is the voice for more than 1 million children, 275,000 staff, and over 1,600 Head Start grant recipients in the U.S. Since 1974, NHSA has worked diligently for policy changes that ensure all eligible children have access to the Head Start model of support for the whole child, family, and community.

OUR MISSION AND VISION
NHSA's vision is for Head Start to lead—to be the untiring voice that will not be quiet until every vulnerable child is served with the Head Start model of support for the whole child, the family, and the community—and to advocate—to work diligently for policy and institutional changes that ensure all vulnerable children and families have what they need to succeed. NHSA's mission is to coalesce, inspire, and support the Head Start field as a leader in early childhood development and education.

OUR CORE VALUES

  • We are determined to play a valued and visible national leadership role in this country’s efforts to educate and serve its most vulnerable children and families.
  • We recognize change is constant and are building a flexible, nimble organization that values innovation and can respond effectively to change.
  • We are actively committed to being a high-impact organization that evaluates effort and measures outcomes; our commitment extends to helping Head Start value and use measurements effectively.
  • We value partnerships and collaboration and at our core, we are relationship-based.
  • We celebrate Head Start alumni, both graduates and parents, and the lasting impact that they are having in this country.
  • We are accountable to our members and funders, seeking high standards of governance, carefully stewarding resources, operating transparently, and living up to the highest standards of quality.

OUR CULTURE
NHSA is proud of our inclusive, collaborative, and professional culture. We value and reward teamwork, initiative, creativity, and intellectual and professional growth and we seek those qualities in our candidates.

  • Collaboration: NHSA works in teams—we share ideas, brainstorm endlessly, and constantly seek innovative ideas that advance NHSA’s and Head Start’s missions.
  • Vision: NHSA values colleagues who see and seize opportunities, take risks, learn from failure, and bring a relentless passion for our mission.
  • Creativity: NHSA team members use data to form original insights. We find ways to incorporate innovative ideas and approaches that exist in the rich and vital Head Start community.
  • Mindfulness: NHSA has an organization-wide commitment to strive for excellence; we set clear objectives, achieve ambitious goals, ensure accountability for results, and focus on our impact.
  • Curiosity: NHSA values those who are curious and hungry for knowledge. Reflecting Head Start’s six decades of commitment to continuous improvement, our staff is committed to personal and professional growth, understanding, and commitment to our mission.

THE PROCESS
Please submit your cover letter and résumé in one PDF document to jobs@nhsa.org with "Executive and Government Affairs Assistant" in the subject line.

NHSA IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER. All qualified applicants will receive consideration without regard to race, color, national origin, marital status, religion, gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, personal appearance, family responsibilities, political affiliation, or enrollment in a college, university, technical school, or adult education.