Executive Assistant (1249BR) in Illinois

Sandi Dornhecker's picture
Contract Type: 

Schedule Details: Must be able to work occasional extended hours: early mornings, evenings, and weekends.
Job Function and Responsibilities: Since the opening of Brookfield Zoo in 1934, the Chicago Zoological Society has had an international reputation for taking a cutting-edge role in animal care and conservation of the natural world.  The Society is an active partner in wildlife protection programs around the world, including the Sarasota Dolphin Research Program, the world’s longest-running study of bottlenose dolphins.  We have pioneered the field of conservation psychology, the study of how people connect with animals and nature.  We are able to reach so many audiences each year, including 2 million zoo guests engaged by unique exhibits and programs; some 250,000 schoolchildren, campers, and families who participate in award-winning science education programs; nearly 24,000 teachers who take part in our professional development workshops; and, diverse communities across Chicagoland.  The animals at Brookfield Zoo are ambassadors to those in the wild.  Through care and breeding and, in some cases, reintroduction to their natural habitat, we replenish nature many times over.  Thanks to generous donations, thousands of animals representing 500 species receive state-of-the-art care through top-notch medical, husbandry, and nutrition programs.  In fact, animal care technologies developed at Brookfield Zoo are employed in 165 countries.
The Executive Assistant to the Chief Advancement Officer contributes to the success of the Chicago Zoological Society by providing a full range of high-level administrative support to the Chief Advancement Officer/Senior Vice President of Institutional Advancement (“CAO”).

Primary duties for this position include the following:

  • Provides a broad range of high-level administrative support to the Chief Advancement Officer/Senior Vice President of Institutional Advancement.  Maintains current and historical records/files for the Advancement Unit and CAO.  Assists CAO in assessing and responding to inquiries and requests for information from staff and external individuals or funnels appropriate information and requests to other Society staff for handling.  Anticipates the needs of the CAO and responds appropriately.  Organizes, coordinates, and manages CAO's schedule, activities, and appointments, assuring necessary materials and information are available when needed.  Provides support, including but not limited to: composing and editing correspondence, schedule and calendar management, preparation of information and reports, research, maintenance of required computer information and databases, and substantive special projects.  Manages incoming calls, mail, and information, including but not limited to: screening phone calls, mail, and e-mails, coordinating personal visits, and drafting communications.  Assures accurate and timely reporting of pertinent information.  Manages expense reimbursements for the CAO.  Responds on behalf of the CAO as appropriate.  Provides right-hand assistance in organizing and managing office operations and managing associated recordkeeping functions.  Handles a wide variety of confidential information.
  • Arranges meetings and handles all related logistics.  Schedules and confirms participants, reserves rooms, arranges for necessary audio/visual equipment, materials, and information, advising others of arrangements and schedules as appropriate.  Prepares and distributes agendas, generates, transcribes, and distributes meeting minutes and other correspondence, materials and related activities as needed.
  • Assures timely and accurate distribution of pertinent information from the CAO’s office in writing, by telephone, and/or computerized media as required.
  • Works closely with CAO to support pertinent Board Committee functions for designated committees, including but not limited to:  agenda formulation, creating and maintaining Board-related statistical reports, and minutes for the Development, Corporate Relations, and Planned Giving Committees.  Serves as point person and provides support for Board Legal Advisory Committee and for CAO for related activities.  Assists in the preparation of talking points for all other committees staffed by the CAO.  Maintains a strong relationship/follows the lead from the Board Liaison (President’s Office) in the execution of all board related events and meetings where the CAO or her direct reports play a role.
  • Works closely with CAO and provides needed support when critical incidents or crises occur.  Assists will all needed support, coordination, communications and related activities as directed.
  • Manages or assists with special departmental projects as assigned and performs other related duties as requested.  Assists the Vice President of Conservation Funding Initiatives and Vice President of Membership when needed.

Position Requirements and Specifications The requirements for the position include:

  • Minimum Associates Degree in Business, Communications, Secretarial Science, or other directly relevant field or equivalent combination of training and/or experience required.
  • Minimum five years comparable experience providing high-level support for a senior executive or equivalent experience required.
  • Excellent organizational, proofreading, and prioritization skills required.  Eye for detail and accuracy critical.
  • Effective problem-solving abilities and sound, logical decision-making skills required.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and busy savvy.  Ability to deal effectively with all levels of staff and external individuals, including VIPs, required.
  • Strong writing/composition skills, strong verbal communication skills, and strong, active listening skills.  Excellent telephone etiquette required.
  • Must be able to work calmly and effectively under pressure and meet critical deadlines.
  • Must be able to work occasional extended hours: early mornings, evenings, and weekends.
  • Able to maintain strict confidentiality of highly privileged information required.
  • Computer proficiency with Microsoft Outlook, Word, and Excel required.
  • Must communicate with sensitivity and have a strong customer service approach.
  • Experience and/or ability to work and interact genuinely and effectively with diverse, multicultural individuals.
  • A valid driver’s license is required on date of hire.  If an Illinois resident, must possess a valid Illinois driver’s license at the time of hire or must obtain one within 90 days of hire.  A valid out-of-state driver’s license is required at time of hire for out-of-state residents.   

The preferred qualifications include:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Communications, Secretarial Science, or other directly relevant field or equivalent combination of training and/or experience desirable.
  • Non-profit experience desirable.
  • Shorthand or speedwriting a plus.
  • Experience with database management, database reporting, and/or Raiser’s Edge system a plus.
  • Experience with PowerPoint and other office software packages preferred.
  • Multilingual ability, Spanish fluency a plus. 

Additional Information:  This is a salaried position responsible for coordinating and managing a myriad of high-level, important tasks for a busy executive.  Requires an experienced, polished individual who is highly professional in appearance and demeanor and who represents the CAO, the department, and the institution in a professional manner at all times.  Deals regularly with important, high-level individuals.  Incumbent interacts regularly with all levels of staff, external organizations and individuals, trustees, Women’s Board, and others.  Must be highly flexible and adaptable, have a strong work ethic, and be highly tactful and professional at all times.  Incumbent must enjoy a challenge, be passionate about quality, accuracy, and professionalism, and have a commitment to excellence.  Normal workweeks in excess of 40 hours are not unusual, so individual must be willing to make a significant commitment to the organization.  Must be present and visible at assigned meetings and events as required.
Additional Information The Chicago Zoological Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer / Affirmative Action Employer - Minorities / Women / Veterans / Disabled.


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Chicago Zoological Society

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