Executive Assistant to Co-Executive Director (40 hours/week) 

Highlander is searching for a dedicated and reliable colleague to be an Executive Assistant to the Co-Executive Director (Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson). While often called to serve as a public voice for Highlander, the Co-Executive Director also facilitates and directs Highlander’s behind-the-scenes work and many of Highlander’s organizational development strategies, educational interventions, creation/revision of policies/procedures, cultivating relationships with institutional philanthropic organizations, relationship building with other movement organizations, staff recruitment and development, and work with the Board of Directors. The Executive Assistant will assist the Co-Executive Director in implementing her primary responsibilities in a highly participatory and complex work environment. With all of Highlander’s staff, this role will contribute to Highlander’s educational and accompaniment work with grassroots organizing and movement building in the US South and beyond. 

The right candidate will understand and believe in Highlander’s role in social justice movements and be able to express a clear interest in supporting Highlander’s work for this particular position.

Learn more about Highlander’s current and past work here: https://www.highlandercenter.org/our-story/   



A successful person in the Executive Assistant (EA) role will anticipate needs, be highly organized, communicate clearly and directly, and will provide seamless support to the Co-Executive Director (Co-ED). The EA organizes and coordinates executive outreach and external relations efforts, facilitates workflow, helps the Co-ED track and coordinate short-, medium-, and long-range organizational projects, and will work independently on special projects as assigned. The EA engages in high-level external and internal communications and correspondence; conducts research, drafts reports, and prepares presentations; manages the Co-ED’s calendar and other work-related logistics (i.e., travel); coordinates meeting scheduling; and occasionally supports event planning. 

There are three primary areas of work: Calendar Management and Complex Travel/Events Coordination, Data Entry and Records Management, and Additional Administrative Support.

Specific responsibilities will include:

  • Completes a broad variety of administrative tasks for the Executive Director to include, but not limited to: managing an extremely active calendar of appointments, commitments and responsibilities; completing expense reports; arranging complex and detailed travel plans across multiple time zones, itineraries, and meeting agendas
  • Preparing digital meeting rooms for appointments and coordinates schedules
  • Attending meetings as needed and manages meeting notes and follow-up
  • Communicating with internal and external partners on Co-ED’s behalf
  • Manages Co-ED’s email inbox
  • Follows up on contacts made by the Executive Director and supports the cultivation of ongoing relationships and communicates directly on behalf of the Executive Director on matters related to programmatic initiatives
  • Coordinating projects by capturing timelines and strategies, delivering progress updates, and completing deliverables as appropriate
  • Manages a high-volume communication such as reading, researching, and routing correspondence; drafting letters and documents; collecting and analyzing information; and initiating telecommunications
  • Format information for internal and external communication – memos, emails, presentations, reports, job descriptions, etc.
  • Organize, store, and retrieve Co-ED’s electronic and physical records on on-line server, donor database, and other platforms.
  • Tracks relationship developments in CRM systems (e.g. adding contacts, creating accounts, updating notes).
  • Ensure that expense reports, receipts, per diem, and reimbursements are filed in a timely fashion
  • Conduct research, analyze data, and prepare reports and documents in support of Co-ED functions.
  • Researches, prioritizes, and follows up on incoming issues and concerns addressed to the Co-ED, including those of a sensitive or confidential nature.
  • Develop presentations and visuals that help communicate to visual learners and tell the story of the work. 
  • Facilitate a collaborative work environment by aiding Co-ED and other staff in troubleshooting, problem solving, and scheduling.
  • Assist in Board meeting preparation and serve as administrative liaison to the board.
  • Available for non-traditional work hours and assignments OR ability to work hours exceeding stated office hours as needed; ability and willingness to travel for staff retreats, meetings and professional development opportunities.



Applicants invited to an initial interview will show evidence of a majority of the following:

  • at least 3-5 years of experience in an administrative role supporting Senior/C-suite executive(s) or an Executive level office (nonprofit/social justice organization experience preferred)
  • ability to anticipate Co-ED’s needs and take initiative accordingly
  • excellent writing/editing, and verbal communication skills
  • must have direct, radically transparent, and proactive communication style
  • exceptional attention to detail and follow-through with superior organizational skills
  • exemplary planning and time management skills
  • ability to maintain a high level of discretion and confidentiality (absolute must)
  • ability to maintain composure in stressful situations
  • demonstrated proactive approaches to problem-solving with strong decision-making capability
  • exceptional collaboration skills
  • proven expertise and ability to manage a dynamic and often rapidly shifting schedule (ability to navigate multiple time zones a strong plus), and negotiating complex schedules and plans
  • the ability to balance multiple priorities and pivot quickly to address important, urgent issues as they emerge
  • ability to synthesize multiple requests and prioritize as needed
  • highly resourceful team-player, with the ability to be extremely effective independently on projects from conception to completion 
  • strong familiarity with Google suite, Microsoft suite, Asana, Bitwarden, BlackBaud and ability to learn new technologies, tactics, and strategies quickly
  • ability to connect and build relationships with many different kinds of people across race, class, gender, age, and (dis)abilities 
  • commitment to community-care and your own well-being
  • ability to work remotely and with minimal day-to-day supervision
  • open to travel



  • graphic notetaking/graphic design skills and/or other strengths in visual expression
  • financial literacy (budgets, P&Ls, cash flow tracking)
  • familiarity with safety/security culture
  • familiarity with Highlander and the organizations and movements we support
  • familiarity with and comfort with rural/small town settings
  • commitment to long-haul, organizational change and growth
  • ability to drive to/from Highlander on occasion and on short notice



This position is responsible to the Co-ED, will work closely with other administrative staff, and will interface with staff in all areas of the organization. The EA will attend weekly meetings that are facilitated by the Co-ED, other team meetings, monthly staff meetings, annual staff retreats, and three multi-day Board meetings.



Currently expected to average 40 hours/week, this position is a full-time and exempt. Irregular hours, weekends, evenings, should be expected for this role. This is a Level 1 salary, currently set at an annual rate of $61,676 a year. The position includes a stellar benefits package, including Blue Cross/Blue Shield (Tennessee) Health, Vision, and Dental coverage (extended to spouses/domestic partners and dependents), employer-paid annual retirement contribution to TIAA-CREF account after a year of employment, a nominal life insurance plan, significant sick and vacation leave, generous holiday leave, and a variety of other policies intended to encourage health and wellness, such as an annual $1,000 staff development stipend. Work cell phone and computer provided.



Highlander is located on 186 acres of land in rural East Tennessee (near Knoxville) and is considered a “movement home” by thousands of people from all over the world. Much of this position’s work can be completed remotely. Based on the nature of the Co-ED’s responsibilities and the assistance required, however, if people who live or are willing to move within a 2-3 hour (or less) drive from Highlander, we offer up to $1,500.00 in relocation reimbursements and, when available, temporary transitional housing. 



Step 1: In one PDF document, compile:

  • cover letter
  • resume/CV
  • name & contact information for 3 references


Step 2: Email that PDF document to apply@highlandercenter.org. Write “Executive Assistant” in the Subject line. Incomplete applications will not be considered.

Optional: In addition to the required information above, you can send other application content that showcases your skills, interests, and experiences. Make sure to include any explanation needed for the content. The content can come in any form of media, which can include but is not limited to:

  • A Timeline of your work, life, or experiences
  • A Video
  • A Powerpoint or other form of presentation
  • A Graphic design, Collage or sets of Pictures and Photographs
  • Other writing samples


Timeline: The application process will be open until position is filled. We hope to fill this position as soon as possible. Select applicants will receive an initial invitation to interview with a hiring committee. The final candidate(s) will participate in a final interview to which all Highlander staff are invited. All interviews will be via Zoom.


Highlander is an equal opportunity employer, and we especially encourage applications from Black, brown, and indigenous people, women, LGBTQ+ and gender variant/non-conforming folks, and working-class/cash poor people. Folks directly impacted by the criminal justice system are also encouraged to apply.




If you have a question about the position before applying, please send it to apply@highlandercenter.org and someone from the hiring committee will reply.