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2 people found this helpful  

Program Coordinator

  • Comp & Benefits
  • Work/Life Balance
  • Senior Management
  • Culture & Values
  • Career Opportunities
Former Employee - Anonymous Employee  in  Washington, DC
Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Washington, DC

I worked at Aspen Institute full-time for more than a year

Pros

Great/respected organization within the beltway, benefits are great for a non-profit, more for centrist individuals who have a passion for certain policy topics, but not necessarily an advocacy organization. Good for those just starting out (out of college), better for those who are one job from retirement (i.e. accomplished executive directors in their field). Not a good place for growth, but very well connected, so great for when moving on to a different job.

Cons

Not a good place for career growth. It is small, as all non-profits are. Most young people will stay 2-3 years at most before moving on. Some management is great, other departments have managers/directors that are not very communicative with their subordinates. Some senior staff are very demanding (mine just happened to keep me until past 8:00pm each night, interesting work, but no overtime, high to ridiculous expectations, and little feedback. I burned out quickly).

Advice to ManagementAdvice

We understand you are busy, but be a mentor to your admin staff, even the littlest positive feedback can brighten our entire day.

Neutral Outlook
Approves of CEO

Other Reviews for Aspen Institute

  1. 2 people found this helpful  

    Good fit for the right person, right program-double edged sword!

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Former Employee - Program Coordinator  in  Washington, DC
    Former Employee - Program Coordinator in Washington, DC

    I worked at Aspen Institute

    Pros

    relaxed atmosphere; each program acts as its own entity in that they raise their own funds therefore they act with complete autonomy of standards and practices for that program's employees/ team members; seminars and workshops are plentiful, along with the many opportunities to meet distinguished members of society, government officials, and global figureheads; the ability to mingle with a diverse group of people from all backgrounds and interests is invaluable; definitely looks good on the resume (if you are willing to put up with ulcers, gray hair, and anxiety issues in the end of it- more on that, in "cons" below)

    Cons

    as in the title, this is a double edged sword- since each program acts as its own entity, this also leaves much rm for error; from inconsistent standards policies and procedures, to a lack of managerial integrity, the problems stem from a blind upper management whose sight is too fixed on lofty goals, with no "peripheral" sight on core issues/ strengths/ weaknesses. working with aspen is a mixed bag: some programs are superb, some barely fit the bill; and while work life balance can be excellent with such a relaxed culture, don't let the empty promise of relaxation fool you: think carrot and stick principle, where the carrot is constantly dangling, and the stick is just a hologram of a metal baseball bat. you may get small perks like cost of living pay increase, but if you are unlucky enough to be a part of one of the less desirable programs your chances for advancement are little to none, and you will constantly be threatened. i left feeling that i wasted two yrs of my life in a glass room looking at all the wonderful things passing me by. multiple degrees, awesome personality, and a laundry list of skills were no match for the egos and agendas of the major players of the program i was in- my exit interview was combative, and management acted juvenile at best; the level of hostility i received upon leaving was shocking. Unfortunately for those not as proactive as I in willingness to quit and move on, i have heard multiple cases of severance pay with binding legal contracts (to prevent former employees from taking legal action beyond employment or otherwise). and to add insult to injury, inter-program mobility within the institute is little to none. My advice to any would be employee is to use whatever network you have to get an insider look at the institute, but more importantly take a microscope to the program you wish to work in. take some time to think about mobility and advancement within that program: if you ask your hiring manager about previous employees and the turnover is high, yet none have been promoted, unless you are passionate about that policy field (international development or environmental) then think twice.

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    no advice i can give will be enough to change the amount of character-rot i see within the institute. and to be honest, i don't believe management cares to change, OR looks at these reviews. if they do, its probably over a few glasses of brandy in their estate cigar rooms with other VPs, looking for a good laugh.

    No opinion of CEO
  2.  

    Collection of Autonomous Groups; It all Depends on Your Group

    • Comp & Benefits
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Senior Management
    • Career Opportunities
    Current Employee - Program Coordinator  in  Washington, DC
    Current Employee - Program Coordinator in Washington, DC

    I have been working at Aspen Institute

    Pros

    - Potential to build a great network at Aspen events/colloquia/seminars
    - Great learning opportunities as you go (there's no one holding your hand, which is fantastic if you like that kind of independence)
    - My direct boss is a decent human being, so she's understanding when I have to take a day off for personal reasons
    - Free food all the time

    Cons

    - Upper management doesn't seem to care at all about young professionals
    - Lack of professional development and training opportunities
    - Medical insurance is lousy, to say the least
    - Aspen moves to the tune of its funders: they say open a new program, Aspen complies (even if it just strengthens the divisions already in place)

    Advice to ManagementAdvice

    Show some appreciation of your young staff members and integrate mentorship into their professional development

    No opinion of CEO
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