Executive Assistant

Title: Executive Assistant to the Executive Director

Urban Gateways is seeking a new full-time Executive Assistant to play a vital role in the organization’s success. Reporting directly to the Executive Director, this position provides critical executive support in a one-on-one working relationship. The Executive Assistant serves as a primary point of contact for internal and external constituencies on all matters pertaining to the Office of the Executive Director. The Executive Assistant also serves as a liaison to the Board of Directors and senior management; organizes and coordinates executive outreach and external relations efforts; and oversees special projects.

The Executive Assistant must be creative and enjoy working within a small, entrepreneurial environment that is mission-driven, results-driven and community-oriented. The ideal individual will have the ability to exercise good judgment in a variety of situations, with strong written and verbal communication, administrative, and organizational skills, and the ability to maintain a realistic balance among multiple priorities. The Executive Assistant will have the ability to work independently on projects, from conception to completion, and must be able to work under pressure at times to handle a wide variety of activities and confidential matters with discretion. The position requires a strong familiarity and comfort level engaging with a variety of stakeholders and program participants located in Chicago’s diverse communities. This position is ideal for candidates who wish to pursue a successful career in arts administration.

Roles & Responsibilities

Executive Support

  • Completes a broad variety of administrative tasks for the Executive Director including: managing an active calendar of appointments; composing and preparing correspondence; arranging detailed travel plans and itineraries, and agendas; and other duties as assigned.
  • Plans, coordinates, and ensures the Executive Director’s schedule is followed and respected. Provides a “gatekeeper” and “gateway” role, creating win-win situations for direct access to the Executive Director’s time and office.
  • Communicates directly and on behalf of the Executive Director with Board members, donors, staff, and others on matters related to the Executive Director’s institutional initiatives.
  • Researches, prioritizes, and follows up on incoming issues and concerns addressed to the Executive Director, including those of a sensitive or confidential nature. Assists in determining appropriate course of action, referral, or response.
  • Provides a bridge for smooth communication between the Executive Director and internal departments, demonstrating leadership to maintain trust and support with senior staff.
  • Works closely and effectively with the Executive Director to remain well informed of upcoming commitments and responsibilities, following up appropriately. Acts as a “barometer,” having a sense for the issues taking place in the environment and updating the Executive Director.
  • Provides leadership to build relationships crucial to the success of the organization and manages a variety of special projects for the Executive Director, some of which may have broad organizational impact.
  • Facilitates all Executive Director meeting logistics and documents the minutes for Board and Staff meetings.
  • Successfully completes critical aspects of deliverables with a hands-on approach, including drafting communication to different constituents, and other tasks that facilitate the Executive Director’s ability to effectively lead the organization.
  • Prioritizes conflicting needs; handles issues expeditiously and proactively, and follows through on projects to successful completion, often with deadline pressures.

Board Support and Liaison

  • Serves as the Executive Director’s administrative liaison to the Urban Gateways Board of Directors.
  • Maintains discretion and confidentiality in relationships with all Board members.
  • Adheres to compliance with applicable rules and regulations set in bylaws regarding board and board committee matters, including advance distribution of materials before meetings in electronic/paper format.
  • Prepares logistics for all Board of Directors meetings, including ordering meals, setting up and clearing meeting rooms, setting up conference lines, and other tasks.

Senior Management Liaison

  • Participates as an adjunct member of the Executive Team including assisting in scheduling meetings and attending all meetings.
  • Assists in coordinating the agenda of senior management team meetings and full staff meetings.

Strategic Initiatives

  • Works with the senior management team in coordinating the Executive Director’s strategic initiatives.
  • Follows up on contacts made by the Executive Director and supports the cultivation of ongoing relationships.


  • Bachelor’s degree required. Arts, Arts Administration, and/or Education focus a plus.
  • Experience and interest in internal and external communications, partnership development, and fundraising, and interest in pursuing an NPO management track.
  • Minimum two years of administrative experience, preferably in a non-profit organization.
  • Working knowledge of and passion for the arts and of Chicago to be conversant with Urban Gateways’ constituents.
  • Strong organizational skills that reflect ability to perform and prioritize multiple tasks seamlessly with excellent attention to detail.
  • Very strong interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships with stakeholders, including staff, board members, external partners, and donors.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
  • Demonstrated proactive approaches to problem-solving with strong decision-making capability.
  • Highly resourceful team-player, with the ability to also be extremely effective independently.
  • Proven ability to handle confidential information with discretion, be adaptable to various competing demands, and demonstrate the highest level of customer/client service and response.
  • Demonstrated ability to achieve high performance goals and meet deadlines in a fast-paced environment.
  • Forward-looking thinker, who actively seeks opportunities and proposes solutions.
  • Proficient in Microsoft Office (Outlook, Word, Excel, and Power Point), Adobe Acrobat, and social media.

Competitive salary commensurate with experience. Excellent benefits package. No phone calls please. Interested candidates should forward a cover letter and resume to hr@urbangateways.org with Executive Assistant in the subject line or mail to Urban Gateways:

Attn: Human Resources
100 S State St Floor 4
Chicago, IL 60603

About Urban Gateways

Urban Gateways engages young people in arts experiences to inspire creativity and impact social change. The organization works to overcome social and economic barriers for youth to access Chicago’s artistic and cultural vitality, fostering a more creative and artistically responsive society. Urban Gateways was founded in 1961 to connect youth to the city’s many arts and culture institutions as a vital tool for personal growth and expanded opportunities. Through a range of initiatives, young people acquire and refine artistic skills, demonstrate their talents, engage in critical thinking, explore new possibilities, and contribute to the civic discourse of our community. Urban Gateways works across the metro area and in nearly every Chicago ward, with concentrated efforts in South and West side communities. The organization conducts Arts Education, Creative Youth Development, and Civic Engagement initiatives that reach over 80,000 youth across 250 locations annually.