Executive Assistant (WF)

About the Organization

The Water Foundation is an ambitious new organization dedicated to advancing long-term, sustainable water management in the American West. Created in 2011 as an initiative within the Resources Legacy Fund in collaboration with several major funders, including the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation, the Pisces Foundation, and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Water Foundation became a fully independent nonprofit organization in January 2017.

Since it was first established as the California Water Foundation, the organization has invested over $30 million to improve the long-term availability of clean, safe water for California. It has assembled a respected team of experts in water, mobilized partner organizations, and engaged diverse constituents. The foundation functions as a strategic funder that invests in organizations and targeted regions to advance water policy reforms, a convener and builder of coalitions to improve how water is used, and an advocate for better regional and statewide policies.

The Water Foundation has achieved an early track-record of success, notably including education and analysis to support the 2014 passage of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. Currently the foundation advances a broad range of priorities, from ensuring safe, reliable and affordable drinking water to balancing use of the region’s major river systems. With a talented team of staff experts and ongoing and expanding support from its funders, the foundation is poised to move to a new level of influence and impact as an independent institution.

The Water Foundation has offices in Sacramento, Oakland and Los Angeles. More information about the Water Foundation can be found at www.waterfdn.org; the foundation’s website is being overhauled as part of its launch as an independent organization.

Executive Assistant

The Water Foundation is seeking a committed, responsible, and energetic individual to provide administrative support to its CEO. The Executive Assistant (EA) will be a resourceful, quick learner who thrives on taking on new challenges. He or she will work in a fast-paced environment requiring detail-oriented work, quick thinking, independence, and professionalism. As a member of the Water Foundation team, the EA will experience the benefits of working in an ambitious new organization, including the cultivation of close working relationships and an exposure to high-impact environmental work. This unique blend creates an incredible opportunity for an individual looking to deepen his or her understanding of philanthropy and the issues surrounding water in the American West. The EA will report to the CEO.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

The Executive Assistant will perform the following and other duties as assigned:

  • Perform all administrative duties to support the CEO, enabling him to be highly effective in executing his role.
  • Manage the CEO’s calendar (schedule calls, plan meetings, etc.).
  • Plan, coordinate, and ensure that the CEO’s schedule is thoughtfully and effectively constructed with an eye to supporting expressed priorities. Provide a “gatekeeper” and “gateway” role, creating win-win situations for access to the CEO’s time and attention.
  • Work closely with the CEO to keep him well-informed of upcoming commitments and responsibilities, following up appropriately.
  • Prepare the CEO for meetings by providing preparatory information; take notes at meetings.
  • Research, prioritize, and manage responses to incoming correspondence and requests.
  • Support the CEO with discrete program-oriented research tasks.
  • Assist with production and quality control of outgoing work products.
  • Provide a bridge for smooth communication between the CEO and internal teams demonstrating leadership to maintain credibility, trust, and support with staff.
  • Serve as key point of contact for executive assistants at grantee organizations and partner foundations.
  • Manage multifaceted program logistics and calendars for meetings and conferences, including arranging travel and catering and setting up and breaking down meeting rooms for the CEO’s meetings.
  • Make travel arrangements for CEO.
  • Manage operations in the foundation’s newly established Oakland office, ensuring the office functions smoothly, scheduling use of offices by foundation staff, hosting guests to the office, and organizing the use of the office’s conference room.
  • Answer incoming calls for the CEO and the Foundation’s general phone line; screen unsolicited grant inquiries; greet visitors.
  • Support effective management of the Foundation’s office by assisting with specified tasks, including interfacing with vendors, contractors, and others.
  • Other duties and special projects, as needed.


The successful candidate will have the following minimum qualifications:

  • 2 or more years’ experience in an office administrative or similar role
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills
  • Previous experience maintaining calendars and coordinating meetings/events highly valuable
  • Superb attention to detail and excellent organizational skills
  • Proficiency in MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook
  • Ability to work effectively and efficiently with minimal supervision, prioritize, and multi-task
  • Ability to keep calm under pressure and respond to stressful situations with grace and poise
  • Exposure to the philanthropic and/or nonprofit sector a plus
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and the ability to build relationships with stakeholders, including staff, board members, partners, and grantees
  • Interest, comfort, and strength working in a dynamic “start-up” environment
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills with the ability to synthesize information
  • Ability to represent the Foundation professionally, maintain confidentiality, and handle sensitive matters with discretion and diplomacy
  • Self-motivation and strong judgment
  • Forward-looking thinker who actively seeks opportunities and proposes solutions
  • Commitment to and passion for the Water Foundation’s mission and vision
  • Flexibility and sense of humor

Compensation and Location

The Water Foundation offers an excellent benefits package and a competitive salary that is commensurate with experience. This position will be based in the Water Foundation’s Oakland, California, office.

To Apply

CEA Recruiting is assisting the Water Foundation with this search; all applications and inquiries should be directed to CEA. To be considered for this position, interested candidates should submit a resume, cover letter, and salary requirements by clicking here:


This position has a priority application deadline of April 30, 2017. Applications received after this date may be considered thereafter at the discretion of the Water Foundation until the position is filled.

The Water Foundation is an equal opportunity employer.

CEA Recruiting works with leading environmental nonprofits, foundations, and businesses to recruit top talent and design effective organizational staffing strategies. For more information, visit www.cearecruiting.com.

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