Job Posting: Executive Assistant to the VP, Engagement & Public Policy

by amy cook on August 10, 2017

The Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) creates knowledge that will transform our world. The Institute brings together outstanding, international scholars and scientists to work in global research networks that address some of the most important questions our world faces today. Our networks help support the growth of research leaders and are catalysts for change in business, government, and society.


Established in 1982, CIFAR is a Canadian-based, global organization, comprised of nearly 400 fellows, scholars, and advisors from 115 institutions in 18 countries. CIFAR partners with the Government of Canada, provincial governments, individuals, foundations, corporations and research institutions to extend our impact in the world.


Position Profile:

Provide senior level support and assistance to the VP, Engagement & Public Policy on all matters related to the smooth and successful functioning of the Knowledge Mobilization (KM) Team. Provide support in scheduling meetings, managing all administrative responsibilities, ensuring compliance with government, partner and donor contracts, monitoring annual operation plan to ensure deadlines are achieved and performance metrics are obtained, tracking actual expenditures against budgets to ensure financial resources are appropriately stewarded, and updating CIFAR’s CRM system, Salesforce. This position requires a high level of discretion and confidentiality; a proactive and strategic approach to all aspects of the work; and the ability to manage multiple priorities with rapidly changing levels of urgency.




Provide executive assistance to the VP and the Knowledge Mobilization Team:

  • Manage the VP’s calendar and coordinate meetings with various stakeholders
  • Communicate effectively on behalf of the VP with Board Members, Executive Team members, EA to the CEO, Knowledge Mobilization Team, and employees regarding operational activities, issues, and projects
  • Draft emails, memos and reports for various stakeholders
  • Provide support with travel, accommodation, meeting and presentation arrangements and process expense claims and Visa receipts for submission to Finance as needed
  • Analyze, code and track invoices and expense claims, including credit card statements for the department, and track expenses to budget for the department and reconciling with finance team quarterly

Support meeting planning and events for the Knowledge Mobilization Team:

  • Provide support to the Knowledge Mobilization Team by organizing meetings, preparing and/or obtaining information, reports, and materials to be shared amongst team members, and produce minutes of Knowledge Mobilization Team meetings
  • Coordinate and attend team meetings and document agreed upon decisions and follow up actions and responsibilities
  • Provide onsite assistance and support to Knowledge Mobilization events as needed (e.g. printing, coordinating and sending materials, helping with registration, catering, etc.)

Operations Plan, Budget and Performance Metrics Coordination:

  • Maintain operating plan on behalf of the Knowledge Mobilization Team including the overall timeline and accountability for all projects
  • Maintain the current status of activities and financial resources for each project

Ensure that CRM database in Salesforce is up to date and complete

  • Create contact record in CRM database for new Knowledge Mobilization contacts
  • Maintain and update CRM contact records for Knowledge Mobilization contacts
  • Coordinate departmental invitation lists for various CIFAR events and ensure that guest information in the CRM database is accurate

Provide support for the compliance and reporting for government funders, partners, and donors:

  • In collaboration with the Knowledge Mobilization and Finance Teams, monitor government contracts to ensure deliverables are achieved and contract terms and reporting requirements are being met in a timely manner
  • Follow up on funding or grant requests in a timely manner, responding in a knowledgeable and professional manner to government representatives



Education/Experience required:

  • University degree or acceptable combination of education and experience, preferably in communications, academia, or government
  • Experience working in an office setting with compliance and accountability requirements for government funding is an asset

Key Attributes:

  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to develop and foster relationships with employees and volunteers
  • Highly organized with strong attention to detail
  • Excellent time management skills and ongoing awareness of deadlines
  • Friendly and positive attitude with a good sense of humour
  • Excellent oral and written communications skills
  • Confidence and maturity to present information and act on behalf of the Executive and to work with other teams to understand their needs
  • Demonstrate professional behaviour and integrity to develop and maintain credibility and trust
  • Maintain strict confidence and exhibit tact and discretion in all activities and relationships with internal and external stakeholders
  • High degree of resourcefulness, flexibility, and adaptability to meet the demands of different priorities
  • Demonstrate initiative and ability to perform independently with general guidance and direction


Core Professional/Technical Knowledge & Skills required for the position:

  • Communication: to convey information to and from the Executive clearly, concisely, professionally and diplomatically; compose correspondence for the Executive’s signature; respond to inquiries; prepare reports.
  • Organizational and Time Management: to recognize priorities and constantly shift those priorities as demands require; items requiring Executive’s or others’ attention and items to be handled on own; to establish effective, efficient systems and procedures to support the seamless flow of work.
  • Compliance Reporting: to monitor timelines relating to compliance reporting to funders and coordinate the preparation of information and reports to submit compliance reports in a complete and timely manner.
  • Problem-Solving and Analytical Skills: to quickly and concisely identify issues and immediate solutions for a prompt response; ensure appropriate follow up to avoid future issues when possible.
  • Relationship Building and Management: representing the office of the Executive to internal and external stakeholders and act as a liaison; build trust and credibility with all points of contact in a positive way.
  • Advanced Computer Skills: Microsoft Office suite, online survey tools, database software, and working knowledge of Google Mail and Calendar (and a CRM and/or Salesforce would be an asset).
  • Language Skills:  Bi-lingual (French/English) would be an asset


Position reports to:  VP of the Knowledge Mobilization Team (VP, Engagement & Public Policy)

Term of position:   Permanent

Start date:   September/October, 2017


To Apply:

Please send your resume and cover letter in confidence to quoting the Job Title “Executive Assistant to the VP, Engagement & Public Policy” in the Subject Line.  The deadline for submitting your application is SEPTEMBER 5, 2017.

To find out more, please visit our website:


CIFAR is an equal employment opportunity employer, committed to diversity and equitable access to employment opportunities based on abilities.


We thank you for your interest in working at CIFAR. All applications will be reviewed however, only those candidates selected for an interview will be contacted.  

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