Sr. Administrative Assistant to the Director

Job Description

The MIT Media Lab is looking for a Sr. Administrative Assistant to the Director to join the dynamic headquarters team provide advanced administrative assistance to Prof. Dava Newman and the director’s multiple programs, projects, and initiatives, and work closely with her Executive Assistant to provide day-to-day operations and handle HQ-sponsored events. Daily operations include managing Prof. Newman’s calendar, plan and coordinate high-volume and complex travel domestic and international travel itineraries, handle correspondence, manage HQ finances.



  • Manage complex calendar, including independently prioritizing requests for Director’s time accommodating multiple calendars and competing priorities.
  • Coordinate arrangements for multiple meetings and maintain files for easy access to background material for daily schedule.
  • Attends high-level meetings; records, interprets, drafts, and distributes (pending approval) minutes from said meetings.
  • Researches and gathers information from multiple sources for highly complex projects.
  • Maintain e-office, i.e., Google drive, Dropbox, etc.
  • Provide administrative support to Director’s course preparation.
  • Coordinate meetings chaired by the director; prepare materials for meetings as required.
  • Monitor and advise of due dates and timelines.
  • Perform general administrative duties for Director.
  • Assists, in coordination with Academic Program office, with faculty searches.
  • Maintain and order HQ office supplies.


  • On behalf of Director and Media Lab respond to high-level and external constituents. Exercising discretion, aswer questions requiring an in-depth understanding of work area and MIT policies and procedures and determine appropriate course of action for sensitive issues and matters of significance that may have high visibility with the department, MIT, and outside the Institute. Inquiries may be complex and require additional research.
  • Triage of all communications directed to the director, reply, re-direct, and prioritize requests, prioritizes and re-route mail for action, screen telephone calls.
  • Review, e-file and prioritize Director’s email.
  • Research, draft, edit and/or proofread articles, correspondence and other written material for both internal and external audience; both digital and hard copy.
  • Learn and manage vast network of contacts.  Establish and maintain influential and strategic relationships with internal and external contacts.


  • On behalf of the Director, keep all personal information updated, e.g., biographical data, C.V., etc. and maintain and update Director’s faculty record and website edits.
  • Draft and/or format materials for professional speaking engagements; coordinate all logistics related to engagement.
  • Track, respond and communicate with numerous speaking and appearances requests for the Director.


  • Plan and coordinate complex domestic and international business travel arrangements for the director and occasionally the larger team traveling with the director.
  • Develops itineraries, organize and submit documentation for reimbursement and travel reconciliations.
  • Assist with travel arrangements for the director’s guests.


  • Responsible for developing, monitoring, and reconciling all financial activities for HQ finances such as Director’s accounts, including assisting with budget preparation;
  • Analyze expenditures and/or provide recommendations for adjustments.
  • Handle all financial activities according to Media Lab Finance and MIT procedure and compliance policy, such as reconciliations of expenses, expense reimbursements, purchase including complex purchase orders and contracts – establishing and closing, independent contractor coordination, Financial Review & Control (FRC) reports, accounts payables, maintain all records, invoices, receipts, and the like according to MIT’s record retention policy, etc.;
  • Responsible for use of MIT Procurement and Travel credit cards for group according to Media Lab Finance and MIT procedure and compliance policy.


  • Plan and coordinate meeting logistics for the director, director-sponsored, and high-profile events and projects such as developing invitation lists with input from others, sending invitations, confirming attendees, arranging for speakers, room reservations, ordering catering, visitor’s pass, parking, set up and clean-up, etc., and performing other administrative or analytic tasks to support initiatives. These may include, but are not limited to, special faculty meetings, retreats, department-wide initiatives, and agendas and schedules of individual visitors and delegations from government, corporate sponsors, and other universities.

Other duties as assigned.

Engagement in Lab diversity, equity and inclusion priorities is encouraged.


  • High school diploma or equivalent.
  • A minimum of five years’ experience in an administrative environment working with a senior leader, C-level environment.
  • Requires strong organizational and interpersonal skills and ability to handle a busy work environment with changing priorities and limited supervision.
  • Experience handling confidential information and/or issues using discretion, superb judgment, and diplomacy.
  • Accuracy, unflappability, and an eye for detail essential, as are the ability to anticipate and solve problems, and to work both independently and collaboratively.
  • At ease in a highly diverse academic and professional community able to build productive professional relationships and enjoy working with the public with superior customer service skills
  • Strong written and oral communication skills.
  • Requires comprehensive skills and knowledge of organizational policies and practices in order to interpret and determine appropriate course of conduct effectively and appropriately.  
  • Technically savvy and skilled with Microsoft suite using Mac O/S, Zoom, email software, and on-line calendar software and willingness to adapt to and learn new systems.
  • Evening and weekend work may be required.
  • A Bachelor’s degree.
  • MIT business apps: SAP, Concur, B2P, MS Suite, Adobe Suite, databases.

MIT job #21446

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