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Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Senior Program Assistant, Discovery & Translational Sciences in Seattle, Washington

This position posting will close end of day Friday, July 15th

Division Summary

Our Global Health Program harnesses advances in science and technology to save lives in poor countries. We focus on the health problems that have a major impact in developing countries but get too little attention and funding. Where proven tools exist, we support sustainable ways to improve their delivery. Where they don’t, we invest in research and development of new interventions, such as vaccines, drugs, biologics, and diagnostics. Our work in infectious diseases focuses on strategies to fight and prevent HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, neglected tropical diseases, enteric and diarrheal diseases and pneumonia. Our work in maternal, neonatal and child health focuses on ensuring that women and newborns survive and remain healthy before, during and after childbirth, and ensuring optimal growth, neurodevelopment and resistance to disease, by identifying and addressing underlying biological vulnerabilities. We also support innovative research in reproductive health. These disease-specific strategies are supported by cross-cutting functional teams working across the R&D spectrum, including Discovery & Translational Sciences (the team this role is housed in), Vaccine Development & Surveillance, and Integrated Development.

Team Summary

The mission of Discovery & Translational Sciences (D&TS) is to catalyze innovation for the discovery and translation of transformative solutions to global health and development inequity. As such, the primary role of D&TS is to enable the foundation to achieve its ambitious global health equity goals as articulated by the disease-specific strategy teams (Program Strategy Teams; PSTs). For this, we exploit a unique advantage of the foundation in general and D&TS in particular: the ability to invest in high-risk and/or long-timeline initiatives with potential for truly disruptive change. We channel resources into building more practical (affordable, scalable, deliverable) versions of existing tools, develop transformative new tools where none exist, and speed the translation of scientific discovery into implementable solutions, seeking better ways to evaluate and refine potential interventions before they enter costly and time-consuming late-stage clinical trials. Key functions in support of this R&D mission include identifying and filling gaps in scientific knowledge, creating or implementing new technology platforms that can accelerate research in support of our goals, investing in potentially transformative ideas, continuous surveying of an ever-changing scientific and technological innovation space, and the fostering of an effective ecosystem of global health innovation, funding and partnership to advance the foundation’s mission. Our areas of focus include vaccines, biologics, drugs, microbiome interventions, and reproductive and sexual health.Position Summary

The Senior Program Assistant (SPA) is a key member of the Discovery & Translational Sciences (DTS) Team, playing a critical administrative role in support of the DTS Director and Deputy Directors, as well as ensuring smooth operations of the broader DTS Team. The SPA also manages the DTS Program Assistants. Efficiency, attention to detail, flexibility, and good judgment are critical to this role to ensure smooth operations of the team. Primary responsibilities are listed below.

You’ll optimize the use of the Director's time so as to maximize the efficiency of the team's operations. This requires providing support to ensure that their time is preferentially dedicated to the highest priority activities, that tasks and correspondence are rapidly delegated as appropriate, and that follow-up by the Director's office is ensured. In addition to this, you’ll also:

  • Calendar management, prioritizing the Director's appointments and meetings; Manage communications with and for the Director; assist with prioritizing and balancing Director's workflow and time, by successfully understanding dependencies and relationships. This SPA role is also responsible for calendar management of additional D&TS staff members (DD’s, SPO’s)

  • Travel Arrangements: Make complex, international travel arrangements

  • Event Coordination: Lead and/or assist in scheduling and planning of meetings, conferences and presentations for department and/or external guests, which may include coordinating travel for participants, organizing logistics, preparing and disseminating materials

  • Expense Reconciliation: Compilation and processing of expense reports, and reimbursements in an accurate and timely manner, for both direct principals and external event participants.

  • Information resource and internal communications to the team and cross-foundation liaison with regards to operational issues

  • Provide communications support and assistance to ensure timely responses to inquiries from external partners, grantees, government officials and consultants

  • Act as team liaison with internal operations and business partners, such as human resources team, maintaining confidentiality as required. Additionally, with external groups such as advisory councils, key funding partners, and service providers

  • Lead the onboarding of new team members

  • Team resource to communicate foundation policies

  • Lead efforts around team culture

  • Serve as the manager for the DTS Program Assistant team ensuring efficient collaboration among the team. This includes management of Program Assistant task coordination and workflow, capacity building for Program Assistants, harmonization of procedures, and serving as liaison to other administrative units as needed. As a people leader, you’ll also:

  • Anticipate ongoing staffing needs and make recommendations for appropriate administrative support staffing

  • Lead hiring efforts for new DTS Program Assistant staff (temporary and full time): Including job postings, interviewing and hiring, training and onboarding

  • Monitor and assess performance of the DTS Program Assistants

  • Provide ongoing coaching and/or mentoring to Program Assistants as needed

  • Approve timesheets and time off requests

  • Devise and implement plans for back up staff support. This includes out of office coverage, and workload balancing amongst the PAs to ensure a team approach in addressing spikes and dips in workflow across the team

Position reports to: Director, Discovery & Translational Sciences

Core Knowledge and Skills

  • Experience setting priorities and meeting deadlines while balancing the needs of providing support for multiple individuals, including calendar management, travel arrangements, and event planning coordination.

  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in an environment requiring diplomacy and good judgment in managing interactions with individuals at all levels inside and outside an organization.

  • Demonstrated effectiveness meeting deadlines in a role requiring continual attention to detail in composing, typing, and proofing materials.

  • Experience establishing organizational systems to improve efficiency and functioning in a changing environment.

  • Demonstrated proficiency with Outlook, Teams, Microsoft Office, and PowerPoint is required. Previous experience MS SharePoint and OneNote preferred, but not required. Experience in learning and mastering new software applications.

  • Demonstrated positive, collaborative approach to work, including a commitment to client-service and problem solving.

Education and Experience

  • A minimum of 5-7 years’ work experience in an office setting is desired, preferably in an administrative role for a complex and fast-paced organization, interacting intensively with internal and external contacts.

    *Must be able to legally work in the country where this position is located without visa sponsorship.

Hiring Requirements

As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment will be contingent upon successful completion of a background check.

Depending upon your work location, we may require proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 and any recommended booster doses. All employees based in the United States are to provide proof of full vaccination upon hire and any recommended boosters, subject to applicable laws.


If you require assistance due to a disability in the application or recruitment process, please submit a request to

Inclusion Statement

We are dedicated to the belief that all lives have equal value. We’re committed to creating a workplace where employees thrive both personally and professionally. We also believe our employees should reflect the rich diversity of the global populations we aim to serve—in race, gender, age, cultures and beliefs—and we support this diversity through all of our employment practices.

All applicants and employees who are drawn to serve our mission will enjoy equality of opportunity and fair treatment without regard to race, color, age, religion, pregnancy, sex, sexual orientation, disability, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, genetic information, veteran status, marital status, and prior protected activity.

Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people—especially those with the fewest resources—have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Mark Suzman, under the direction of co-chairs Bill Gates and Melinda French Gates and the board of trustees.