London, Greater London
£25,000 - £36,000 per year
Permanent, Full-time
Job description

About The Difference

In 2021, The Difference is needed now more than ever. During lockdown, children experiencing domestic violence, loss and trauma, isolation and worsening mental health rose. These experiences could easily fuel challenges at school escalating towards exclusion. Yet public debates around exclusion are polarising and meanwhile the schools serving excluded pupils are facing under-funding. The Difference has seen excellent impact from the early years of its work; but there is more work ahead in capturing our impact, continuing to lobby in the centre-ground, and growing the capacity of our unique and powerful team to keep driving towards lower exclusions in England. 

From next academic year The Difference Executive team needs a new colleague to support them across the whole organisation’s work: orchestrating the rhythm of the year with internal and external work and events; managing correspondence with a growing number of externals; supporting the Directors to use their time strategically to have the most impact; and working closely with our trustee team to oversee the continuously improving work of the charity. Could you make this difference?


The Challenge Ahead: Executive Assistant/Chief of Staff

The Difference is a growing charity, in both the size of its team and the reach of its delivery. As our delivery and team both grow, we must develop our ability to manage competing strategic priorities and their demands on our time, and to communicate and collaborate effectively across a wider group of colleagues, Trustees and external stakeholders. This requires a high level of coordination, strategic time management, and internal communication that we have not needed until now - qualities which we hope you will help to foster and grow.

As the Chief of Staff/Executive Assistant, you will work closely with the CEO and Directors to develop a deep understanding of the organisation’s strategic goals, how they interrelate, and the operational approaches designed to achieve them. Through this understanding, you will support the Exec team to manage their time and input towards the charity’s goals; ensure effective communication across The Difference team, and with external stakeholders; as well as personally delivering on key projects across the charity.

Key Tasks Required of this Role

Strategic support for CEO & Directors

  • Play a strategic role in balancing competing priorities, to ensure that sufficient time is given by CEO and Directors to each of the organisation’s four objectives.

  • Manage the CEO’s diary on an ongoing basis to ensure it continuously reflects current priorities, and responds to emerging needs.

  • Support the CEO in preparing for meetings - through both written and verbal briefings - and ensure communication of key headlines to relevant team members.

  • Coordinate Directors’ meetings, supporting the creation of agendas, and helping to determine how questions and topics are prioritised across the year.

  • Support on the delivery of cross-organisational projects, focusing on topics such as team development; ways of working; culture and values.

Internal Communication & Collaboration

  • Own and maintain an accurate organisational calendar, ensuring teams are aware of one another’s capacity across the year, and can plan accordingly.

  • Deputise for the CEO in internal meetings, to ensure that adequate briefing can be given to the CEO meaning ongoing oversight is not lost when external meetings are given priority.

  • Project manage key cross-organisational events, such as conferences and school visits, ensuring timely input from all relevant team members.

  • Develop shared processes & norms to nurture constructive communication with internal & external stakeholders


  • Project manage production of board papers, including support with writing them, and ensuring timely input from across the Difference team.

  • Plan and coordinate Board meetings, including supporting the CEO and Chair to set agendas, and ongoing communication with all Trustees.

  • Take and distribute Board minutes, and ensure timely follow up on any actions.

  • Organise and coordinate Trustee engagement events, e.g. social dinners and school visits

External Communications

  • Manage correspondence between CEO and external stakeholders, including categorising incoming mail, and triaging or delegating to other team members where relevant.

  • Support with social media activities to develop and maintain key relationships, and develop an external voice of The Difference.

  • Ensure a welcoming experience of The Difference for external stakeholders, both for those visiting the office, and those reaching out via email or social media.

Events management & administrative support

  • Manage CEO and Directors’ logistics, including travel arrangements, venue booking and processing expenses.

  • Staff elements of delivery: e.g. Difference Leader Twilights and Summer Training; IncludEd conference.

  • Manage the office, including ensuring meeting rooms and resources are available, and liaising between team and office staff.

Person Specification


  • Self-direction/autonomous worker  - Evidenced capacity to take high levels of ownership over your work, proactively anticipating problems that may arise, diagnosing need and changing course quickly; taking initiative within the role to ensure success.

  • Ability to take ownership over your self-development, proactively diagnosing skills and information gaps and making use of others’ expertise to continually grow your skills, and make a success of tasks at hand.

  • Strong communicator -  A clear communication style which is concise and effective - both verbally & written - as well as strong interpersonal skills.

  • Stakeholder management -  Evidence of having established, developed and managed effective relationships with a range of senior stakeholders.

  • Organisation & project management – A track record of coordinating projects to tight timelines and a high standard, communicating proactively if timelines need to shift; as well as sharp attention to detail and thorough approach to organisation and project management.

  • Agility in problem-solving – Ability to thrive in a fast-paced start-up environment, comfortable with making decisions in ambiguous contexts and rapidly diagnosing any need to reprioritise and change course; ability to think creatively/laterally and strategically to find the most effective solution.

  • Values – A career or personal experience which evidences shared values with The Difference (see above) and a personal commitment to our mission to improve life outcomes for vulnerable people.



  • Experience in start-up/charity sector - An understanding of the fast-paced nature of start-up, and/or how small charities work

  • Experience of diary management for senior colleagues.

  • Experience of coordination across broad teams - You may have worked in another role which sits across different functions within an organisation.

Application Instructions

Please read the full job pack attached and to apply, please include in your application the following.
1. A supporting letter (maximum two pages) outlining how your knowledge, skills and experience meet the requirements of the role
2. Your CV including references (maximum two pages)
3. Your salary expectations and notice period (if applicable)
4. Confirmation of right to work in the UK
5. How you found out about the role/where you saw it advertised

Applications close on Saturday, 7th August at midnight.

More about The Difference
The Difference

Our Vision

The past does not have to determine the future. The Difference is a new education charit... Read more

Refreshed on: 19 July 2021
Closed date: 07 August 2021
Tags: Admin, Governance