Executive Secretary and Chief Executive Officer Search: Position Description

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The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation was established by Public Law 93-642 (January 4, 1975) as the sole Federal memorial to the 33rd President.


The Truman Foundation was President Truman’s idea, and it was created by a bipartisan vote of Congress soon after he died. President Truman did not want a bricks and mortar monument. Instead, he encouraged a living memorial that would give life to the values of public service that had animated his career. In that spirit, the Truman Foundation is a place that nurtures and supports future generations who answer the call to public service leadership. The hallmark of the Foundation’s work is the Truman Scholarship, the premier graduate fellowship in the United States for those pursuing careers as public service leaders. Supported by a trust fund held in the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Foundation operates a permanent education scholarship program designed to provide opportunities for outstanding American college students to prepare for careers in public service.

Under the direction of its President and a 13-member Board of Trustees [eight persons appointed by the President, two Senators, two Members of the House of Representatives, and the U.S. Secretary of Education (ex-officio)], the Foundation:

  • Conducts a nationwide annual search for college students having junior-level academic standing with leadership potential, commitment to careers in public service and a desire to attend graduate school. The Foundation selects 55-75 students annually as Truman Scholars.
  • Invites the annual participation of all U.S. universities, two and four-year colleges, and the service academies in the nomination of students seeking a career in public service and requests that the President/Chancellor of each institution to appoint a member of the faculty or staff to serve as the Truman Scholarship Faculty Representative.
  • Maintains a website that provides faculty representatives and interested students with appropriate forms, instructions, and guidance to submit applications and other materials as specified to be received by the Foundation in early February.
  • Conducts a two-stage selection process that involves convening in February a committee reviewing all eligible applications and selecting Truman Finalists for interviews and then convening in March and April sixteen regional panels interviewing the Finalists and recommending to the Board the selection of 55-75 as Truman Scholars.
  • Provides scholarship payments in a timely and accurate manner.
  • Operates programs to help Truman Scholars prepare for careers in public service. These include: Truman Scholars Leadership Week [orientation program for new Truman Scholars, held at William Jewell College]; Washington Truman Summer Institute [9-week program of internships with federal agencies or non-profit groups and formal presentations]; Truman Albright Fellows Program [program to provide jobs and graduate education for 20-30 Truman Scholars for the year following their graduation from college]; Truman Governance Fellows [for Truman Scholars interested in Executive Branch Service]; and, Truman Democracy Fellows [for Truman Scholars interested in Elected Office].
  • Provides general assistance and mentoring to the community of Truman Scholars and alumni in the form of job placement assistance, graduate school counseling, and guidance on careers in public service.
  • Initiates contact with graduate school programs of interest to Truman Scholars in an effort to secure additional opportunities and increased financial assistance for Truman Scholars.
  • Develops relationships with other federal agencies in an effort to secure entry-level placements for Truman Scholars.
  • Conducts other administrative functions such as preparing the Annual Report of the Foundation for the President and the Congress, preserving compliance with government regulations, answering correspondence, preparing budgets, personnel performance reviews, collating Scholar statistics, maintaining contact with Scholars, and their colleges.
  • Explores funding opportunities to supplement and increase Foundation funding and directs Foundation investment strategy.
  • Conducts or executes other functions as the Board of Trustees may direct.


The Executive Secretary is the chief executive officer of the Foundation and responsible to the President or Chairperson and through her to the Board. The Executive Secretary:

  • Serves as the Foundation’s principal contact with the Legislative and Executive branches of the federal government on all matters involving budget, appropriations, and legislative matters affecting the Foundation.
  • Directs all Foundation private fundraising, development and communications efforts, and does this in partnership with Friends of the Truman Foundation and the Truman Council.
  • Maintains a one-on-one relationship with approximately 350 Truman Scholars who are either in school or have deferred graduate school. All Scholars receiving funds or deferring funding support are required to submit an annual report of approximately 3 pages in length read by the Executive Secretary. Scholars also must submit thoroughly researched Graduate School Proposals prior to requesting funding for graduate school. The Executive Secretary must determine whether the graduate school request fits within Foundation guidelines and must respond to the Scholar accordingly.  The Executive Secretary also maintains communications through visits with the Scholars at the Foundation office or on campuses, e-mail, and phone conversations.
  • Directs all Washington, DC-based leadership and professional development programs of the Foundation, including Summer Institute, Truman-Albright Fellows, Governance Fellows and Democracy Fellows. Assigns to the staff the tasks and resources necessary to complete these programs successfully.
  • Directs all Foundation alumni relations with particular emphasis on leading, planning, oversight and evaluation of joint efforts with the Truman Scholars Association.
  • Visits graduate schools and professional schools to encourage their recruitment of Truman Scholars and their giving priority in their admissions and financial aid processes to Truman Scholars.
  • Initiates contact with federal agencies, foundations, and nonprofit organizations in an effort to increase awareness of the program and opportunities for Truman Scholars.
  • Reviews and approves all Truman Scholar payment requests and relevant paperwork. Ensures Scholars are compliant with Foundation and federal guidelines regarding use of funds. 
  • Enforces relevant Foundation rules and regulations and settles controversies that may arise either from members of the public, scholars, faculty representatives or other constituencies.
  • Oversees the Deputy Executive Secretary in the process for the selection of Truman Scholars. The Deputy Executive Secretary is responsible for: Setting up and monitoring the performance of the 16 regionally-based Truman selection panels [100 members including federal judges, university presidents, and former Truman Scholars] and the Truman Scholarship Finalists Selection Committee [19 members] to assure that they adhere to appropriate criteria for a merit-based scholarship looking for public sector change agents or others that will maintain high quality public services.
  • Provides oversight and guidance to the Foundation’s Deputy Executive Secretary who is responsible for directing the Foundation’s programs and administering the daily operations of the Foundation.

Other activities that are less time consuming but still important include:

  • Reviews all projects for accurate and timely compliance.
  • Provides personnel counseling and performance rating.
  • Oversees and reports to the Board of Trustees through the President the expenditure of all funds for operational purposes.
  • Makes policy recommendations and program proposals to the President for review by the Board of Trustees.
  • Formulates other reports, statistics, recommendations and follow-up procedures as the President or Board may direct.


The Executive Secretary reports to the Board of Trustees, through the President or Chairperson, who provides policy guidance.  Work is reviewed by the President or the Chairperson for the accomplishment of Foundation objectives within the policies established by the Board of Trustees under P.L. 93-642 that provides that Foundation policies are formulated by the Board of Trustees, with implementation the responsibility of the Executive Secretary.


Applicants must have demonstrated progressively more responsible administrative, supervisory, managerial and/or professional experience, and they must be able to demonstrate an understanding of the long-term goals and daily functioning of the Truman Foundation.  Applicant experience must have been sufficiently responsible to show clearly the candidate’s ability to perform the duties of this position and meet the mandatory qualifications listed below.

Since the Truman Foundation awards graduate scholarships, the minimum educational requirement for this position is a graduate degree.  In addition, applicants must clearly demonstrate in their application materials that they possess executive attributes in the five SES Executive Core Qualification areas:

  1. Leading Change
  2. Leading People
  3. Results Driven
  4. Business Acumen
  5. Building Coalitions/Communication

Applicants should address these ECQs both as they are defined in OPM’s SES Qualifications Guide and as they relate to the work of the Truman Foundation defined below.

Leading Change

Candidates should have the ability to develop and implement an organizational vision, which integrates key national and program goals, priorities, values, and other factors.  Candidates should have the ability to balance change and continuity, to continually strive to improve service to the public and program performance within the framework of the Foundation, to create a work environment that encourages creative thinking, and to maintain focus, intensity and persistence, even under adversity.

The Foundation is seeking a candidate who can serve as the Foundation’s principal contact with the Legislative and Executive branches of the federal government on all matters involving budget, appropriations, and legislative matters affecting the Foundation.  The ideal candidate will have contacts or demonstrated ability to develop contacts with members of Congress and congressional staff.  The ideal candidate will also have a demonstrated understanding of the appropriations process including a minimum of five years of significant experience in governmental relations.

The Foundation is also looking for a candidate who can lead the Foundation’s private development efforts, including fundraising and communications. The ideal candidate will have experience with alumni cultivation, community-building, event-planning, individual and foundation fundraising, and strategic communications.

The Foundation seeks a candidate who can direct the development of the Washington, DC-based Truman program: Summer Institute, Truman-Albright Fellows, Governance Fellows, and Democracy Fellows.] The ideal candidate will have contacts or demonstrated ability to develop contacts leading to the hiring by federal agencies of Scholars as well as understanding of the Federal Government’s personnel and hiring system.  The ideal candidate will have five years federal service, or its equivalent.

The ideal candidate will also be able to administer and enforce the Foundation’s Accountability Policy that requires a service commitment from recently selected Scholars.  The ideal candidate should have demonstrated ability to administer a policy in a manner that is even-handed but still flexible enough to accommodate special circumstances.

Leading People

Candidates should have the ability to design and implement strategies that maximize employee and Scholar potential and foster high ethical standards in meeting the organization’s vision, mission, and goals.

The Foundation is seeking a candidate who has the ability to relate to and inspire Truman Scholars as a public servant role model.  A level of credibility with Scholars is critical for the success of the Executive Secretary.  The ideal candidate would have at least 10 years of employment in public service as defined by the Truman Scholarship Foundation.

The ideal candidate would have five or more years of experience working with the Foundation.  Experience can come from:  serving on selection committees, helping the Foundation staff put on the Truman Scholars Leadership Week or the Washington Summer Institute, advising Truman Scholars about career choices and graduate study, or being an active Truman Faculty representative.

The ideal candidate is willing to develop and maintain one-on-one relationships with the Truman Scholar community.  This includes providing support and encouragement as well as enforcing Foundation policies.  Successful candidates will articulate a clear strategy for developing and relating to the Scholar community.

The ideal candidate will be able to direct all Foundation development efforts and alumni relations, including work with Friends of the Truman Foundation, the Truman Council, and the Truman Scholars Association.  This includes private fundraising and planning and oversight of alumni activities as well as evaluation of existing programs.

Also, the ideal candidate will be able to effectively lead and function in the unusual work environment of the Truman Foundation.  The Foundation is a staff of five that works in extremely close quarters.  The position of the Executive Secretary is without administrative support and requires the candidate to maintain his or her own schedule, contracts, and administrative activities.  The ideal candidate would have a demonstrated ability to work in such an environment.

Results Driven

Candidates should stress accountability and continuous improvement.  Candidates should have the ability to make timely and effective decisions and produce results through strategic planning and the implementation and evaluation of programs and policies.

The ideal candidate would have a clear vision for his or her tenure as Executive Secretary.  Such a vision would include detailed plans for executing Foundation goals already in place was well as new initiatives of the candidate’s design. 

The ideal candidate will assess and evaluate Foundation programming and public and private development strategies and suggest changes where needed.  The ideal candidate will be comfortable working within the confines of existing programs and spearheading development efforts.

Business Acumen

Candidates should have the ability to acquire and administer human, financial, material, and information resources in a manner that instills public trust and accomplishes the organization’s mission, and the ability to use new technology to enhance decision making.

The ideal candidate will take the lead on fund raising opportunities on behalf of the Foundation.  The ideal candidate will also be able to develop a comprehensive strategy for Foundation investments.

The ideal candidate will be required to evaluate and process relevant vendor and Scholar requests.  This includes ensuring that all federal and Foundation regulations are met with each request.

Building Coalitions/Communication

Candidates should have the ability to explain, advocate, and express facts and ideas in a convincing manner and to negotiate with individuals and groups internally and externally.  Candidates should also be able to develop an expansive professional network with other organizations and to identify the internal and external politics that impact the work of the organization.

The ideal candidate will also have the ability to develop relationships with graduate schools in an effort to increase opportunities for Truman Scholars.

The ideal candidate will be able to deal effectively with the media, other government agencies, and other publics interested in the Truman Foundation.


  • Veteran preference does not apply for SES positions.
  • Selectee will be subject to completion of a background investigation.
  • Selectee will also be required to complete and file an Executive Personnel Financial Disclosure Report in accordance with the Ethics in Government Act of 1978.
  • Male applicants born after December 31, 1959, must confirm their Selective Service registration status. Certification forms are available at most Federal personnel offices or from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
  • The Immigration Report and Control Act of 1986 requires employers to hire only individuals who are eligible to work in the U.S. The selectee will be required to complete Form I-9, Employment Verification, and provide acceptable proof of employment authorization and identity.
  • The use of postage paid government envelopes to file job applications is a violation of Federal law and regulation. Applications received in such envelopes will be discarded.
  • Supplemental application materials may be requested.


Completed applications will have the following:

  • A Resume or CV
  • A detailed Cover Letter or Qualifications Brief describing your experience as it relates to this position and as it relates to each of the requirements listed above.

Questions about the position or application requirements should be directed to Tara Yglesias, Deputy Executive Secretary, at 202.395.7434 or tyglesias@truman.gov.

Applications must be received by no later than Friday, March 8, 2019. Applications will be reviewed by a Board Search Committee in late March, and finalists for the position will be interviewed in Washington, DC on April 24, 2019.  

Completed applications should be emailed to Tara Yglesias at tyglesias@truman.gov.


All qualified applicants will be considered regardless of age, race, color, sex, creed, national origin, lawful political affiliation, non-disqualifying handicap, marital status, sexual orientation, affiliation with an employee organization, or other non-merit factor.  The Foundation provides reasonable accommodations to applicants with disabilities where appropriate.  If you need a reasonable accommodation for any part of the application and hiring process, please notify Tara Yglesias at tyglesias@truman.gov.  Determinations on requests for reasonable accommodations will be made on a case-by-case basis.