Special Assistant to the President & CEO

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West Health
June 22, 2021
San Diego, CA
Job Type
$70K - $90K DOE/neg.
Type of Pay
Contact Name
Tia Anzellotti
Contact Email


Special Assistant to the President & CEO

Location:                          La Jolla, CA
Reports To:                      President & CEO
Compensation:                 $70,000 - $90,000 DOE/neg. + 10-15% annual performance incentive

West Health is an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating a positive and inclusive work environment for all employees. As a healthcare organization, all employees are required to be fully vaccinated.

Who We Are:

Founded in 2009 by philanthropists Gary and Mary West, our mission is to lower the cost of healthcare and enable seniors to successfully age in place. Headquartered in San Diego with an office in Washington, D.C., West Health is comprised of three main entities:

West Health Institute: a 501(c)(3) medical research organization that conducts applied medical research to generate the evidence needed for healthcare providers, policymakers and communities to adopt models of care that better serve seniors and their families.

West Health Policy Center: located in Washington, D.C., our nonprofit, nonpartisan policy center develops and supports research to reduce legislative and regulatory barriers and increase reimbursement opportunities to advance acute and chronic care models and supportive services for seniors.

Gary & Mary West Foundation: our 501(c)(3) private, non-operating Foundation, established in 2006 and providing outcomes-based funding to support initiatives that lower the cost of healthcare to enable seniors to successfully age in place with access to high-quality, affordable health and support services that preserve and protect their dignity, quality of life and independence.

Led by President & CEO Shelley Lyford, our team of 55 staff come from a wide variety of backgrounds but are united in our unwavering commitment to and passion for science, philanthropy and public health. Serving as CEO since 2015, Shelley played a critical role in establishing the Gary and Mary West Foundation in 2006 and has dedicated her career to spearheading the development of innovative healthcare delivery ecosystems that serve as national care models of excellence.

Position Summary:

This is an exciting opportunity to join a prominent and well-funded public health organization working on groundbreaking initiatives to transform healthcare for decades to come. The Special Assistant to the President will be involved with almost every area of the organization in some capacity, working extremely closely with a dynamic, engaging executive. They will take on a broad range of responsibilities, serving as the primary point of contact for the CEO, both internally and externally. This is a high-volume, highly visible role, requiring the ability to work independently on projects, from conception to completion, and manage a wide variety of activities and confidential matters under tight deadlines and with the utmost discretion. It is critical that the Special Assistant be proactive in anticipating needs and addressing unforeseen developments.  They will be relied upon to professionally handle both confidential business duties and personal needs, enabling the President & CEO to be as productive, efficient, and effective as possible in leading the organization.

The Special Assistant role requires someone who brings a customer service mindset to everything they do, and is a helper by nature - someone who enjoys working behind the scenes to support their executive and make things happen. This position serves as an extension of the CEO, anticipating her needs and often standing in for her at meetings and events.

Areas of Responsibility:

  • Support a high-energy, high-profile executive who is always on, traveling 40-50% of the time.
  • Proactively research, prioritize and follow-up on incoming issues and concerns addressed to the Office of the President and CEO, including those of a sensitive or confidential nature and acting on behalf of the President and CEO to determine an appropriate course of action/response.
  • Complete a broad variety of administrative tasks for the President & CEO including:
  • Managing an active calendar of appointments
  • Completing expense reports
  • Composing correspondence
  • Travel arrangements and reservations
  • Creating itineraries and agendas
  • Coordinate conference calls and virtual meetings
  • Compiling documents
  • Maintaining meeting notes and minutes
  • Drafting acknowledgment letters
  • Personal correspondence
  • Act in the capacity of a personal assistant as needed to support the CEO, coordinating/completing projects and running errands that are highly personal in nature.
  • Accompany the CEO on travel within the San Diego region and nationally as required on occasion (typically 5-6 times per year for 2-3 days at a time).
  • Provide administrative support to West Health’s various Boards, advisors, committee members and benefactors.
  • Manage and attend meetings including scheduling, technology/audio-visual support, catering and meeting set-up/breakdown.
  • Develop and sustain relationships with a wide array of team members, partners and stakeholders, all of whom are critical to West Health’s success.
  • Handle highly sensitive and/or critical information, files, records and reports with the utmost professionalism, discretion and confidentiality.
  • Prioritize conflicting needs often with tight deadline pressures.
  • Exercise utmost discretion while handling matters expeditiously and ensuring proactive follow-through and follow-up on all projects assigned.
  • Organize special events on behalf of West Health, the President and CEO and/or our Founders.
  • Assist with the front desk coverage for lunch, breaks and vacation/sick coverage.
  • Act as Notary Public for West Health entities and associated organizations.
  • Other duties as assigned.

Current projects this role will support include:

  • Implementation of a new governance structure across multiple organizations connected under West Health.
  • State of California’s Master Plan for Aging.
  • Establishment of a new charitable trust within West Health.

Anticipated focus allocation for this position:

  • Travel, reservations, logistics and expense reports 25%
  • Personal support for the CEO and Founders 25%
  • Calendar management, coordinating and scheduling 20%
  • General administrative support and communications 15%
  • Board support and other projects 15%

Qualities & Attributes:

  • Professional: exceptionally polished and presentable, with impeccable communication skills across all mediums (in-person, phone, email and virtual); demonstrates judgment, tact, and diplomacy in dealing with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Organized: incredible attention to detail, with the ability to manage several projects simultaneously; someone who naturally checks and rechecks their own work.
  • Flexibility: available to support the CEO as needed outside of regular working hours to manage short-notice projects, accommodate travel and cover special events, especially during extensive CEO travel across time zones; enthusiastically accepts other duties as assigned.
  • Responsive: highly accessible and completes tasks quickly and efficiently.
  • Discrete: exercises utmost discretion and uses independent judgment while managing a wide variety of special projects delegated by the President & CEO; ability to handle confidential information.
  • Communication: has an eye for detail and design, with strong editing and proofreading skills for correspondence on behalf of the CEO, board members and other executives.
  • Hands-on: someone who enjoys being on the front line and making things happen.
  • Proactive: constantly looking ahead, anticipating potential changes in scheduling, logistics and travel arrangements and proposing new solutions and alternatives.
  • Positive: maintains an upbeat attitude, even under pressure; reflects positive energy, optimism, enthusiasm and creativity.
  • Charismatic: warm and friendly with the ability to quickly build relationships, yet maintain appropriate and clear boundaries between personal and professional dynamics.
  • Confident: brings a “can-do” attitude, remaining calm and focused under pressure, self-assured in their skills and abilities.
  • Strategic: ability to see across the entire network of organizations associated with West Health, with an appreciation for the interconnectedness of all the various partners and functional areas.
  • Loyal: incredibly reliable and enjoys working in a highly collegial environment; demonstrates a firm commitment to their executive and the organization’s mission.
  • Tech-savvy: skilled user across all the standard business software platforms, including MS Office, internet, iPhone and comfortable operating audio/video equipment for meetings, webinars, conferences and presentations. Capable of assisting with level 1 technology support and troubleshooting.
  • Growth Mindset: ability to be creative and apply solutions-based thinking to challenges and opportunities; applies a continuous improvement lens to everything they do.
  • Collaborative: ability to build professional relationships and work effectively with family members, physicians, employees, patients, key stakeholders, and grantees at all times.
  • Self-actualized: ability to work with minimal supervision, someone who enjoys “figuring it out”.
  • Ethical: possess the highest ethical standards; ability to exercise discretion, professionalism, and uncompromising integrity.


  • Bachelor’s degree
  • Minimum of 3 years experience providing close direct support to a dynamic CEO, high-level elected official or C-level executive of a large, complex organization.
  • Prior experience working with contracts and agreements and/or training as a paralegal or legal administrator would be very helpful.
  • Familiarity with philanthropic and nonprofit organizations would be very helpful.

For more information or to apply, please contact:

Blair Search Partners

1855 First Ave., Suite 300, San Diego, CA 92101

Sarah Thompson, Director


Tia Anzellotti, Director





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