Position Opening: Conference and Community Manager

SPARC is seeking a manager to support the Open Education Conference, a community-led initiative that SPARC currently incubates. Part community management and part conference organizing, the position is full-time, remote, and offers excellent benefits for U.S.-based employees.



SPARC is a non-profit advocacy organization that supports systems for research and education that are open by default and equitable by design. We believe everyone should be able to access and contribute to the knowledge that shapes our world. As a catalyst for action, our pragmatic agenda focuses on driving policy change, supporting member action, and cultivating communities that advance our vision of knowledge as a public good. From the local to the global level, SPARC works to address the ways in which our knowledge systems exclude people due to racism, colonialism, and other legacies of injustice. SPARC is a project of the New Venture Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

About the Position

The conference and community manager position will support the Open Education Conference, an annual convening for sharing and learning about open educational resources, open pedagogy, and initiatives that strive to make education accessible, affordable, and equitable for all. Led by a volunteer Board of Directors and currently incubated by SPARC, the conference serves a vibrant community of educators, learners, and advocates who have convened annually for 20 years. The position is responsible for coordinating the logistics of the annual conference, working closely with the Board and community members to shape the event, in addition to supporting and engaging the community year round. The role offers opportunities for growth and fresh ideas working with a dynamic community and event.

This role will start no later than September 1, ideally sooner, with a well-supported transition of responsibilities from existing staff. Planning is on track for the 2023 Open Education Conference, which will take place as a virtual event on November 7-9, 2023 with 1,600 attendees expected. Early planning has also started for the 2024 conference, which will be an in-person/virtual hybrid event.

Position Title: Conference and Community Manager

Location:Virtual, based anywhere in North America. Candidates located in the U.S. will be considered for employment and must be U.S. work authorized. Candidates located outside the U.S. will be considered for an independent contractor position.

Hours & Schedule: 40 hours per week (average) with flexible schedule options. Extra hours will be necessary around the time of the conference, offset by a generous time off policy during the rest of the year. 2-3 overnight trips per year.

Overtime Status: Exempt

Compensation: Full time employee salary of $55,000-$65,000 USD per year, commensurate with experience and qualifications. U.S.-based employees receive a comprehensive benefits package including 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance, a 6% employer match on 401(k) contributions, and paid time off. Full details below. Highly qualified candidates with open education subject matter expertise may be considered for a higher salary range with added responsibilities.

Reports to: Director of Open Education

Availability: Candidates must be available to start by September 1, 2023, ideally sooner. This position is tied to the Open Education Conference, which will be incubated by SPARC at least until 2025.

Position Responsibilities

  • Serve as project manager for the annual Open Education Conference, including proactively driving the project plan, monitoring deadlines, coordinating processes (registration, proposal submission, sponsorships, etc.), managing vendors, and overseeing on-site logistics.
  • Serve as manager for the Open Education Conference community, including conducting outreach, building relationships, and developing programming that engages community members between conferences.
  • Provide support to the Open Education Conference’s volunteer Board of Directors and subcommittees, including organizing meetings, developing agendas, and tracking action items.
  • Coordinate conference communications, including creating a posting schedule, writing basic email/blog copy, responding to help requests, and developing logistical materials. 
  • Manage content on relevant digital platforms, including the conference website, social media, video conferencing tools, proposal review software, and conference schedule platform. 
  • Coordinate processes related to conference governance as needed, including an annual Board of Directors election, routine policy review/development, and maintenance of the conference’s strategic vision. 
  • Complete other duties as assigned in relation to supporting the Open Education Conference, its Board of Directors, and its community.
  • Contribute to SPARC’s broader Open Education programming and equity work as assigned.


The most competitive candidates will have all or most of the following qualifications:

  • 3+ years of professional experience in a role that involves project management, community engagement, event organizing, or similar work, ideally in a non-profit or educational environment.
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent level of coursework, training, or on-the-job experience. 
  • Strong interpersonal skills, especially in the areas of building relationships, facilitating conversations, and coordinating groups. 
  • Consistent track record of being able to develop and execute project plans according to a strict timeline, including managing multiple processes at once.
  • Strong written communication skills, especially the ability to write effective logistical and informational messages. 
  • Outstanding organizational skills, including attention to detail, time management, and the ability to anticipate needs.
  • Ability to problem solve and think creatively about solutions, even when under pressure.
  • Ability to take initiative and stay motivated when working independently.
  • Ability to work productively within a virtual team, including “managing up” and “managing across” to support others. 
  • Capacity to quickly and independently learn to use new software applications and tools.
  • Motivation to advocate for SPARC’s mission to make research and education open by default and equitable by design.
  • Demonstrated commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Fluent English. Other languages are a plus.

Additional optional but desirable qualifications include:

  • Open education subject matter expertise and/or ties with the Open Education Conference or broader open education community. 
  • Experience supporting or advocating for open educational resources or practices. Lived experiences related to educational equity are also recognized.
  • Hands-on experience planning and running large virtual or in person conferences, particularly in a decision-making or “bottom line” role. 
  • Expertise in marketing communications, including copywriting, email campaigns, branding, social media strategy, video/graphic content creation, and/or storytelling.
  • Experience facilitating or reporting to a board, committee, or similar body. 
  • Other valued experience includes conflict resolution, anti-racist practices, inclusive design, and other expertise related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Studies have shown that people marginalized by racism and/or sexism are less likely to apply for jobs unless they meet every listed qualification. If you are unsure if you meet the listed requirements but believe you can perform the job as described, we encourage you to apply.

How to Apply

Applications have closed.

Benefits Details 

U.S.-based employees receive a comprehensive benefits package that includes 100% employer-paid health, dental, and vision insurance for employees (and their families). Employees are able to enroll in 401k retirement plan and are eligible for a 3% automatic contribution and up to a 3% employer match on 401k contributions. Employees are also eligible for pre-tax transportation benefits. Employees will receive 80 hours of vacation time, 80 hours of health leave, up to 2 days of casual leave, and 20 hours of volunteer leave annually. Employees will also receive 13 paid holidays throughout the calendar year. Employees are eligible for 12 weeks of paid family and medical leave after 90 days of employment.

Hiring Statement

The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) is a project of New Venture Fund (NVF), a 501(c)(3) public charity that incubates new and innovative public-interest projects and grant-making programs. NVF is committed to attracting, developing and retaining exceptional people, and to creating a work environment that is dynamic, rewarding and enables each of us to realize our potential. NVF’s work environment is safe and open to all employees and partners, respecting the full spectrum of race, color, religious creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, political affiliation, ancestry, age, disability, genetic information, veteran status, and all other classifications protected by law in the locality and/or state in which you are working.

COVID-19 Policy

To center the safety and well-being of its employees, New Venture Fund requires that any employee who is required to conduct in-person activities for their job must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 within four weeks of their start date.  This position may require candidates to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.  Accommodations may be sought and approved in accordance with the law by contacting human resources at [email protected].

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