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Special Programs Manager

This job is no longer available

Portland, OR, USA

The Special Programs Manager is responsible for planning and implementing various special programming activities at Portland Japanese Garden (PJG), both in-person and virtual. This position is great for someone who has had a broad range of program and event management experience and has an interest in broadening the scope of PJG’s programs at the new Japan Institute ("The Institute") to be launched in 2022. This position will chiefly work from the primary Garden campus, located at 611 SW Kingston Avenue.

The Special Programs Manager reports to the Director of Cultural Programs.


COVID-19 Vaccination Policy: For the safety of our staff, volunteers, and guests, Portland Japanese Garden is requiring all staff and volunteers to be vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus. Candidates must be fully vaccinated by their hire date. ‘Fully vaccinated’ means 2 shots of either the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or 1 shot of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine – plus 2 weeks after the final shot.

Areas of Responsibility: 

Primary Duties 

  • With oversight from the Curator of CAE and the Director of Cultural Programs, plan, coordinate, and implement special programming activities at PJG, both in-person and virtual. They include, but are not limited to, public forums (including webinars), symposia, lectures, performances, as well as culinary programs and tasting events for members of PJG's corporate partners.
  • Serve as the primary staff person during in-person and virtual special programs.
  • In doing the above, work closely with local, national, and international cultural organizations, governments, experts, and practitioners in addition to local community of collaborators.
  • Maintain ongoing, clear communications with such supporting individuals and organizations for project coordination and the general upkeep of prime relationships with all collaborators.
  • Assist the Curator of CAE and the Director of Cultural Programs in planning and instituting the programmatic direction of the Japan Institute, to ensure maximum synergy across the three centers of the Institute.
  • Work cooperatively with staff in other departments, including the Operations/Events Department, Garden Department, Marketing, Development, and Executive Office for optimal internal coordination.
  • Work with the Director of Cultural Programs to create and manage annual Special Programs budget.
  • Keep the database of PJG's institutional partners updated.
  • Provide joint supervision of the CAE Assistant(s) with the Cultural Programs Manager.
  • Other duties as assigned.


Other Responsibilities  

  • Communicate with partners, staff, and other community partners in a friendly and professional manner
  • Continue learning about Japanese culture and art
  • Familiarize oneself with the organization and the Employee Handbook
  • Get to know fellow staff members, developing trust, establishing credibility, encouraging teamwork, and creating an atmosphere of open, honest, two-way communication 
  • Serve as a role model for Garden volunteers, providing support and encouragement to volunteers in their roles across the Garden
  • Maintain a high level of professionalism in manner and appearance
  • Adhere to Garden Dress Code (business casual)


Studies have shown that women and people of color are less likely to apply for jobs unless they believe they meet every one of the qualifications as described in a job description. We are most interested in finding the best candidate for the position, and that candidate may be one who comes from a less traditional background. If you are interested in applying, we encourage you to think broadly about your background and qualifications for this role.

  • Bachelor's degree required, or equivalent experience
  • At least three years of experience in program development and management, or equivalent combination of different experiences including online and hybrid programming. Some experience in Japan-related programs is a plus.
  • Proficiency in Japanese language not required, but preferred
  • Strong communication abilities – clear writing and articulate speaking ability. Public speaking experience preferred.
  • Ability to use proper modes of communication depending on situations and people (cultural partners, colleagues, members, visitors, etc.)
  • Ability to work under pressure, and/or with frequent interruptions
  • Ability to meet multiple demands and priorities
  • Ability to adapt to ever-changing organizational and social environment
  • Ability to operate well in a fast-paced environment
  • Ability to handle unexpected situations calmly and flexibly
  • Detail-oriented and organized
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Office (e.g., Outlook, Word, Excel and PowerPoint)


Special Requirements

  • Must be able to periodically work evenings and weekends, especially during the months of May-September
  • Must be able to work effectively in an open office environment
  • Must be able to work outdoors in all types of weather conditions (for events)
  • Must be able to remain in a stationary position for several hours
  • Must be able to lift 25 lbs on occasion (for events set-up, etc.)
  • Wage: $47,500 - $50,000/year (DOE)
  • This is a full-time, benefitted, salaried position with approximately 40-45 hours per week.
  • Shifts are typically 8 hours (plus ½ hour lunch), Monday- Friday.
  • Benefits:
    • health, dental, and vision insurance (premium 100% covered for employees)
    • 401k plan (after 90 days, with 4% employer match after 1 year)
    • flexible spending accounts for medical and dependent care expenses
    • paid vacation, sick, and holiday time
    • free access to the Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
How to Apply: 

To apply, please submit a resume, cover letter, and three work-related references through our online Career Center ( Incomplete applications will not be considered. Please no phone calls or hand delivered applications. Applications accepted until the position is filled.

Additional Information: 

Portland Japanese Garden is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees. We recruit, employ, train, compensate, and promote without regard to race, color, national origin, creed, religion, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, parental status, disability, age, veteran status, or any other status protected by law.

Organization Info

Portland Japanese Garden

Portland, OR, USA
51-200 employees
About Us

Our mission is to bring the ideals of Portland Japanese Garden to the world: art of craft, connection to nature, experience of peace.

Why Work For Us?: 

The Portland Japanese Garden is renowned as the most authentic and finest Japanese garden outside of Japan. The Garden typically has a year-round staff of 85+ FTE’s and 30+ seasonal staff, supplemented by over 200 volunteers. All of our staff play a vital role in helping our visitors experience the beauty and tranquility of the garden and expand their understanding of Japanese culture. 

A few of the benefits our employees enjoy include:

  • Working at a beautiful, authentic Japanese garden, overlooking the city
  • Incentives for alternative transportation for your commute to work
  • A workplace culture that prioritizes hiring and promoting from within
  • Access to the Garden for you, your family, and your friends
  • The opportunity to attend a variety of cultural events
  • Reciprocal access to other area attractions, such as the Lan Su Chinese Garden, Portland Art Museum, and the Oregon Zoo
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Listing Stats

Post Date: 
Oct 15 2021
Active Until: 
Nov 15 2021
Hiring Organization: 
Portland Japanese Garden