SVP Zoological Operations and Conservation
Company: Chicago Zoological Society
Posted on: November 20, 2023
SVP Zoological Operations and Conservation
Regular Full Time
Job Function and Responsibilities
The Senior Vice President, Zoological Operations and Conservation
contributes to the success of the Chicago Zoological Society by
leading programs and driving innovations to advance animal care,
conservation, education, research, and community outreach, as well
as public-facing animal programming that supports the Society's
mission to foster and lead conservation efforts regionally,
nationally, and around the world. Serves as the Executive Leader
for Animal Care & Programs (ACP) and Education & Community
Engagement (ECE) Groups.
The primary duties and responsibilities include:
- Serve as a member of the Executive Team and participate in
organizational planning and decision-making. Assist in establishing
institutional goals and long-term direction, assuring coordination,
integration, alignment, and implementation of institutional
decisions, communications, and appropriate allocation of resources.
Participates in development of strategic and Master Planning
efforts, contributing expertise on zoological collection planning
and management, conservation programming, education, and community
- Develop and maintain positive and engaged teams through
excellent leadership and management skills. Provide a visible,
professional presence that encourages collaboration across
departments. Create synergies amongst animal, education, and
community teams to advance conservation goals. Encourage and guide
the professional development of staff. Embrace and advance CZS
values focused on people, results, innovations, diversity, and
- Lead the Animal Care & Programs (ACP) Group. Work with the
V.P., ACP, ACP Directors, and others to establish, implement, and
maintain highest quality programs and standards for animal care.
Oversee the zoological operations, including animal husbandry,
habitat management, animal behavior monitoring, public-facing
animal programs, animal training, and guest interactions. Provide
leadership for animal collection planning and decisions. Partner
closely with the Senior V.P., Animal Health & Welfare (AHW) to
assure departments are well integrated into activities related to
welfare assessment, nutrition, environmental monitoring, and
veterinary care. Ensure public and non-public facing animal
facilities and programs represent the highest level of professional
appearance. Responsible for compliance with all regulations and
requirements related to animal management and care. Ensure
appropriate animal care records and compliance with population
- Lead the Education & Community Engagement (ECE) Group. Ensure
the execution of a comprehensive and integrated department plan.
Develop short and long-range plans to further CZS strategic
objectives to develop conservation ethos and scientific knowledge
in guests and program participants. Contribute to CZS diversity and
inclusion goals by working to establish CZS as a national leader in
access and inclusion under "A Zoo for All," working in partnership
with DEAI Steering Committee to meet institution-wide goals related
to diversity, inclusion and access. Oversee the development of
nationally recognized learning strategies and program evaluation,
ensuring CZS program quality and effectiveness through integration
of evaluation standards and learning strategies that quantitatively
and qualitatively measure impact. Lead a high-functioning team and
oversee youth education programs, Zoo Camp, STEM programs, teacher
training, advanced inquiry Master's degree program, community
programs, outreach programs, and interpretative programs, among
- Accountable for the development and administration of annual
operating plans and budgets for assigned areas. Reviews and
approves purchase orders and contracts for assigned area. Establish
appropriate budget priorities to achieve goals. Set a tone of
fiscal responsibility and prioritization of resources.
- Develop, implement, and lead CZS conservation initiatives,
working closely with the SVP,AHW. Ensure programs are aligned with
the CZS mission and strategic goals. Cultivate enthusiasm amongst
staff, Board members, and other stakeholders for key initiatives.
Integrate CZS programs with ex situ conservation programs. Work
closely with the President/CEO to oversee the CZS Animal Care and
Conservation Fund and grants from the Chicago Board of Trade
Endangered Species Fund.
- Work closely with the President/CEO, CFAO, SVP Development, and
other leadership to establish priorities, strategies, goals, and
budget. Seek and secure grant, philanthropic, and government
funding for program activities and needs. Assist with donor
cultivation and provides feedback. Staff Board committees and
organization functions as requested.
- Represent and promote CZS/Brookfield Zoo and its interests
externally at all levels (community, local, national and
international) with public and professional audiences. Liaise with
other zoos/aquariums, cultural institutions, conservation
organizations, academic institutions, professional organizations,
and government and non-government organizations. Represent
CZS/Brookfield and actively engage in programming, committees, and
leadership within the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and other
professional organizations. Serve as a public face for the
organization with media as requested. Represents CZS/Brookfield
Zoo's positions and interests in conservation, education, animal
programs, and other matters in a well-informed, positive, and
- Responsible for overall staffing and performance for assigned
Groups. Assume other duties and responsibilities to assure
successful achievement of CZS goals and objectives.
Position Requirements and Specifications
- Minimum Bachelors' Degree or equivalent. This requirement can
be satisfied by 10 years of relevant experience in a
senior/executive management position.
- Minimum 10 years directly relevant, comparable senior-level or
executive leadership experience, including experience managing
multiple departments, staff, budgets, and functions. Must possess
relevant experience in animal care, conservation and
- Strong communication, verbal, written, and listening skills.
Strong presentation and platform skills. Strong interpersonal
skills; able to establish and maintain strong, positive
relationships. Ability to work collaboratively as a contributing
member of multidisciplinary teams. Ability to inspire staff and
lead with an engaging and positive attitude.
- Successful track record of generating revenue and program
support through grants and other means. Experience developing
revenue models to evaluate program viability and
- Proactive, persistent, helpful and strategic in
- Results-oriented, confident, and have strong organizational
- Ability to work with opposing constituencies, operate as a
facilitator, and a reconciler of interests.
- Effective leader, manager, coach and facilitator with strong
commitment to developing human capital.
- Strong character and ethics; fair, objective, and able to
withstand criticism and overcome adversity and challenges.
- Must be passionate about his/her work and have a commitment to
excellence and continuous improvement. Must possess a tremendous
work ethic and be self-motivated, passionate, and dedicated to
- Ability to handle multiple projects and priorities
simultaneously and work within a fast-paced and evolving
environment. Ability to multi-task at a very high level,
prioritizing multiple demands for time, attention, and focus.
- Ability to maintain the confidentiality of privileged
- Cultural competency; experience and/or ability to work and
interact effectively with a diverse, multicultural audience.
- Computer proficient, including use of Microsoft Office,
Microsoft 365, and ZIMS.
- English fluency - ability to read, write, speak, and comprehend
at an advanced level required.
- A valid driver's license is required on date of hire.
- Advanced degree (M.S., Ph.D., D.V.M., and/or M.B.A.) in a field
related to zoological management, animal care, animal health or
welfare, animal behavior, education, communication, and/or
conservation science, or other directly relevant field or
equivalent combination of training and/or experience required.
- Relevant executive experience in a zoo, aquarium, conservation
focused non-profit, cultural, and/or academic institution strongly
- Experience creating or leading international ex situ
- Experience with habitat and animal facility design, including
exhibit development, guest experience, theming, and educational
- Multilingual ability, Spanish fluency a plus.
This position description summarizes the primary duties and
functions of this position, but should not be considered a complete
listing of every duty the incumbent may ever be called upon to
perform. This is a senior executive position that requires an
experienced, dedicated career professional who is committed to the
continual development of comprehensive, balanced programs in animal
care, animal programs, conservation, education, and external
affairs for a world-class institution. Incumbent will be required
to gain an intimate understanding of the organization, its mission,
vision, values, and operating philosophies, and how the Group's
activities impact the institution, the zoo, other Groups and
Departments, and its programs, offerings, and success. Requires an
individual who is visionary, highly professional, both in
appearance and demeanor, and who can effectively represent the
organization and its interests to various audiences and
constituencies. Evenings and weekends are sometimes required.
Individual will be expected to be present and visible at many
events sponsored by the institution. Must be able to travel as
needed to meet job requirements, extend and expand the Society's
reach, and promote the Society's interests. Thus, individual must
be prepared to make a significant commitment to the
The Chicago Zoological Society is an Equal Opportunity
Evenings and weekends are sometimes required. Individual will be
expected to be present and visible at many events sponsored by the
institution. Must be able to travel as needed to meet job
requirements, extend and expand the Society's reach, and promote
the Society's interests.
Chicago Zoological Society-Brookfield Zoo
Animal Care and Programs
Keywords: Chicago Zoological Society, Chicago , SVP Zoological Operations and Conservation, Other , Brookfield, Illinois
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