Chief External Relations Officer

Organization: Minnesota Zoological Gardens (AZA Member)
Location: Apple Valley, Minnesota, United States
Job or Internship: Job

As a member of the Senior Management Team, reporting to the CEO/Director of the Minnesota Zoo, the Chief External Relations Officer is responsible for:

Integrating and coordinating all activities related to the Zoo’s external audiences – including government, Zoo members, Zoo visitors, schools academia, media and community organizations.

Develop and implement strategies to increase attendance, membership and overall revenues.

Transform the Zoo into a leading wildlife conservation organization that has tangible positive

conservation outcomes.

Provide leadership and direction on all government relations issues.

Develop and foster outside relationships with strategic partners, stakeholders and constituent groups.

Provide leadership and management in the development, implementation and evaluation of all education programs.

Provide leadership to the Volunteer Program and interpretive graphics functions.

Develop and maintain positive interpersonal relationships with staff and volunteers as well as modeling for others the ways and means to achieve positive relationships to reduce conflicts and support management initiatives. Create and maintain an extraordinary guest experience so that guest satisfaction becomes guest loyalty, gaps between what guests want and are experiencing are identified and zoo attendance and support continues to grow.

The incumbent in this position will be working extensively with the Director, Deputy Director, Division Managers, supervisors and Zoo staff. In addition, the individual will work directly with Trustees serving on the Minnesota Zoo Coalition and Chairs of the Education Committee At-Large. Establishing relationships with all Zoo stakeholders is critical to developing greater visibility for the Zoo and positioning the Zoo as the leader in environmental education and conservation. This includes all media, state legislators and staff in the Minnesota Department of Management and Budget.

The Chief External Relations Officer serves as a member of the Executive Team, thus participating in decision making, strategic planning, policy development and implementation and issue resolution.


Demonstrated leadership in the overall strategic planning and management for a diverse organization.

Must have performed successfully as a change agent in a dynamic organization.

Must possess proven strategic relationship-building skills with internal organizational clients, strategic partners, stakeholders and constituent groups.

Must have extensive management experience in at least one of the following: Marketing/Sales, Education and/or Governmental Relations.

Ability to lead a large, diverse division of an organization.


Master's Degree in a related field.

Experience in an organization which includes a Board of Directors and/or a Foundation Board.


Please submit cover letter and resume outlining experience as it applies to the requirements of the position. Please send all documents to

If you have questions regarding the position please feel free to email at or