Executive Director(18)

Organization: Roger Williams Park Zoo/ RI Zoological Society (AZA Member)
Location: Providence, RI, United States
Job or Internship: Job

Roger Williams Park Zoo of Providence, Rhode Island, -one of the nation’s oldest zoos and exhibiting over 100 animal species, is currently recruiting for an Executive Director. The Executive Director is the Chief Executive Officer of the Rhode Island Zoological Society (RIZS) and Roger Williams Park Zoo (RWPZ). In this capacity, the Executive Director is responsible for directing the overall management and operations of RIZS/RWPZ and protecting the organization’s financial assets, while ensuring compliance with board directives and applicable grantor, federal, state, city and Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) requirements.

Roger Williams Park Zoo is owned by the City of Providence and managed, under terms of a lease and operating agreement, by the Rhode Island Zoological Society. The Society is overseen by a Board of Trustees, consisting of community leaders and Zoo ambassadors/advocates, which currently numbers approximately 30. The City’s Superintendent of Parks serves as an ex-officio voting member of the Board, as does the Zoo/Society Executive Director.

In 2012, the Zoo welcomed more than 617,000 visitors, drawing principally from the states of Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut. Included in this attendance count, was a record breaking 110,000 visitors to the Zoo’s nationally recognized Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular, a month-long event featuring more than 5,000 pumpkins with hundreds intricately carved into unique works of art.

Over the course of the past six years, the Zoo completed a major master plan initiative that included major upgrades to its African exhibits (including elephants), a new veterinary hospital and quarantine facility, and a new children’s interactive nature play and exploration area named Hasbro’s Our Big Backyard. Other new animal exhibits, opened during the 6-year master plan process, included giant anteaters, red panda, Chinese alligators, takin, king vultures and red river hogs. More than $27 million was raised and invested to support the master plan during this time.

The incoming Executive Director will also be responsible for developing both a new master plan and new strategic plan for the Zoo/Society that will address, in part, the need to complete a second phase to the Hasbro’s Our Big Backyard exhibit, renovate an older Tropical America exhibit building, and ensure that the Zoo’s elephant management program and facilities meet the new AZA guidelines for elephant management. The Zoo currently manages its three African elephants in free contact. The Zoo will be up for AZA accreditation again in 2016.

Roger Williams Park Zoo enjoys a local and national reputation for being an AZA leader in conservation and environmental education programming, and has won numerous AZA awards over the years.

We currently lead groundbreaking conservation work with several local endangered species including American burying beetles, Karner blue butterflies, Eastern cottontails and timber rattlesnakes and provides significant funding to a strong portfolio of international and national conservation projects. Through programming such as Zoo Camp, Frog Watch, Americorp, Teacher Training Institutes, the Our Big Backyard nature play and exploration offerings and more, and acting as a leader in federal and state level “No Child Left Inside” initiatives, Roger Williams Park Zoo is widely considered the state’s leading environmental education resource for teachers, parents and children.

We are seeking a candidate with a minimum of ten years of increasingly responsible administrative experience with the day-to-day operations of a zoo, aquarium, or major non-profit organization; at least five of which shall have been in a supervisory capacity. Demonstrated fundraising experience, including experience working on a capital campaign or other large-scale fundraising effort and in cultivating a positive environment for major donors is required, particularly in leading or significantly participating in both the strategic planning and master planning processes. Experience working effectively with a unionized workforce and completion of an advanced degree in a related field at an accredited college or university are preferred.

If you are interested in this exciting opportunity to be Executive Director of a well-renowned Zoo in the New England area, located in one of the most exciting and diverse cities on the east coast, send a cover letter, resume, and salary requirements by February 22, 2013 to:



Roger Williams Park Zoo

1000 Elmwood Avenue

Providence, RI 02907

ATTN: Executive Director Search Committee