Location: MADISON, WI, United States
Job or Internship: Job

Our Vision: Preservation of the Species on Earth

Our Mission: Mobilize and deliver resources to enable a best-in-class experience for animals and visitors

Guiding Values:

• Integrity and accountability provide a stewardship of the Henry Vilas Zoo for our donors and the community

• Open communication and collaboration with our partners will support honest dialogues that produce healthy relationships

• Commitment to conservation and sustainability to preserve and protect a diversity of species and habitats

• Sustain a free zoo that provides affordable recreation to the public

• We believe an education of the living natural world will inspire personal responsibility for conserving the environment

• We value the legacy and heritage of the Henry Vilas Zoo

• We support a connection with our diverse community


• Improve on-site animal care facilities

• Upgrade visitor services and visitor experience

• Build a best in class arctic exhibit

• Support ongoing AZA accreditation

• Targeted fundraising activities

• Enhance our community connections

• Update the long range master plan for the Zoo


The Madison Zoological and Aquarium Society was organized in 1914, shortly after the zoo was founded. In 1926, the Society was reorganized as the Henry Vilas Park Zoological Society, which continues today. In 1964, the society was incorporated as a non-profit corporation. The society's purpose is to build community support and provide funding for zoo improvements. This includes the acquisition, conservation, and replacement of animals; refurbishing and creating new exhibits; supporting educational programs; and improving the overall educational and recreational value of the zoo. The Zoological Society contributes generously to the Zoo's operating budget.

The society has been instrumental in providing funding for many zoo improvements, generally in partnership with the County and City.

For more information on Henry Vilas Zoo, please visit: http://www.vilaszoo.org/index.php.


The Executive Director is charged with leading the Henry Vilas Zoological Society (HVZS) “Friends of the Zoo”, an independent nonprofit organization that promotes the Henry Vilas Zoo, a public institution, and one of the few remaining free zoos. The Executive Director provides both internal and external leadership, managing a talented, experienced and committed staff; building and engaging a dynamic board of directors; and leading an ongoing capital campaign.

The Executive Director oversees the fundraising programs, ensuring adequate resources for long-term sustainability and oversees day-to-day operations of the HVZS. S/he works in close collaboration with the Zoo Director on all matters affecting zoo operations. The Executive Director reports to and serves at the pleasure of the board of directors.


• Oversee fund development planning and implementation, including identifying resource requirements, researching funding sources and establishing strategies to identify and develop relationships with individual, corporate and/or foundation donors/funders.

• Prepare fundraising reports, financial analysis, construction status reports or other information regarding the status of major capital fund raising.

• Create, enhance and/or manage a marketing and communication plan for donors and prospects including reports from the ED, brochures, newsletters, and other communication tools that inform prospects and inspire current donors and members.

• Collaborate with board to develop, advance and oversee the vision, mission and strategic plan for the HVZS. Develops commitment from board of directors and staff to ensure that the organization is focused on advancing organizational development to ensure viable events and reach fund raising goals.

• Direct growth of HVZS, working with staff, volunteers and board to build upon the vision, mission and strategic plan that guide program and development.

• Supervise and evaluate staff and provides overall operational direction. Engage board of directors in governance, fundraising activities, and training new members.

• Oversee volunteer recruitment and training.

• Develop annual budget and oversees annual audit by independent auditors.

• Oversee planning and implementation of programs and special events.

• Maintain a working knowledge of the Board and its committee activities, attend monthly Board meetings, and attend committee meetings as needed while communicating regularly with the Board President and committee chairs.

• Promotes an organizational culture that fosters open and frequent communication, teamwork, promotes equal opportunity, and a passion for the mission.


HSVS is seeking an individual who brings significant and proven leadership skills developed through several years in senior management positions. Candidate’s experience can include work in a non-profit, for-profit, or government organization. The following describes the ideal experience and assets a successful candidate will offer:

• Bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year college or university required.

• Ability to foster a healthy organizational culture by creating an environment characterized by high levels of employee engagement and high performance developed through teamwork and collaboration.

• A goal oriented, compassionate, visionary leader who possesses the creativity and drive necessary to build upon and expand the success and impact of this organization.

• Demonstrated success in generating revenue through a variety of fundraising techniques, including experience with major gifts solicitation, annual campaigns, capital campaigns, special events and grant proposals.

• Ability to develop strategic goals, to implement effectively and benchmark success based on results.

• Financial and operational acumen; direct experience with budget development/management and P&L oversight.

• Experience working with a Board of Directors or other governing body preferred.

• Skilled communicator who both speaks and listens effectively and who has the ability to move seamlessly between the community, staff, governing board, volunteers, donors, members, and diverse partner organizations.

• Strong leadership skills with the ability to influence and engage direct and indirect reports and peers.

• Demonstrated knowledge of setting, communicating, and executing the vision for an organization.

• Knowledge of Dane County institutions and potential donors is a plus.

• Experience with DonorPerfect and QuickBooks is beneficial but not required.

• Ability to work on weekends/evenings when events require.


The position is located in Madison, Wisconsin. Madison anchors a thriving economic region of 400,000 which includes the state capital, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a world-class research university, and growing technology and research companies.

A vibrant city of more than 225,000, Madison is a rare combination of thriving businesses, progressive government, rich culture and advanced education - all in a setting of rare natural beauty. Surrounded by five lakes, laced with bike trails, and enlivened with numerous parks and green spaces, the area offers countless opportunities to enjoy a fulfilling career, lead a successful organization, and enjoy your favorite pastimes. Boating and water sports on our lakes; hiking, biking, and skiing on our trails; and camping in our many state parks around the city and the region offers a range of recreational opportunities in a breathtaking natural environment. Combine these factors with clean air, abundant green space, superior educational and healthcare facilities, a low unemployment rate, great communities and a sense of personal security, and you have Madison - a great place to live and work.

For more information about Madison’s advantages as a place to live, please visit:





The Henry Vilas Zoological Society has retained QTI PROFESSIONAL STAFFING, INC. to conduct the search for its new Executive Director. QTI Professional Staffing is a specialized recruiting division of The QTI Group, a comprehensive human resources advisory services firm founded in 1957. QTI is headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin and has fourteen branch offices.

Qualified individuals interested in being considered for the position are invited to send a cover letter with salary expectations and a resume to: http://tinyurl.com/HVZSapply.