Dear AZA members,
On behalf of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums board of directors and AZA staff, it is both a professional and personal honor to announce the renaming of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums leadership development initiative to the Ted A. Beattie Executive Leadership Development Program.
As AZA President and Chief Executive Officer Dan Ashe mentioned at the 2023 Directors Policy Conference, “Ted was a committed advocate for professional development, he saw the potential impact ELDP could have on the zoological community. He envisioned it as a path to recognize, support, and advance the next generation of global zoo and aquarium community leaders. I would say his vision is being realized.”
Ted’s son Sean, who serves as a vice president at the National Aquarium in Baltimore, Md., shared the family’s deep appreciation of the honor. “Thanks to the AZA board and staff for this fitting recognition of our dad’s lifelong impact to an industry he loved. He was an instinctive strategic thinker who believed strongly that great mission-driven organizations can only thrive when led by great people. Throughout his career he modeled this value proposition and encouraged AZA and others to intentionally invest in developing future zoological leaders through programs like ELDP. He often reminded us that it is not only the right thing to do but is a smart business imperative.”
Additionally, Ted’s wife Jill Beach Beattie shared, “From the moment we met, Ted always mentioned how proud he was of helping emerging leaders advance in their careers, especially the 14 zoo and aquarium directors who worked for him. I am appreciative that AZA has recognized his lifelong dedication to professional development with this naming.”
Ted knew the future of our community would only flourish if our organizations had strong, experienced, and visionary directors and for nearly 40 years, he dedicated his time, talent, and treasure to developing a new generation of zoological leaders. Regardless of one’s career level, or what zoological organization they worked for, Ted always shared his expertise in executive leadership and helped hundreds of AZA colleagues advance in their career.
“It was an incredible honor and privilege to know Ted. As did so many across our profession, I learned so much from him. About leadership, and in particular, about leading with heart. About strength, but also about kindness. I will always remember his smile. I can’t think of many people that have had the impact he had on our profession, and on me,” shared Dr. Jackie Ogden.
Former Director of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, Ill., and longtime friend of Ted, Kevin Bell, shared, “In 2014, a small group of zoo and aquarium directors and consultants met to discuss professional development, which Ted first addressed when he was the AZA board chair. While we discussed creating a leadership development program in the future, Ted said the future is now and ELDP was established. Of all his accomplishments, this was Ted’s proudest. This initiative, along with his longstanding commitment to professional development, has had an enormous impact on AZA.”
Since 2014, 83 zoological leaders have graduated from the program, including myself and three of my AZA board colleagues, and last week the 2023 Ted A. Beattie ELDP cohort was announced.
For any AZA staff member interested in career advancement in support of conservation, education, animal wellbeing, and organizational leadership, let me strongly encourage you to consider participating in the Ted A. Beattie Executive Leadership Development Program.
And to my fellow directors, may we reflect on our own career journey and embrace Ted’s unwavering commitment to developing our organization and Association’s talented and dedicated staff to fulfill our purpose today and well into the future.
President and Chief Executive Officer
The Florida Aquarium
Back to All Stories