Recently, it was announced that I will be stepping into the role of chair of the board of directors. This opportunity means the world to me, and I am excited to embark on the journey ahead, together.
This last year has been and continues to be a challenge, but we have learned we can grow together, lean on each other, and even cry together. We found strength in one another and can focus on the idea that we are doing the greatest work on the planet. With more than 240 accredited facilities working together, we have the collective ability to transform the way people see the world by creating lifelong learning experiences. There could not be a more exciting time to be a part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and to take on the role of chair.
Looking back on my younger self, I had a passion for protecting animals but no idea how to get involved. I oftentimes struggled not seeing other people that looked like me in these roles. I recognized along the way that this is a place I not only belong, but where my voice is needed. As the first Black person to serve as chair of AZA, I am committed to helping bring diversity and inclusion to the forefront. I’m not just referring to the color of your skin, but also socioeconomic status.
As chair, one of my goals is to ensure we put time, energy, and effort in financially supporting those who are passionate about being part of zoos and aquariums. I’ll also be visiting different facilities over the next year to gather insight and ensure as a board we are meeting your needs. I want to facilitate conversations focused on education, collaboration, and the conservation goals that unite us all, to make us stronger collectively. If this last year has shown us anything, it is the importance of being able to rely on one another for support. I am honored to serve as this year’s chair and want to thank you all for this opportunity. I look forward to working together to shape the future of AZA.
Dr. Brian Davis