AZA Heroes Contest Rules

AZA Member “Find Our Heroes” Video Contest

Help Us Find Our Heroes!

AZA has embarked on a multi-year, multi-faceted national communications strategy that includes a mix of earned, owned and paid media. Original video content is a central part of the strategy. With this in mind, AZA has created two pieces of original video content so far: A public service announcement that has been distributed nationally and made available to all AZA members, and soon-to-be-released “Influencers” video featuring leaders from inside and outside of the zoological and conservation profession.

For our third piece of video content, we know there are thousands of amazing stories within the AZA community about why each individual at an AZA-accredited facility comes to work each day. We want to feature four of these stories in our next national advertisement!

With that in mind, we are excited to announce a video contest for AZA members to help us find the stars of our next advertisement! Your assignment is to show us your passion for animals and conservation – why do you come to work each day and do what you do?

Candidates should shoot an audition video, and submit it to AZA for consideration. AZA is excited to be working with Stephanie Arne, host of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom and co-founder of the Creative Animal Foundation, as our contest host. Having won a video contest herself, Stephanie will be providing potential entrants with tips on how to create a winning video.

Following the submission deadline, a panel of judges will pick the 10 best audition videos and voting will occur over a few weeks on the AZA website. The audition videos will also be shared on AZA and AZA-member social channels. Following voting, our new “stars” will be introduced to the AZA community at the AZA Annual Conference in Seattle by Stephanie during one of the general sessions.

Your AZA Heroes as of 9/12/2018 are: 

  • Josh L
  • Rachael R
  • Andie H
  • Amy M
  • Amanda H
  • Donnie A
  • Kate S
  • Ben J
  • Jasmine W
  • Marcus J

Contest Timeline

  • July 20 – Contest announced and rules released
  • August 6 – Stephanie Arne hosts a webinar on video submissions 
  • August 24 – Submission deadline
  • August 27 – 29 – Top 10 picked by judging panel
  • August 30 – September 12 – Content released on AZA YouTube channel; voting takes place on
  • September 24/25/26 – New “stars” unveiled at the AZA Annual Conference
  • October – Shooting happens in the fall
  • January 2019 – New ads released


Dan Ashe, President and CEO, Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Stephanie Arne, AZA “Find Our Heroes” Contest Host

Bethany Bingham, President, American Association of Zoo Keepers

Jim Breheny, Chair, AZA Board of Directors

Alejandro Grajal, Member, AZA Board of Directors

Adrienne Rowland, Member, AZA Board of Directors

Debbi Stone, Member, AZA Conservation Education Committee

Jo-Elle Mogerman, Co-Chair, AZA Diversity Committee

Dana Murphy, Co-Chair, AZA Diversity Committee

Andy Wood, Chair, AZA Marketing Committee

Max Pulsinelli, Chair, AZA Public Relations Committee

Contest Rules

Video submissions will be accepted from July 20 to August 24, 2018 until midnight in your timezone.  The Submission period is now closed. 

  • For the purposes of this video contest, “Entrants” are limited to any staff member or volunteer at a facility accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). A current list of AZA-accredited facilities can be found here.
  • Video submissions should be limited to two (2) minutes and submitted in .mov or .mp4 formats.
  • Video submissions should comply with entrant’s organizational policy regarding staff access and filming during work hours, remain mindful of safety while working with any animals, and observe intellectual property rights. When possible, submissions should be coordinated with entrant’s organization public relations and/or marketing department.
  • Once an audition video is submitted, AZA owns all rights to the content and can use the content for any purpose. AZA may edit the submitted content for time, but will not alter the entrant’s words.
  • The Top 10 submissions will be decided by a panel determined by AZA. Panel names will be made public on the AZA’s website, Review of video submissions will occur as submissions are made.
  • Online voting will be August 22 – September 12, 2018. Online voting will occur at the AZA’s website,
  • Four (4) heroes will be selected, and will at least include the top vote-getter from a zoo and the top vote-getter from an aquarium. Placement in the online vote is one factor considered by the panel.
  • Finalists must make every effort to travel to Seattle, Washington, for the AZA Annual Conference.
  • Finalists will be responsible for travel costs to AZA Annual Conference. The Conference registration fee will be covered for the 4 finalists.
  • Finalists must be available to travel to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in October, for the production shoot.
  • AZA will be responsible for roundtrip airfare and hotel to the production shoot in Philadelphia. Individual expenses are Entrants responsibility.


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