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National Aquarium

Senior Vice President/Chief Financial Officer

The Opportunity

The National Aquarium is seeking a Senior Vice President/Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to lead the Finance, Human Resources, Organizational Development and Volunteer Engagement teams for this world-class cultural attraction and conservation organization into the next decade. The successful candidate will bring a record of financial acumen, with excellent people management skills, strategic leadership, collaborative teamwork, integrity and accountability to this position, which comprises a critical part of the leadership of a $60 million per year not-for-profit enterprise. Reporting directly to the CEO as a member of the Leadership Team, the CFO will support Board finance, audit and investment committees; play an integral part in pursuing the Aquarium’s mission and vision; ensure financial integrity; and chart the Aquarium’s leadership in diversity, equity, inclusion and environmental justice. With ocean health and climate change foremost among humankind’s challenges, the CFO will play a pivotal role in pursuing the National Aquarium’s vision of changing the way humanity cares for our ocean planet.

About the National Aquarium

The National Aquarium in Baltimore, Maryland, is a nonprofit organization focused on changing the way humanity cares for the ocean. The Aquarium’s award-winning habitats are home to 20,000 animals representing 700 species of fish, birds, amphibians, reptiles and mammals. More than 300 full-and-part-time employees and 900 volunteers drive the Aquarium’s mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. Annually, 1.2 million guests visit the Aquarium, and millions more participate in its conservation, education and engagement initiatives.

Our Culture

The National Aquarium opened in 1981 as a visitor attraction and has evolved into a conservation organization that operates a world-class aquarium. Through unparalleled exhibits, science-based education programs and hands-on field initiatives, staff members strive to create a new community of hopeful conservationists, driven by the mission of inspiring conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures. The Aquarium is at the forefront of efforts to increase public awareness of the challenges facing our oceans, and to improve the health of the Baltimore Harbor, Chesapeake Bay and oceans around the world.

Our Mission and Goals

Much of the ocean is mysterious to humans, and this is where the opportunity lies. We know that understanding what’s beneath the water’s surface and forging a deeper sense of connection to the ocean can inspire humanity to protect it. The four pillars of the National Aquarium brand—connecting, protecting, sharing and caring—are designed to instill a sense of hope for the long-term health and well-being of our blue planet in all those with whom we engage.

This is an exciting opportunity to join the team that continues to effectively guide this organization as it emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic by providing consistent, credible, timely and relevant analytical advice to the Board and leadership to support strategic decisions. One of the many strengths of the National Aquarium is its Board of Directors. The Board’s talented members can be called upon to serve as strategic partners with management on specific issues. They actively serve as subject matter experts on a range of key initiatives and advocate in the community for the Aquarium’s mission to inspire conservation of the world’s aquatic treasures.


The CFO is accountable for the strategic and tactical leadership of the Finance department and the oversight of the Human Resources, Administrative Services, Organizational Development and Volunteer Engagement departments. The CFO holds full responsibility for all financial aspects of the Aquarium, including the financial management of the organization budget analysis and management, financial modeling, cost benefit analyses, forecasting, and all accounting operations. The CFO will provide high quality, meaningful analysis and financial perspectives necessary for operational decisions and strategic planning. In addition to providing financial leadership, the CFO will be responsible for the administration, planning, forecasting and analysis of financial risk-based models related to any new products or lines of business.

As a member of the Leadership Team, the CFO serves as a credible, knowledgeable and trusted resource to the CEO, senior leaders and the Board. This position calls for a strategic, quality-focused financial executive with sound financial management expertise, proven business experience and a background in leading a people function.


Leadership: Provide executive leadership to the following departments: Finance, Human Resources, Administrative Services, Organizational Development and Volunteer Engagement. Ensure that work output is timely and of the highest professional quality when serving both internal and external customers. Assist with staffing and resource allocation decisions. Develop the team by providing counsel on departmental business plans, management challenges and relationships. Ensure high customer satisfaction of these departments with board, executives, external partners and senior leadership. Bring best in class thought leadership to developing, refining and mapping the Aquarium’s investments in diversity, equity, inclusion and environmental justice.  

Finance Operations: Oversee the Finance department to ensure the department’s core services operate using general accepted accounting principles (GAAP), resulting in sufficient cash flow; well-managed operating costs; increased revenues; and timely, accurate financial transactions, statements, reports, and analyses.

Business Strategy: Work in close partnership with the CEO and peers on the Leadership Team to provide strategic vision, leadership and direction that support and strengthen the impact of the Aquarium’s strategic goals, priorities and critical projects.

Financial Planning & Monitoring: Work effectively with senior leadership team to monitor, track and evaluate key performance indicators that impact the achievement of annual operating plan and key financial goals, including compliance to bank covenants. Provide leadership, guidance and support to those accountable for the management and attainment of critical projects, in all aspects that involve the Finance department.

Legal & Risk Management: Oversee applicable required regulatory reporting to assure compliance in a cost-effective manner and minimize legal liabilities. Negotiate key vendor and consultant contracts in a manner that protects the financial interests of the Aquarium.  Manage the corporate insurance portfolio, acquire and maintain adequate and appropriate corporate insurance coverage to adequately protect the Aquarium from various types of exposure.

People Resources: Oversee the development, implementation and management of all volunteer and employee programs as they relate to organizational design, compensation, benefits, employee relations, learning & development, talent acquisition, employee engagement and compliance. Provide guidance to leadership relating to issues of human capital.

Philanthropy: Collaborate with CEO and SVP/Chief Philanthropy Officer in helping to attract private and public philanthropic support for the National Aquarium. Ensure adherence to the appropriate and/or required procedures for handling donor funds.

Boards and Committees: Act as a critical link with the Board of Directors by serving as the chief staff liaison for its Finance, Audit and Compensation committees. Act in a support role to the National Aquarium Foundation and its stewardship of our investment portfolio.

Other duties as assigned or required.


  • Mature, seasoned, creative and proactive leader with 15+ years of progressive experience and demonstrated excellence in managing finances, accounting, budgeting, controls, analysis, projecting and reporting, as well as in leading a people function—all governed by the values of integrity, inclusion, transparency, and reliability.
  • Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting or Finance; advanced degree or equivalent preferred (CPA/MBA).
  • Demonstrated passion for the National Aquarium’s vision, mission and commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and environmental justice; an entrepreneurial spirit; and a leadership style that energizes the team around this unique moment in the Aquarium’s history.
  • Natural affinity for leading teams, with a genuine dedication to engaging and inspiring customers and constituents at all levels: Finance, HR, Administrative Services, Organizational Development and Volunteer Engagement team members, as well as other staff, volunteers, donors, and community leaders.
  • Excellent written communication and presentation skills combined with the capacity to interact knowledgeably and clearly with a range of internal and external audiences.
  • Exceptional interpersonal skills, with the ability to convey complex financial information understandably to a wide variety of audiences. Ability and drive to partner effectively with all levels of stakeholders, including employees, managers, department leaders, brokers, vendors, senior management, and the Board of Directors.
  • Keen ability to think and act strategically, planning for the long-term while balancing the short and long-range needs of the organization.
  • Highly collaborative and team-oriented approach to integrating all Aquarium program areas for maximum effectiveness. An ability to listen to others and learn from their best ideas and possess a healthy sense of intellectual curiosity.

Contact The Ramsay Group to learn more.

Diana Ramsay | President

Exclusive Executive Search

Cell: (410) 960-1441 | Business: (410) 828-0160

LinkedIn: Diana Ramsay    

How to Apply

Contact The Ramsay Group to learn more.

Diana Ramsay | President

Exclusive Executive Search

Cell: (410) 960-1441 | Business: (410) 828-0160

LinkedIn: Diana Ramsay    

National Aquarium
Baltimore, MD

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