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Shedd Aquarium

Manager, Ancillary Operations: Programs and Events

The Manager of Ancillary Operations: Programs and Events, working collaboratively with the Director of Ancillary Operations, is charged with delivering a consistently exceptional experience for all guests while successfully achieving ancillary program earned revenue targets.  

This individual will develop the ancillary earned revenue strategy focusing on current programs such as Shedd Events (Jazzin’ and After Hours), and Extraordinary Experiences, both onsite and virtual for public and private audiences.  This person will also provide logistical support, including scheduling, communication, and execution. 

Internal support of multiple teams is vital to the role.  This includes areas such as: vigilantly streamlining interdepartmental processes pursuant to successful Ancillary Operations events and programs, working closely with partner departments and SPARC (Strategic Programs And Resource Collaboration) to set and achieve revenue and program goals (Learning and Community, Development, IT Central Station, Animal Care, Finance, Marketing, Facilities, Sodexo Events). 

This Manager is responsible for providing a seamless and joyful welcome for guests within these programs and works closely with the Guest Relations Floor Operations to ensure the pre-visit, post-visit and onsite experience adds value to Shedd visit. This position plays a key role in setting and achieving revenue goals, while increasing guest satisfaction.  

This Manager will support the director as needed in other Ancillary Operations areas such as Tourism, Group Sales, incremental revenue, and developing potential sources for additional programs and revenue. 


ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. Other duties may be assigned. To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.  The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill and/or ability required.  Reasonable accommodation may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. 


  • Demonstrate commitment to Shedd’s vision, mission & values 

  • Holds passion for and commitment to advancing diversity, equity, accessing and inclusion initiatives within the organization 

  • Act as primary event planner and volunteer manager, executing Shedd events including (but not limited to) Jazzin’ at the Shedd and Shedd After Hours. 

  • Develop annual attendance, revenue and expense budgets for Shedd events 

  • Coordinate with vendors, performers, food partners and additional Shedd stakeholders to plan and execute events. Collaborate with internal partners to maximize success.  Regularly evaluate process and result. 

  • Partner with Marketing to develop promotional plan via social media and website. 

  • Ensure appropriate event staffing through scheduling of staff and volunteers for events as needed, providing leadership during assigned events. 

  • Oversee and manage event budget for assigned events, ensuring events fall in or under budget. 

  • Work with Director to develop new event programming to drive attendance and revenue, and as needed project manage creation of new programs. 

  • Order and maintain event and experience supplies (ideally with the assistance of GR/CS) 

  • Act as MRP for Extraordinary and other “VIP” Experiences for public and private audiences. 

  • Collaborate with partner departments on scheduling and execution of both onsite and virtual experiences. 

  • Build calendars with days, dates, frequency, and timing for all public experiences 

  • Assess demand and landscape surrounding virtual encounters to advise start/stop/pause. 

  • Log tickets with cross departmental partners on program builds. 

  • Collaborate with Marketing, Learning and Animal Care as needed to answer call for private virtual and private onsite experience asks. 

  • Communicate and coordinate execution of private onsite and virtual encounters between Shedd and external clients, including monitoring and acting on all sales leads. 

  • Ensure appropriate staffing for experiences is procured, trained, and scheduled. 

  • Act as project manager for SPARC (Strategic Programs And Resource Collaboration) and SPARC Steering, developing and communicating agendas, managing workflow, supporting accountability and charter execution. 

  • Communicate standardized program creation procedures and assist in connecting interested parties to key players. 

  • Monitor progress to goals for experiences and programs: 

  • Revenue earned vs. Goal. 

  • Capture impacts of revenue contributed connected to programs/experience. 

  • Guest satisfaction – monitor survey results and flag areas of success and opportunity. 

  • Be a champion of the Pro Forma process, using this tool for their own use as well as providing guidance to others on the nuances as needed. 

  • Collaborating with Director and others as needed to support all ancillary programs and activities 

  • Onsite ancillary activities (valet, VR, 4D, pennies, lockers, Mobilequbes), including Sodexo and Event Network 

  • Support development of future activities associated with EMP 

  • Other duties as assigned. 



To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. 



  • Bachelor’s degree, preferably in business management, hospitality management, marketing or related areas. 



  • Three to five years of experience managing special events. 

  • Experience managing multiple internal and external stakeholders; with experience working specifically with in-house catering partners highly preferred. 

  • Experience working within complex organizations and ability to multi-task is critical. 

  • Demonstrate experience using databases to track and analyze information. 

  • Effective and accurate verbal and written communication skills are necessary. 

  • Ability to have a flexible schedule for nights and weekend hours/events as needed 

  • Experience coordinating large-scale events. 


Other Skills & Characteristics: 

  • Time management skills, enthusiasm, creativity and teamwork required. 

  • Strong interpersonal skills with the ability to work quickly, effectively and independently with stakeholders at all levels. Adept and persuasive communication skills. 

  • Ability to establish and sustain working relationships with co-workers, partners and vendors. 

  • Strong work ethic and positive demeanor. 

  • Attention to detail and flexibility are important. 

  • Composure: ability to stay cool under pressure. 

  • Action oriented and strong problem-solving skills. 

  • Management skills and confidence giving direction. 

  • Ability to accommodate a flexible schedule including nights and weekends. 

    We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ community, veterans and active duty military, parents, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from all cultural backgrounds to apply. Shedd Aquarium is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes everyone to our team.

    If you need a reasonable accommodation at any point in the application or interview process, please let us know. In your application, please feel free to select which pronouns you use (For example – she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs).

How to Apply

Shedd Aquarium
1200 S Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, IL 60605

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