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Seattle Aquarium

Director of Finance and Administration

Another Source’s client, Seattle Aquarium, is recruiting a Director of Finance and Administration to join their team.

Here's a little about Seattle Aquarium and the position they are seeking to fill:

Organizational history

The Seattle Aquarium is one of Washington state’s leading environmental education and stewardship institutions and the region’s green gathering place for discussion and dissemination of information about the ocean and marine conservation. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), it’s the eighth-largest aquarium in the U.S. by attendance and among the top five paid visitor attractions in the Puget Sound region. Since its opening in 1977, the Aquarium has hosted more than 25 million visitors and provided marine conservation education to nearly two million school children.


The Seattle Aquarium is owned by the City of Seattle and was operated by the City’s Department of Parks and Recreation until 2010, when the nonprofit Seattle Aquarium Society assumed its management—a model used by most leading zoos and aquariums. The facility expanded by 18,000 square feet in 2007 with new exhibits—including the impressive, 120,000-gallon Window on Washington Waters—a new gift shop and new café, as well as meeting and event facilities that have grown more successful with each passing year—a major source of revenue and exposure for the organization’s mission.


The Seattle Aquarium has a realistic plan for phased growth based on record-setting attendance, membership and fundraising growth, an energized board of directors and increasingly professional management. The organization has recently developed a master plan to substantially increase in physical size and impact by opening a new exhibit building, the Ocean Pavilion. As Seattle continues to redefine its relationship with the waterfront by replacing the viaduct with an underground tunnel, the Seattle Aquarium will become the focal point of a new 20-acre park along the waterfront.

The role of the director of finance and administration

The director of finance and administration is a key member of the Aquarium’s executive team and will lead all day-to-day finance operations; oversee an annual operating budget of ~$17 million; and directly supervise the controller and admissions manager. Additionally, the director will manage finance and accounting of an ongoing $100 million capital campaign. The director of finance and administration will manage all finance and accounting reporting activities of the Seattle Aquarium and will lead the preparation and presentation of financial reports to the board of directors; staff the finance and audit committee; and will support and present financial updates to the board’s project oversight committee. The director of finance and administration reports directly to the COO but will partner with the CEO and leadership of the institution to enhance and better integrate internal processes and financial reports.


The director of finance and administration is responsible to further the mission of the Seattle Aquarium: “Inspiring Conservation of our Marine Environment.” A successful candidate will have strong people skills and can easily communicate budget issues in a clear way to a diverse group of coworkers.


  • Consistently analyze financial data and present financial reports in an accurate and timely manner; clearly communicate monthly, quarterly, and annual financial statements; monitor progress and changes; and keep the executive team and the board abreast of the organization’s financial status.

  • Oversee all accounts, ledgers and reporting systems, ensuring compliance with appropriate GAAP standards and regulatory requirements.

  • Maintain internal control and safeguards for receipt of revenue, costs, and program budgets and actual expenditures.

  • Manage the annual independent audit, the development of financial statements and the IRS 990 tax form. Coordinate the preparation of required audit schedules, certify such statements, and act as the liaison with the audit and tax teams.

  • Manage cash flow forecasting; collaborate with program leads to establish finance and administrative systems to support program operations.

  • Lead and support the executive team in the annual budgeting and planning process; administer and review all financial plans and compare to results with a view to identify, explain and correct variances as appropriate.

  • Oversee all financial, project/program and grants accounting; ensure that expenditures are consistently aligned with grant and program budgets throughout the grant/fund period and train staff to ensure expenses comply with grant restrictions; collate financial reporting materials for federal, state and local government, corporate, and foundation grants.

  • Staff the board’s monthly finance committee meetings.

  • Collaborate with HR director to support the compensation committee and administration of the Aquarium’s 403(b) retirement plan.

  • Aquarium expansion: collaborate with and support the senior project director, board project oversight committee and others on all expansion-related financial needs.

  • Manage and track the performance of invested assets in keeping with policies and investment guidelines.

  • Manage all banking, legal, property/casualty insurance and related partnerships, as well as all property leases for office space in the nearby Market Square building.

  • Manage major maintenance funding mechanism between the Seattle Aquarium and the Metropolitan Park District funding.

  • Act as the principle negotiator on behalf of the Aquarium with all City of Seattle departments as necessary. Recent examples include seawall construction mitigation, ongoing master plan discussions with SDOT and Office of the Waterfront. Negotiate rebates related to facilities investments with City Light and others as appropriate.


  • Manage the controller and finance team; admissions manager and cashier team and related front gate function.

  • Jointly manage, with director of marketing, the financial and legal aspects of the Aquarium’s two concession partners: Sodexo (the food partner which manages the Aquarium’s café/evening events/catering staff); and Event Network (the Aquarium’s retail store partner), as needed to ensure success in their respective businesses.

  • Leverage strengths of finance and Admissions team members, help to clarify roles and responsibilities, and develop and implement training programs in order to maximize and reach optimal individual and organizational goals.

  • Provide leadership in strengthening internal communications with staff at all levels throughout the organization; create and promote a positive, supportive and inclusive work environment.

Financial responsibility: 

  • This positon oversees the organization’s budget, which is approximately $17 million.

  • Manage finance and accounting of $100 million capital campaign for new Ocean Pavilion building, including monitoring cash flow issues, working with bankers on potential bridge financing, and assisting the philanthropy team with grant management.

  • Assist with planning for $50 million renovation of Pier 59 and long-term plan to rebuild Pier 60 (the Aquarium’s existing buildings).

  • Budget responsibility for administration, accounting, concessions, guest services and admissions, and pooled departments.

  • For capital projects for existing facilities in 2017, the budget related to the Seattle Metropolitan Park District funding is approximately $1,000,000.

  • Responsible for reviewing and approving expenses of up to $50,000.

Working conditions:

  • Work is performed in a normal office setting. Private office/ semi-private work area. Frequent interruptions of work. Other work areas include outdoor environments with the need to travel/walk between buildings in a campus-like environment and travel to meetings in the city and elsewhere as needed for conferences.

Experience Required

Education and experience: • Eight or more years managing an $8+ million nonprofit institution’s accounting and finance functions that have significant gate and philanthropic revenue. • Minimum of a B.A. in business, accounting/finance or related degree. C.P.A. and/or M.B.A. preferred. • Minimum of five years in a senior leadership role. • Personal qualities of integrity, credibility and unwavering commitment to the mission; a proactive, reliable, hands-on strategic thinker who will own the responsibility for finance. • Must be highly collaborative, consistently demonstrate a team approach, build trust, maintain productive relationships with staff, and maintain transparency at all times. • Solid experience managing audits, reporting, and budget development and analysis. • Experience overseeing the finances of multi-million dollar construction projects. • Must be able to manage, train and coach a diverse staff, ensuring effective delegation and assuring accountability. • Strong analytic, organizational and problem-solving skills which allow for strategic data interpretation versus simple reporting. • Strong interpersonal and communication skills; experience in effectively communicating key data, including presentations to senior management, board or other outside partners.


Salary and benefits: D.O.E. Please include salary requirements in cover letter. Full-time staff are eligible for the Seattle Aquarium’s comprehensive benefits package which includes medical, vision, dental (subsidized dependent coverage also available), HRA, FSA, life insurance, short- and long-term disability, long-term care, access to a subsidized ORCA pass, and generous paid time off.


D.O.E., please include salary requirements in application materials

How to Apply

How to apply: The Seattle Aquarium is a progressive, equal opportunity employer that values a diverse workforce. Please include a one-page letter of interest and résumé. Application review will begin immediately. All candidates are encouraged to apply. To read a full job description and to apply visit: Note: Must pass a background check, upon job offer, to be eligible for this position. The Seattle Aquarium has partnered with Another Source, an external recruit firm, to assist in the hiring process for this position. Another Source works with their clients, on a retained project basis, to maximize the recruiting process. Inquiries about this position should be directed to: Another Source Website: Phone: 206-241-8906

Seattle Aquarium
1483 Alaskan Way, Pier 59
Seattle, WA 98101
Phone: 2066936153

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