Managing for Success: Career Development

Hosted by Oglebay Resort
Wheeling, WV
February 10 - 15, 2020

Course Description

Managing for Success: Career Development examines management disciplines with emphasis on their application to zoos and aquariums. Participants will receive practical tools and skills to take back to their institutions to apply at their level, including an increased network of resources and heightened leadership skills.

Course Topics 

  • Personal Goal Setting
  • Recruiting
  • Interviewing and Hiring
  • Employment Law
  • Performance Management
  • Motivation
  • Organizational Structure and Governance
  • Public Relations
  • Marketing and Trends
  • Introduction to Conservation
  • Revenue Producing Activities
  • Development and Membership
  • Sponsorships


Andi Kornak, Deputy Executive Director/Director of Animal & Veterinary Programs - Celveland Metroparks Zoo
Bill Street, Senior Vice President, Indianapolis Zoo
Jane Ballentine, Director of Public Relations, The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore
Laurie Conkerton, Executive VP and Chief Admin. Officer, Audubon Zoo
Kenton Kerns, Assistant Curator, Smithsonian National Zoological Park 
Karen Burns, VP for External Relations, Indianapolis Zoo
Hollie Colahan, Vice President for Animal Care, Denver Zoo
Chris Gentile, Director, Western North Carolina Nature Center
Craig Jacobs, Director of Human Resources, Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo
Christina Dembiec, Director of Education, Memphis Zoo
Laura Martina, Chief People Officer, Fresno Chaffee Zoo
Jennifer Metzler-Fiorino, Education Curator, North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher
Steve Olson, Senior VP of Government Affairs, Association of Zoos and Aquariums
Patty Peters, Vice President Community Relations, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Tony Vecchio, Executive Director, Jacksonville Zoo
Kris Vehrs, Executive Director, Association of Zoos and Aquariums 
Carmen Wirtz, Senior VP of Human Resources, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Is This Course Right for You?

This course is designed for supervisory level employees and those who aspire to that level, up to and including middle managers. Any level manager new to the industry will also benefit.


None. Sequential completion of Managing for Success: Career Development and Managing for Success: Organizational Development is recommended but not required. Priority will be given to individuals associated with AZA-accredited institutions. If you are not employed by a zoo or aquarium, please submit a letter describing your interest in taking the course to for consideration.

Course Schedule  

First Day
 - Student registration
 - Opening evening ceremony
 - Courses meet for individual opening session/class

- Classes meet all day

Last Day
- Classes meet
- Closing Ceremony

Attendance for course participants is required for the duration of the course until the evening of the last day. As a result, individuals generally depart the following day. Attendees will receive a detailed schedule for their course after their registration is confirmed.  

Course Travel & Registration

Travel & Accommodations

Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) is the closest airport. Airport Limousine Plus and First Class Limo provide a shuttle service between PIT and the hotel.

Course participants stay at Oglebay Resort & Conference Center in Wheeling, West Virginia and classes meet on-site. All lodging reservations are priced per person at a package rate. Your accommodations will include all: breakfast, lunches, dinners, and snacks throughout the entirety of your stay. 

General Package Pricing*:
~$1150 Standard Double Room Package (Shared Room)
~$1370 Standard Single Room Package
~$1200 Deluxe Double Room Package (Shared Room)
~$1500 Deluxe Single Room Package
~$1260 Premium Double Room Package (Shared Room)
~$1600 Premium Single Room Package
~$1150 Cottage Package (Shared Cottage - 6 person maximum)
*Package pricing rates are all-inclusive and per person. Prices are subject to change 

Please wait until you are admitted into the course before making your reservations. You will receive an email containing detailed information regarding your accommodations and transportation once you are admitted. 

Tuition & Expenses*

The AZA registration fee below only covers tuition for the course. Other expenses include hotel, travel, and meals which are included at a package rate with lodging accommodations. For more information about costs and logistics for courses hosted by Oglebay Resort in Wheeling, WV, visit our Wheeling Courses Travel Information page. Registration prices are subject to change. 
Scholarship funding for courses is available through a competitive process. AZA scholarship applications are due by mid-July and are awarded by early September. 

Early Bird Rates:
$925 for AZA Individual Members
$1025 for Non-members
Registration deadline: 12 weeks prior to course start date

Regular Rates:
$1025 for AZA Individual Members
$1125 for Non-members 
Final registration deadline: 4 weeks prior to course start date

*Prices are subject to change

Accepted forms of payment for registration are by: credit card, check or purchase order. 

For information regarding our code of conduct, registration, and refund policies, please visit our Professional Development Course Policies page.

Questions? For additional details please contact the AZA Professional Development Department.

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