POSITION SPECIFICATION: President / Chief Executive Officer
(click here to download the full position specification as a PDF)

The Palm Beach Zoo’s next President/CEO will work with a committed and engaged board, a strong and experienced staff, dedicated volunteers, and an outstanding animal and botanical collection. Located in a vibrant and storied area of Florida, rich in cultural assets, this is a Zoo poised for great impact and potential in terms of its conservation mission, connection to the community, and financial success. The next CEO will play a major role in crafting the vision for the Zoo through the creation and implementation of a new Zoo strategic master plan. This individual should be viewed as a highly-respected leader in the region’s scientific and cultural community

This job offers a tremendous opportunity to the right leader with the ideal mix of skills and qualifications. The new CEO will guide the transformation of the current organization to becoming an even stronger regional attraction, a world-class conservation leader, and a top-ranked zoological and botanical institution.


The chief executive of the Palm Beach Zoo is responsible for the overall strategic and operational leadership of the organization. The President/CEO will exhibit a high level of collaboration and influencing skills to achieve outstanding performance throughout the organization. Growing revenue and controlling expenses will be critical as the President/CEO provides leadership across the organization and inspires her or his staff to excellence in all areas.

The President/CEO will need to balance internal management responsibilities with external relations and fundraising abilities to realize the long-term vision of the Palm Beach Zoo.

The President/CEO leads, plans, and monitors all activities of the Zoo as per the policies prescribed by the Board of Directors. The President/CEO reports directly to the Board and is the primary spokesperson for the Zoo. He/she, working with the Board, will develop the vision for the Zoo and create strategies for implementation. He or she provides the Board with strategic and actionable recommendations on issues and opportunities confronting the Zoo. The President/CEO manages the Zoo’s resources, both personnel and fiscal, including attracting, retaining, developing and evaluating professional staff.  The President/CEO sets the tone for the culture of the Zoo, ensuring a high-performing, collaborative and rewarding workplace—a workplace of choice for the region.


  • A proven leader of people, with the ability to create a strong and values-based organizational culture;
  • Extensive experience in the leadership and management of an accredited zoological park or aquarium, botanical garden, museum or similar visitor-related institution;
  • Track record in fundraising and development with ability to build and cultivate donor relationships and secure major gifts to support the growth  of the Zoo;
  • Demonstrated ability and experience working with external government and cultural stakeholders to advocate for the Zoo and identify and develop alternate public support;
  • Prior success in working with a Board of Directors, volunteers, civic and community leaders, the media, government and professional associations;
  • History of growing revenue, particularly from guest services and earned income streams;
  • Proven experience in creating, managing, and monitoring operational and capital budgets as well as strategic and master plans;
  • An understanding of technology applications to maximize performance; enhance experiences; and reach new and diverse audiences;
  • Experience in dealing with the media and an understanding of crisis communications;
  • History developing or overseeing public and education programs;
  • Ability to travel and represent the Zoo at industry conferences and programs and to identify industry best practices; and
  • Knowledge of animal care standards and understanding of zoo design. 

Personal TRAITS:

  • A recognized and innovative leader who can create a vision of the future and rally a team to achieve that vision;
  • Personal commitment to and history of achievement and support in the Zoo’s mission of conservation and education;
  • Excellent interpersonal and organizational skills and the capability of working effectively with numerous stakeholders;
  • Personal initiative with the ability to lead, direct and motivate;
  • Strong verbal and writing skills and the ability to communicate effectively;
  • Ability to analyze complex business, human resources and operating situations and identify solutions;
  • Tactful, diplomatic, trusting, and approachable; team-oriented with good listening skills;
  • Demonstrated integrity, positive ethics and high values; and
  • A strong personal interest and passion for the mission elements of zoos and botanical gardens.

To be considered for this excellent opportunity, please forward cover letter and detailed resume to:

David Walsh
Zoo Advisors, LLC