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Director of Impact 



Woodland Park Zoo is currently seeking a Director of Impact & Innovation to lead a newly formed team focused on understanding and growing our institutional impact. They will design and lead the implementation of projects that inform how we can best engage and empower our audiences to save wildlife and habitat; experiment with ways to implement technology to expand and deepen the effectiveness of our learning initiatives; and oversee the measurement of our institutional impact on human and wildlife communities.

We are seeking a dynamic and intellectually curious candidate who will build on the zoo’s assets to accelerate and expand the success of our mission. They will help shape the research agenda on the intersection of animal welfare, perception of welfare, and empathy; design and implement studies that explore the use of technology in exhibitry/programming to deepen and enhance learning; and identify approaches to measure the effectiveness and impact of the zoo’s strategic plan. The individual will lead the Impact & Innovation team to drive a culture of data-driven decision making, innovation, and continuous improvement across the zoo.

The successful candidate should be entrepreneurial in spirit and approach, with a strong commitment to equity and inclusion. They would have demonstrated success in initiating and implementing transformational planning processes and programs with partners and across cross functional teams; track record of fundraising and grant writing; experience developing and managing budgets, and supervising staff. Familiarity with universal design concepts and proficiency in developing and maintaining effective community partnerships are key competencies.


  • Keep abreast of relevant trends in technology, learning, audience engagement and evaluation, as well as research methodologies; design studies/projects that support the zoo in responding to potential implications of such trends
  • Establish zoo as an applied theory research site for learning, animal/welfare perception, social innovation, and conservation psychology
  • Examine the use of appropriate technology in exhibitry/programming to deepen and enhance learning and engagement
  • Participate in strategic discussions regarding the zoo mission, identifying the top areas of need, how to make change, and how to quantitatively/qualitatively monitor change; continually ensure that research and evaluation findings are effectively used to inform decision-making
  • In collaboration with VP, Learning & Innovation, and other key personnel, define research agenda for the zoo. Plans, develops and implements research project in collaboration with zoo leadership and staff
  • Implement measurement, learning, and evaluation practices; support the integration of iterative learning processes across the zoo
  • Oversee team that works within and between departments to incorporate evidence-based practices into zoo experiences
  • Widely disseminate learnings in different settings to both internal and external audiences, including but not limited to presentations, conferences, peer-reviewed journals, white papers, blogs, and newsletters
  • Oversee a portfolio of innovation activities, including developing a pipeline of projects, launching initiatives, and directing pilot projects to help drive the zoo’s long-term strategic goals
  • Build partnerships locally and nationally at agencies and institutions with common interests
  • Conceptualize, write, and oversee grants in collaboration with the Development Department
  • Perform other duties as assigned


This position will supervise a team of regular and grant-funded staff. This position requires the ability to interact effectively with peers in cross-functional roles in order to be successful.


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.

  • Strategic, global and creative thinker who is able to challenge current assumptions and isn’t afraid of pushing the boundaries and taking risks; able to imagine, explore and implement cutting edge and experimental programming
  • Creative, resourceful, and adaptive problem solver who is passionate about research, technology, learning science, and engagement
  • Ability to anticipate needs and challenges, take initiative, ask questions, and provide solutions to achieve department and organization objectives
  • Strong interpersonal skills, ability to lead and motivate teams, bring in and support different perspectives, and to work with diverse populations and a variety of stakeholders (staff, executive leaders, donors, board members, school and government administrators, volunteers and visitors, etc.)
  • Excellent analytical, critical thinking and organizational skills are essential. Fluency in either qualitative/quantitative research method with advanced knowledge of the other
  • Ability to communicate complex information in a way that is understandable and engaging to broad audiences; comfortable speaking to groups in varied settings
  • Must be enthusiastic and customer service oriented and deal with clients in a courteous and professional manner
  • Commitment to the mission of the zoo and the institution’s Core Values.


Advanced degree or equivalent experience in conservation psychology, psychology, anthropology, sociology, data science, applied science, or other relevant fields

A minimum of 10-12 years combined education and experience in applied research

Experience as a thought leader in an organization; exploring and defining insights and communicating them


Proficient and experienced with Microsoft Office applications (particularly Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook), as well as statistical software packages (preferably SPSS or SAS). Must be able to work with customized databases and technology.


Must be enthusiastic and customer service-oriented and able to work with guests in a courteous and professional manner. Enjoy working with the public including people of different ages and other diversity markers.


Ability to read, analyze, and interpret the most complex documents. Ability to respond effectively to the most sensitive inquiries or complaints. Ability to write presentations and articles using original or innovative techniques or style. Ability to make effective and persuasive presentations on controversial or complex topics to senior leaders, public groups, and/or boards of directors.


Ability to define problems, collect data, establish facts, and draw valid conclusions. Ability to interpret an extensive variety of technical instructions in mathematical or diagram form and deal with several abstract and concrete variables.


The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

Occasionally, this position may work amidst outdoor weather conditions. Due to the nature of responsibilities for this position, weekend, evening, and holiday work may be required.

APPLICATION DEADLINE: This position will remain open until filled; priority will be given to applications received before September 28th.

Woodland Park Zoo is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, dedicated to a policy of non-discrimination in employment on any basis including race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, disability, veteran’s status, sexual orientation, or gender identity/expression.

About the Organization Award-winning Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle is famed for pioneering naturalistic exhibits and setting the standard for zoos all over the world. We connect people with wildlife and hit them in the heart with a visceral reminder of what's at stake in our changing world. Our job is to motivate people to take action and provide them with the tools needed to join us in saving endangered species. That means our conservation efforts start right here at the zoo and in our community.

Join us on our mission to save wildlife and inspire everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives.  
Exempt/Non-Exempt Exempt  
Pay Rate DOE  
Full-Time/Part-Time Full-Time  
Reports To Vice President, Learning and Innovation  
Category Learning & Innovation  
Close Date 3/31/2019  
Number of Openings 1  
Shift Days  
EOE Statement We are an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, national origin, genetics, disability status, protected veteran status or any other characteristic protected by law.  
Req Number EDU-18-00039  

This position is currently not accepting applications.

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