Share Email Opening

Empathy Initiatives Director 


Love animals? Want to make a positive impact on the planet? Come join Woodland Park Zoo as the Empathy Initiatives Director. 

The mission of the Woodland Park Zoo is to save wildlife and inspire everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives. The Director of Empathy Initiatives will contribute to this mission by leading the implementation of the Empathy Initiatives at Woodland Park Zoo. The goals of zoo’s grant-funded empathy initiatives are to: inspire and empower zoo audiences to save wildlife and their habitats; build strong community collaborations and partnerships to advance the zoo’s mission and strategic goals; and support and grow a network of zoos and aquariums that use empathy for animals to motivate conservation behaviors.

The Director for Empathy Initiatives will be the zoo’s lead spokesperson for the Empathy Initiatives with partners, donors, the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) community, as well as internal zoo audiences. The Director will be responsible for meeting the timelines and expectations of the current grants and for procuring additional funding to continue, enhance, and extend the impact of the work beyond the terms of the current grants. Anchored in the lessons learned from the development of the ACE for Wildlife Network, the Empathy Collaborative, and the work of being an intermediary for institutional capacity building grants, the Director will develop collaborations and partnerships to advance the empathy as part of the social movement for wildlife conservation.


• Establish the Woodland Park Zoo as an AZA leader in understanding the connections between animal welfare, public perceptions, and pro-environmental behavior and represent WPZ on external committees that serve to strengthen the zoo's position as a community leader.

• Manage the team responsible for the implementation of large grant-based projects, including budget oversight, donor relations, and the submission of quality deliverables.

  • Lead and expand a network of zoos, aquariums, and other informal science institutions to advance wildlife conservation through empathy practices, training, and evaluation.
  • Oversee the zoo’s work as an intermediary for a capacity building grant program that supports partner institutions to expand empathy initiatives.
  • Advance the capacity of a network of AZA institutions nationally to develop, implement, and evaluate programming and experiences that foster empathy for animals.
  • Create and strengthen local and regional community partnerships to enhance the impact of the empathy initiatives.

• Serve as a member of the zoo's Senior Leadership team. Represent the Learning and Innovation department in zoo management and planning meetings, at events, in professional meetings, and with the media as needed.

  • Participate in strategic discussions and planning regarding the zoo’s mission and the department’s goals, help to develop evaluation tools to monitor progress toward goals, and use data to inform decisions.
  • Work with partners across zoo departments to incorporate evidence-based practices informed by the Empathy Initiatives into zoo experiences for guests, volunteers, staff, and the public.
  • Develop and integrate goals and outcomes related to diversity, equity, and inclusion into all aspects of the work.

•  Define, plan, develop, and implement research projects in collaboration with zoo leadership and staff; disseminate findings in various settings to both internal and external audiences.

• Conceptualize and pursue fundraising opportunities in collaboration with the Development Department.

• Build partnerships locally and nationally with individuals in professional organizations, agencies, and institutions with aligned interests and goals.


• Advanced degree or equivalent experience in social, natural, or behavioral science, or related field; six (6) or more years combined education and experience in applied research, project management, or social movement leadership; and/or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

• Two or more years of management experience.

• Experience as a thought leader within an organization or field; exploring, defining, and communicating insights, and

  • Maintaining a multi-institutional network of partners with shared outcomes and interests, or
  • Working collaboratively with a variety of stakeholders and individuals from all sectors of the community.

• Experience integrating a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion in all aspects of the work, including but not limited to, the evaluation of programs and projects as well as the development and management of people and partnerships.

• Ability to communicate complex information in a way that is understandable and engaging to broad audiences in varied settings.

• Ability to work effectively within diverse teams and environments.

• Ability to identify, cultivate, and maintain relationships with community leaders, partner organizations, and a complex stakeholder network.

• Ability to evaluate problems and to effectively solve them in a timely manner and to respond to concerns with empathy and inclusivity.

• Ability to delegate responsibilities, work with others; mentor and coach employees; and support staff development.

• Ability to support employees’ development, progress, and goal achievement through regular meetings, helpful and behaviorally specific feedback, managing workloads and priorities, and creating the conditions for success in their roles; ability to receive constructive feedback from employees and supervisors.

• Ability to ensure strategic vision becomes alive through the departmental operations, processes, and policies.

• Ability to set and achieve measurable goals and contributing to the common good by creating, resourcing, scaling, and leveraging strategies and innovations for investment and impact.

• Ability to participate and/or initiate external team interaction, such as working with board committees, attending zoo events, and fundraising events.

• Excellent critical thinking and organizational skills.


• Five or more years of management experience with both direct and indirect reports.

• Experience in managing competitive grant awards processes and programs.

• Experience managing capacity building grants that have resulted in sustainable institutional changes.

• Experience publishing peer-reviewed research.

• Ability to think strategically, challenge assumptions, push boundaries, and take risks.

• Fluency in social innovation, conservation psychology, free-choice learning, or advanced knowledge of similar fields.

• Passionate about research, education theories, learning science, engagement, and community partnerships.

• Passionate about wildlife conservation and shifting perspectives and behaviors to support improved population sustainability outcomes for wildlife.


• This position may be required to lift and/or move up to 30 pounds.

• Reasonable accommodations may be made to perform essential functions.


While performing the duties of this job, the employee is exposed to a typical office environment and outdoor weather conditions. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

Want to know more? Read the full job description here! 

Applicants must be at least 18 years old. A criminal background check will be required of the selected applicant. 

Application Directions: Applications are accepted online through our Jobs Page at; no other forms of application will be accepted. Cover letter and resume are required. 

Woodland Park Zoo is an equal opportunity employer, dedicated to a policy of non-discrimination in application and employment for any reason, including race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, national origin, age, disability or medical status including genetic information, and/or veteran’s status. 

Woodland Park Zoo is committed to providing access and reasonable accommodation in all of its services. If you need accommodation in the application or interview process, please contact our recruiting team at


Full-Time/Part-Time Full-Time  
Exempt/Non-Exempt Exempt  
Req Number LEA-21-00010  
EOE Statement Woodland Park Zoo is an equal opportunity employer, dedicated to a policy of non-discrimination in application and employment for any reason, including race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, national origin, age, disability or medical status including genetic information, and/or veteran’s status.

This position is currently not accepting applications.

To search for an open position, please go to


Other Jobs Within Same Category
Learning Coordinator (Volunteer Engagement) in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 8/10/2022
[Apply Now]

Children's Programs Manager in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 7/28/2022
[Apply Now]

Learning Coordinator (Registration and Operations) in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 7/18/2022
[Apply Now]

Guest Engagement Manager in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 7/7/2022
[Apply Now]

Evaluation Specialist in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 6/30/2022
[Apply Now]

Other Jobs Within 60 Miles
Audio/Visual System Technician in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 4/25/2022
[Apply Now]

System Support Technician in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 4/25/2022
[Apply Now]

Learning Coordinator (Program Development & Delivery) in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 6/21/2022
[Apply Now]

Evaluation Specialist in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 6/30/2022
[Apply Now]

Guest Engagement Manager in Seattle, WA
Posted on: 7/7/2022
[Apply Now]


Click here for technical assistance.