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Chief People Officer 


Love animals? Want to make a positive impact on the planet? Come join Woodland Park Zoo as Chief People Officer. 

Organizational Overview

Woodland Park Zoo is a conservation organization that is determined to both build upon its proud history of innovation and leadership and embrace a rapid metamorphosis.  In our 92-acre urban oasis, more than 1.3 million guests a year of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities engage in deeply memorable experiences with 300 species of animals and with each other.  Online visitors to our website exceed our annual on-site attendance.  In collaboration with our community, our partners, our members and visitors, and our talented staff and volunteers, we aspire to rethink and redefine ourselves and all zoos for the 21st century, to do no less than act, educate, innovate, and inspire a broad social movement for wildlife conservation.


Woodland Park Zoo saves wildlife and inspires everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives.


Woodland Park Zoo envisions a world where everyone lives sustainably with wildlife and their habitats.

Core Values: Trust, Inclusion, Care, Transformation, Collaboration, Hope

Core Strategic Principles: Social Change, Inclusion, Education, Sustainability, Community, Innovation, Leadership, Accountability 

Position Overview

The Chief People Officer provides strategic direction and leadership for organization-wide human resource strategy, programs, and policies in support of the overall Strategic Plan and operational plans of the zoo, specifically in the areas of organizational culture, staff well-being, talent management, change management, organizational and performance management, training and development, and compensation. The Chief People Officer provides strategic leadership by articulating needs and plans to enable employees, Executive Leadership Team and the Board of Directors to successfully support the strategic and operational plans with solid talent management plans. Develops a positive employer brand and supports an organizational culture that is respectful of the organization’s core values. Key areas of focus include:

  • Organizational Culture
  • Organizational objectives of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)
  • Staff well-being and sense of belonging
  • Employee compensation and benefits
  • Payroll administration
  • Labor relations, safety and compliance
  • Workforce training and professional development
  • Recruiting and retention
  • Performance management and HR systems


As a member of the zoo's 7-member Executive Leadership Team, develops strategies to ensure policies and practices for achieving the organization’s mission. In partnership with the President/CEO and Board, support the zoo’s core values, guide the development and execution of the zoo’s strategic and operating plans, goals, and budgets, and communicate a broad vision to the organization and the community.

Reporting to the President & CEO, the Chief People Officer of Woodland Park Zoo oversees 5 direct reports (Compensation & Benefits Senior Manager, Employee Engagement Manager, HR & Contact Tracing Administrator, Training & Development Manager, and Executive DEAI Advisor), and 6 indirect reports in the People & Culture Department.  The zoo has around 290 regular employees, with up to 500 in peak season, with a budget of approximately $44M. 

Position Accountabilities

  • Build and maintain a desired organizational culture including workplace practices and human resources policies and programs aimed at improving productivity, efficiency, and morale throughout organization.
  • Articulate and build a relationship between the zoo’s external vision and the health and wellness of its workforce, with particular attention to rebuilding sense of belonging and unity after the COVID pandemic.
  • Develop policies and practices that enhance workforce cohesion in the context of post pandemic changes for onsite, hybrid and remote work modalities as well as reorganized workspaces.
  • Direct the development and implementation of organization-wide human resource plans, policies, and practices in accordance with stated zoo mission, strategic vision, and values.
  • Function as a strategic advisor to the CEO and Executive Leadership Team (ELT) of each department regarding key organizational and management issues.
  • Collaborate with executives and senior leadership to understand the organizational goals and strategy related to staffing, recruiting, retention, and transparency.
  • Develop comprehensive human resources development plan, including standardized set of competencies, management training, advancement opportunities, and career pipelines.
  • Assures compliance with human resources safety and legal requirements at the local, state, and federal levels.
  • Manages employee relations in the context of unionized and non-unionized workforce, including the periodic negotiation of Collective Bargaining Agreements with the zoo’s represented workforce.
  • This position is directly responsible for leading managers and employees of the People & Culture Department.


Organizational Effectiveness

  • Ensure and implement appropriate policies for effective management of the people resources of the organization. Included in this area but not limited to performance management, workforce planning, regulatory compliance and strong internal communications and controls.
  • Develop a clear vision for the future of the organization.  Maintain a long-term, big-picture view of the organization and identify the long-term, future needs and opportunities.  Anticipate the evolution and future trends of our sector and how the organization must adapt to these changes to advance our mission.
  • Develop and deploy a human resources management system that integrates our strategic vision with an organization wide leadership development process, and all relevant talent management processes. Advise and coach on performance and discipline processes, issues, and challenges.
  • Provide all department leaders with direct counsel and support for building a culture of excellence, innovation, and trust.
  • Work with outside contractors and legal partners to develop additional processes and systems such as a performance management platform, benefits design, compliance training, EAP, and employee wellness programs in place to support the zoo.
  • Direct, motivate and develop People & Culture team members to design and implement “Best-Practices” programs and services viewed as relevant and vital to the organization’s ongoing success. Build a people culture that is responsive, service-oriented, and flexible.
  • Oversee departmental budget as well as payroll, and benefit operations. Ensure appropriate use and compliance of paper and electronic personnel and payroll records. Support time and budget accommodating for grants, projects, and compliance.
  • Utilize external best practices and benchmark standards, monitor costs and key trends in human resources plans and budgets.
  • Engage in professional societies or networks to foster strong relationships with key partner organizations, individuals, and stakeholders to harness support, create a positive environment for the zoo, and enhance its organizational impact.
  • Establish and maintain a strong, effective partnership with Board members to foster a culture of collaboration, cooperation, and consultation. Prepare materials for the Board as needed.
  • Participate as senior staff liaison to the DEI Board Task Force. Support the Board committee on CEO Evaluation and Compensation activities.
  • Stay abreast of important trends (including policy changes, technological, social, and economic) that could potentially impact the organization.


Organizational Effectiveness

Deep awareness of the organization and its core capabilities and vulnerabilities. Drive the zoo’s mission through the support of comprehensive human resources policies and implementation. Support the zoo’s operational as a non-profit organization that receives public and private funding. Support the zoo’s business and earned revenue goals. Clearly communicate the organization’s vision and goals; excite, and energize people behind the vision and direction, building consensus and collaboration.

Operating Responsibility

  • Leverage complex systems of people and processes, create connections between people and processes, and align them with vision and strategy. Manages the transition to hybrid and remote workspaces for a portion of the workforce. Manages, negotiates, and implements Collective Bargaining Agreements with the zoo’s unionized workforce. Envision and drive changes and sponsor and support changes championed by others. Establish appropriate performance measures to ensure organizational success.
  • Prepare and deliver employee performance evaluations, appropriate disciplinary actions, and documentation of excellent work performance to assure a mutual understanding of goals and progress towards ever improving professional achievement.



  • A BS/BA degree from an accredited college/university.  MBA or MA/MS in human resources or related field, preferred.
  • A minimum of 15 years of HR experience, with at least five years of executive HR experience. Additional international HR experience preferred.
  • SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM-SCP) or SHRM Certified Professional (SHRM-CP) certification preferred.
  • A Valid Washington State Driver’s License (or the ability to obtain one).
  • Mature professional with strong organizational, leadership, and management skills.
  • Ability to multi-task in a fast-paced environment with excellent communication skills (verbal, written, and interpersonal).
  • Excellent time management skills, conflict resolution, competency with online administrative systems, reading, and writing skills. Strong negotiation skills
  • Ability to display sensitivity, tact, and responsiveness in various situations and maintain a high level of confidentiality.
  • Ability to organize and analyze statistical data and prepare comprehensive reports, as required, establishing and maintaining effective working relationships with managers and employees.
  • Broad knowledge of employment, compensation, organizational planning, employee, and labor relations; as well as training and professional development. Ability to develop and understand contracts.
  • Comprehensive in-depth knowledge of the laws and regulations pertaining to employment and labor practices.
  • Experienced skills in leading organizational efforts toward diversity, inclusion, belonging, equity, and entrepreneurial spirit while constantly promoting the organization’s vision, culture, and mission both internally and externally.
  • Set example of a visible, transparent, and accessible executive, reflecting the zoo’s culture and values.
  • Knowledge of and experience with varied HRIS - human resource information systems. Proficient with Microsoft Office Suite or equivalent software.
  • Inspire, motivate, and marshal resources throughout entire organization.
  • Ability to design, track, and manage multiple projects simultaneously, setting deadlines, and ensuring outcomes for program accountability.
  • Commitment to the mission of the zoo and the organization’s core values.
  • Experienced in clear and persuasive writing and editing of proposals and documents. Ability to read and analyze financial reports, contracts, and legal documents. Ability to communicate effectively with influential people and to command attention. Ability to effectively present information to top management, employees, and/or board of directors. Ability to respond to inquiries or complaints from zoo visitors, regulatory agencies, or community members. Working knowledge of additional languages beyond American English a plus.
  • Ability to calculate figures and amounts such as discounts, interest, commissions, proportions, percentages, area, circumference, and volume.  Ability to evaluate business plans and financial reports.
  • Ability to think strategically, creating competitive, and breakthrough strategies and plans organization wide.  Ability to make strategic decisions based on analysis, wisdom, experience, and judgment. Ability to deal with a variety of abstract and concrete variables.  Ability to apply principles of logical or scientific thinking to a wide range of intellectual and practical problems.  Ability to evaluate and understand other people’s motivations, interests, and perceptions.


Work Environment and Physical Demands

While the zoo offers hybrid (remote and onsite) working conditions, it is expected that this executive position would operate mostly onsite. The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Must occasionally lift and/or move up to 35 pounds.
  • Position requires ability to work evenings and weekends and the occasional long hours.
  • While performing the duties of this job, the employee is exposed to a typical office environment and/or outdoor weather conditions. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.


Pay: $180,000 - $220,000 annually plus benefits

Employment Requirements: 

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and have a valid WA driver's license. A criminal background check and driving record review will be required of the selected applicant.

COVID-19 Vaccination  

  • As of November 24, 2021, employees working on or accessing zoo grounds are required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. If hired, you will be required to submit proof of vaccination by your first day of employment. 
  • People are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose in a two-dose series or two weeks after a single-dose vaccine. 
  • Employees may make requests for a reasonable accommodation based on a medical disability or for sincerely held religious beliefs. Philosophical, political, scientific, or sociological objections to vaccination will not be considered for an exemption or accommodation. 

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 PEO-22-00002  
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


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