Job Postings

Executive Director


Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo

Closing Date
September 1, 2019

Executive Director, The Zoo Foundation, Inc. dba the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo
The Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo seeks to recruit a visionary and dynamic leader to serve as Executive Director.

Mission and Background

The mission of the Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo is “to create compelling experiences that connect people and community with wildlife, and inspire personal responsibility for conservation of the natural world.”
The Zoo Foundation, Inc. was formed as a not-for-profit in 1991. It is located in the coastal town of Gulf Shores, world-renowned for its beautiful white-sand beaches, where it is one of the most popular family attractions in the region. Also known as the “Little Zoo” for its starring role in the 2006 hit documentary series, The Little Zoo That Could on Animal Planet, this non-profit zoological park is not just a little community zoo; it’s home to close to 500 animals, consisting of 118 species and haven to 22 critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, or near threatened species. The Zoo is in the process of moving from a low-lying seven-and-a-half-acre park location to a new twenty-five acre, modern hurricane-safe facility four miles north that will be completed this fall.
The mission of the AGCZ is to offer guests of all ages educational experiences that are accessible, engaging and meaningful. That means providing current, science-based information about our animals, and most importantly, an awareness about the real threat of mass extinction our planet’s wildlife faces over the next decades. The Zoo seeks to teach all who are interested how conservation can help prevent this from happening. The critically endangered, endangered, vulnerable, or near threatened species are a vital part of this education initiative.

The Executive Director is the senior leader for the Zoo operation. The Executive Director should possess sophisticated management, fundraising, and strategic capabilities along with in depth experience in zoo operations. Moreover, the Executive Director must be able to direct, motivate and inspire a professional staff – treating all staff with respect, consideration and thoughtfulness. This person needs to bring genuine excitement and commitment to Zoo’s mission. Because so much of what the Executive Director will do involves communicating the organization’s vision and building relationships with multiple stakeholders, the Executive Director must have the presence, humility and interpersonal skills to work effectively and professionally with a diverse range of stakeholders. The Executive Director promotes wildlife education and conservation within the community, donors, friends of the Zoo, state and local governmental agencies and other non-governmental organizations through meetings, speaking engagements, media interviews, writing, and general communications.

The Executive Director reports directly to the Board of Directors and leads the Senior Management Team of the AGCZ. The Executive Director has seven direct reports: Curator, Facilities Manager, Chief Financial Officer, Events Manager, Human Resources Director, Veterinarian, and Office Manager.

Education and Pre-requisites

The Executive Director ideally should possess the following professional qualifications and personal attributes:

Professional Qualifications:
• Record of successful zoo leadership; minimum of ten (10) years experience
• Familiarity with and a proven track record working on conservation issues
• Capacity to lead, inspire and mobilize people – particularly leaders, staff, donors, and other key stakeholders.
• Possessing a management style that is results-oriented, but flexible; that respects the capabilities and independence of staff and provides them with a clear sense of direction.
• Visionary leader possessing an ability to increase the organization’s fundraising standing by helping secure grants and investments from individuals and institutions.
• Proven record of success guiding a business or nonprofit enterprise and a deep familiarity with the budgeting processes.
• Bachelor’s degree required with an advanced degree or equivalent experience strongly preferred.
• Strong work ethic and willingness to represent the Zoo at evening events and on weekends, some travel as needed
• Experience with capital asset management and tax-exempt bond financing
• Experience supervising development efforts, campaign fundraising leadership, and donor relations management

Personal Attributes:
• Passionate commitment to the values and mission of the AGCZ and a demonstrated conservation ethic.
• Personal creativity and strategic vision coupled with an ability to listen to others and learn from their best ideas – a sense of inquisitiveness and intellectual curiosity.
• Ability to inspire trust, lead and facilitate with strong interpersonal skills and move from ideas to action.
• A superb professional and personal presence.
• Ability to think strategically, tactically and creatively.

Compensation and benefits


Compensation for the Executive Director includes a competitive base salary, and a package of health and employee benefits.

Application instructions

How to apply:

Interested candidates should submit the following required application documents: a cover letter responding specifically to the experience and qualifications being sought, a current resume and list of at least 5 work related references with contact information to:
Adam Langston, Interim Director & Veterinarian
Alabama Gulf Coast Zoo
1204 Gulf Shores Parkway
Gulf Shores, AL 36542
No phone inquiries please. Proof of education will be required prior to final selection.

Initial review of candidates will begin Monday, June 17, 2019. Applicants submitting all required documents which are received by the Zoo by June 14, 2019 are guaranteed consideration. However, resumes will be accepted until the position is filled.

The Zoo Foundation, Inc. is interested in the successful candidate starting as soon as possible, but no later than September 1, 2019.

The Zoo Foundation, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer and invites individuals who bring a diversity of culture, experience and ideas to apply.

All correspondence will remain confidential while the search is ongoing.