Baton Rouge Zoo Foundation Executive Director

The Executive Director must work to ensure an internal organizational culture of transparency and accountability, teamwork, and openness to change, serving as an accessible leader.  Direct reports currently include: Director of Development and Marketing/data entry coordinator.


Key Responsibilities Include:


I.  Build and Nurture a Close and Strategic Partnership with the Baton Rouge Zoo Foundation and Other Key Stakeholders.


A.    Baton Rouge Zoo – The Baton Rouge Zoo (the support of which is BRZF’s sole mission) is a department of the Recreation and Park Commission of the Parish of East Raton Rouge “BREC”). As such, building and nurturing a close and strategic relationship with the Zoo is paramount to BRZF achieving its mission. The BRZF Executive Director will meet with the Zoo Director on a regular basis to ensure alignment of our missions and to promote transparency. The Executive Director will build relationships with other key Zoo department leaders in furtherance of a close and strategic partnership and in carrying out certain key obligations. These obligations include securing event sponsors and assist in the funding of the implementation of the Zoo Master Plan; and fostering relationships within the community of Baton Rouge in order to increase the visibility of the BRZF.


B.    BREC – The Executive Director will prepare regular reports to the BREC Commission at the request of the Zoo Director.  The Executive Director will champion the development and implementation of a strong and consistent platform to galvanize support and maintain focus on the mission; build and support the funding implementation of the Zoo Master Plan which will increase the number of individuals served by the Zoo and drive attendance and increase Zoo revenues; and lead the BRZF in promoting community advocacy for a Zoo and BREC tax elections which support the Zoo Master Plan.  Renegotiating the CEA with BREC.


C.    The BRZF Staff – The Executive Director will lead BRZF staff members to achieve the goals of the Foundation by inspiring them through personal dedication to the organization. The Executive Director will create a work environment that attracts and retains top talent; develop staff through the mutual creation of personal and group goals; and identify training needs and promote professional growth.


D.    The BRZF Board of Directors – The Executive Director will work to advance Board capacity and effective decision making by promoting proactive Board development, education and BRZF communications.  This includes working with Board leadership on identification, recruitment, selection and orientation of new Board members.


II.   Fundraising and Sponsorship.


Along with building strategic partnerships with the Zoo and other stakeholders in the community, fundraising, together with securing event sponsors and financial stewardship, is the other key responsibility of the Executive Director.


A.    Fundraising – The Executive Director will lead the development of strategies for the solicitation and stewardship of major gifts, annual giving, and capital gifts from individuals, foundations and corporations. The Executive Director will oversee the fundraising efforts for Brew at the Zoo, Zoo Run Run and Wild Wine Walk which support the Zoo’s conservation efforts, and will develop and implement plans for a comprehensive and coordinated capital campaign in support of the Baton Rouge Zoo's new Master Plan.


B.     Sponsorship – The Executive Director will lead the development of strategies for the solicitation of sponsors for all Zoo and  BRZF events and educational programs from individuals, foundations and corporations. The Executive Director will encourage a culture that identifies opportunities to generate new sponsors while improving relationships with current sponsors.


C.     Ensure Financial Management – The Executive Director will ensure the adequacy and soundness of the BRZF’s financial structure and review projections for BRZF’s working capital requirements. The Executive Director will oversee the development of budgets for submission to the BRZF Board; communicate this information to the Board through proper and timely financial reporting; and ensure that there are ongoing adequate and appropriate accounting and financial controls in place.


Traits and Characteristics Desired:

The ideal candidate is a team builder, mentor, and seasoned leader who operates with a strategic perspective while executing the day-to-day activities. The Executive Director will encourage an entrepreneurial culture that identifies opportunities and will be a dynamic, visionary, forward-thinking leader with an entrepreneurial spirit who has shown success in building widespread support for an organization through collective efforts with internal and external stakeholders. A strong business acumen and courage to shift direction and experiment with new initiatives for the future growth of BRZF, must be combined with unquestioned integrity and a long- term perspective. Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including outstanding public speaking skills are essential, as the Executive Director will represent the BRZF to its various constituencies. The Executive Director will have strong interpersonal skills, be a natural relationship builder, and have a sense of humor. Proven fundraising experience and the ability to relate comfortably with a variety of constituencies including public officials, foundations, and individuals are essential. The Executive Director will be politically savvy, a good listener who is accessible and a coalition-builder who can work on multiple levels with a wide variety of constituencies. An inclusive, inspiring and empowering leadership style that endorses teamwork and open, transparent communication will be highly valued. This individual will accomplish goals through motivation, the delegation of authority, and the use of systems that are designed for effective planning, evaluation, and accountability. The successful candidate will have critical thinking skills and will display integrity and good judgment.


Career Track Leading to the Position:

The ideal candidate will have at least ten years of experience in a senior strategic leadership position in the nonprofit sector with experience managing in a complex organization with multiple stakeholders (board, staff, donors, volunteers, elected officials, and partner organizations).


Although the individual could come from a variety of fields and disciplines, it would be helpful if the Executive Director has lived or worked in Baton Rouge. Experience in building a donor base and increasing support, combined with a record of success in developing sponsorships, building teams and resolving conflict is important. The successful candidate will have prior experience creating work environments that are inclusive, positive and productive. This individual must demonstrate a high level of intelligence and intellectual curiosity and a desire to explore new ideas and innovative approaches to solving problems. The successful candidate will have experience working collaboratively with a Board of Directors in executing a vision and mission.


Education: An undergraduate degree is required.  Training, experience or advanced degree in business or nonprofit management is preferred.


Area of Study (major): Concentration in Business, Marketing, Public relations, Mass

Communications or related field required; Development, Public Relations preferred.


Certification(s): N/A


License(s): Must be able to obtain a valid LA Driver's License within six months of hire.


Years Relevant Work Experience: Minimum (5) years of progressive experience with capital

fund-raising. Equivalent combination of education and/or experience may be considered required; 10 or more years of work-related experience in program area preferred.


Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:

Must have notable relationship building or fundraising planning, training and executive experience
Experience with managing and overseeing sponsorship contracts is desired
Experience with assessing and measuring achievement of goals is desired
Must be able to motivate and support board members, staff, board, and partners to reach targeted annual fundraising and sponsorship goals
Excellent written, verbal and interpersonal skills
Confident in public speaking, able to express ideas
Time management and flexible
Experience in leading, inspiring, and supervising staff and board members
Ability to identify and cultivate key relationships
Ability to work well with people from all backgrounds with varying degree of experience.
Ability to handle multiple projects
Ability to be held accountable for productivity standards
Creative, self-starter attitude, well-organized
Donor and board volunteer service mentality



Essential Functions and Duties:

Capital Campaign

Oversee and administer capital campaigns to support the Zoo’s master plan
Identify and inventory capital naming opportunities and solicit donors to meet BRZF revenue goals
Cultivate and manage donor relationships
Negotiate, author, review and process donor proposals
Provide periodic reports to the BRZF Board which measure progress towards achieving the plan
Build and sustain working relationships and communication with the philanthropic community      


Oversee sponsorship solicitation for all events and applicable programs at the Zoo
Identify and inventory sponsorship opportunities and solicit sponsors to meet revenue goals
Coordinate with Zoo staff the management and implementation of conservation fund raising events     
Develop, maintain, and carry out sponsorship policies and procedures


Oversee grant opportunities to support the Zoo’s mission
Work with applicable Zoo staff to identify potential grant opportunities
Seek grants that support the Zoo’s mission
Administer grants according to grant guidelines and requirements
Work with applicable Zoo staff to monitor plans and timelines for all grants to ensure benchmarks are met and projects are completed on time




Full time, minimum 8 hours a day, 5 days a week; occasional weekend events; lunch break daily, other breaks as needed.



Environment: This individual generally works in a typical office environment with no extreme

temperatures, excessive noise or exposure to other adverse conditions.

Mental Involvement: A sufficient degree of mental ability is required to prepare accurate statements in a limited timeframe. Ability to understand and manage budgets and financial matters.

Language Skills: A strong command of the English language – verbal and written– is required in order to communicate clearly and concisely and to interpret information and reports.

Physical Demands: This position can be described as sedentary – largely sitting, with occasional walking and/or standing in connection with working in other areas of the department.

Sitting: Position requires sitting, usually for extended periods of time.
Standing: Not a strict requirement
Walking: Position requires walking to distribute reports and conducting offsite audits
Climbing: Position requires climbing stairs to access the upper level of BREC building
Turning/Twisting/Bending/Stooping: Not a strict requirement.
Pushing/Pulling/Turning/Reaching/Squatting/Lifting: Pushing or pulling would be entailed only in terms of light lifting (maximum 25 lbs.) – e.g. to retrieve files; this could be performed by another individual.
Manual Dexterity: Position requires sufficient hand control to write, dial a telephone and operate a keyboard, switches and calculator. Must be able to grasp and operate tools and equipment.
Visual Acuity: Position requires near visual acuity, natural or corrected to read, write, and inspect data and figures. Also, must be able to transcribe information, data and numbers.



Basic office equipment including, but not limited to personal computer, 10-key calculator, fax, phone, system printer, scanner, computer, donor software. Must be able to travel throughout the parish to meet with board, donors, and stakeholders within the community.



Annual compensation will be competitive and relocation assistance, if needed, is negotiable. A comprehensive benefits package will be provided.