The Opportunity

Fresno Chaffee Zoo, a beloved community organization situated at the gateway to the Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon National Parks, seeks a Chief Executive Officer/Executive Director (CEO) to lead the zoo at a time of evolution and promise. The CEO will provide the vision and strategy to lead an organization already on an upward trajectory. In 2006, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo transitioned from a zoo owned and operated by the City of Fresno to a private zoo managed by Fresno’s Chaffee Zoo Corporation, a not-for-profit public benefit corporation.

Community care for the zoo is evidenced by the overwhelming voter support for Measure Z in both 2004 and 2014, which allocated 0.1% of the sales tax collected in Fresno County to support zoo operations and capital improvements. Measure Z is reauthorized by Fresno voters every ten years and will be considered again in 2024. Since first passing in 2004, Measure Z has generated in excess of $182.2 million in funding for zoo operations, exhibits, and capital projects. Such changes in funding and management have established the Fresno Chaffee Zoo as a leading institution of conservation, education, and recreation. Fresno Chaffee Zoo has seen attendance double in the last decade and welcomes more than 800,000 visitors annually.

The next CEO will guide Fresno Chaffee Zoo in its goal to become a world-class zoo. Under the direction of its future chief executive, Fresno Chaffee Zoo aims to grow as a leader in animal care, guest experience, workplace satisfaction, education, exhibit design, and conservation. Priorities include improving the organization’s financial position each year through private philanthropy; continuing to engage local attendance and elevate support, while expanding reach beyond the region; discovering new ways to engage and educate guests of all ages; increasing the zoo’s local and international wildlife conservation impact; serving as a cornerstone to uplift an already vibrant neighborhood; and leading in the application of green design.

Launched in 2017, the zoo’s strategic plan has already resulted in increased attendance and memberships, growth in the endowment and fundraising, and progress on capital projects. In recent years, the zoo has used Measure Z funding to present the Fresno community with award-winning exhibits like Sea Lion Cove, African Adventure, and Wilderness Falls, a park-themed water park recreation area.

Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s next leader will build on these gains, overseeing significant capital projects such as the construction of a transformative Kingdoms of Asia exhibit, the Zooplex (an animal kitchen, staff break area, and administrative space), an Animal Ambassador Building, a Conservation Building, and parking improvements, as well as future improvements to the Zoo Entrance and the addition of an African River exhibit.

The new CEO will assume leadership at a time of great opportunity for Fresno Chaffee Zoo and the broader Fresno community. The position calls for an individual who is skilled at fostering community relationships and will excel at passionately representing the zoo’s mission to all essential stakeholders. The CEO will have an important platform from which to enhance public understanding, support wildlife conservation through education and advocacy, and effect inspired and lasting change in a community that has lagged behind other large California cities in economic development

The zoo has demonstrated capacity in fundraising through individual donors, corporations, and foundations. The Board of Directors has determined that private philanthropy needs to be elevated, highlighting the zoo’s positive reputation while leveraging community-based good will. Having engaged The Phoenix Philanthropy Group, Board and staff are working collaboratively toward the development of a major gifts program and a possible $50 million capital campaign. Through the remainder of 2020 and into 2021, a full feasibility study will be conducted to test campaign priorities and community support. The new CEO will be expected to demonstrate progressively responsible experience in major gift fundraising and play a leadership role in identifying, cultivating, soliciting, and stewarding major gift prospects and donors. Leadership will be expected to make a compelling case for broadened support, as well as recruit and empower the appropriate team to achieve a successful development program and capital campaign.


Fresno Chaffee Zoo Beginnings

With roots dating back to 1907, what would become Fresno Chaffee Zoo opened as the Roeding Park Zoo in 1929. Growing organically over subsequent decades and adding new species of exotic animals, by 1947 the zoo hired their first foreman, Eldon “Curly” Blocker. Two years later, donations from thousands of school children and the Fresno Rotary Club facilitated the arrival of Nosey the elephant. This young elephant, who starred in a parade that year, was so loved by the community that the Fresno Zoological Society was formed in 1949 to raise funds and support for the zoo. The following decade saw multiple exhibits completed and, in 1957, Roeding Park Zoo became a member of the prestigious American Association of Zoological Parks and Aquariums, now the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

In 1963, the zoo began charging admission to support construction and operating costs. Two years later, Dr. Paul Chaffee joined as the first Director. Dr. Chaffee improved animal comfort and oversaw the drafting of the first master plan in 1968. The 1970s saw the zoo expand its educational and docent programs, as well as growing by a third. In the late ‘70s, the Park Zoo Fund was established to control revenue for improvements and, in 1979, the Edward A. Kane Reptile House was built as the world’s first computer-controlled reptile exhibit building. The following decade saw multiple renovations and improvements. Nosey, the beloved elephant, had her old asphalt exhibit replaced in 1982 with a large modern dirt exhibit with a waterfall, pool, and sturdy interior night quarters containing remote-controlled hydraulic doors. Two other female elephants and one male elephant joined her that year. It was the first time in 33 years that she had seen another of the species and it took her six months before she went into the pool. She became the herd matriarch and the pride and joy of Fresno. In 1984, the Doris & Karl Falk Wildlife Education Center was completed, becoming the backbone of the educational department. The following year, Roeding Park Zoo was renamed Fresno Zoo. The remainder of the ‘80s saw continued improvements to exhibits and diversification of the species represented. In 1988, the Tropical Rain Forest Exhibit was completed at a cost of about $2.2 million; this 55-foot, half-acre exhibit allows guests to experience rainforest species.

In 1990, Fresno Zoo was renamed Chaffee Zoological Gardens of Fresno in honor of longtime director Dr. Chaffee. In 1991, Ralph Waterhouse became the new Zoo Director; he focused on fiscal controls and elevating the standard of animal husbandry, conservation, and education. In 1991, the organization’s budget was transferred from the City’s General Fund into a Zoo Enterprise Fund in anticipation of privatization. By 1992, the zoo hired its first full-time veterinarian and had grown to be 18 acres. The late ‘90s saw improvements in education and educational facilities and the addition of novel guest experiences.

Fresno Chaffee Zoo in the 21st Century

In 2003, 10-year-old Angel Arellano sent a letter to the Fresno Bee expressing her support for the zoo with a modest contribution. Her thoughtful tribute resulted in a community-wide fundraising drive that culminated in Measure Z, first appearing on the ballot in November 2004. The tax measure required two-thirds of voters to approve 0.1% of County sales taxes to be allocated to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo and passed by a resounding 73%. The goal of privatization was realized when nonprofit Fresno’s Chaffee Zoo Corporation took over the Chaffee Zoo from the City of Fresno on January 1, 2006. The name of the zoo was changed to Fresno Chaffee Zoo and, in May 2006, Lewis Greene became the new CEO/Director. Three years later, in May 2009, Scott Barton became the new CEO/Director of Fresno Chaffee Zoo. Measure Z was renewed in 2014 for another 10 years.

The first major exhibit to be built using Measure Z funds was Sea Lion Cove. Completed in 2012, the $10.9 million project has been attributed with the robust increase in zoo attendance and was awarded with the 2014 Top Honor Exhibit Award by the AZA—the highest honor given to AZA member zoos and aquariums. In 2015, African Adventure, a $56 million world-class, multi-species exhibit complete with lions, African elephants, meerkats, cheetahs, giraffes, southern white rhinoceros, and zebras, opened to rave reviews and drove record attendance in 2016. Other exhibits and attractions at Fresno Chaffee Zoo include Roo Walkabout, an Australian walk-through exhibit featuring red kangaroos, wallaroos, wallabies, emu, and kookaburras; Stingray Bay, where guests can touch or feed cow-nose rays and southern stingrays; Twiga Terrace, an elevated giraffe feeding station; Dino Dig, where all can excavate fossils like paleontologists; Valley Farm, a petting zoo and farm that teaches visitors about the region’s agricultural contributions globally; and Wilderness Falls, a national parks themed water play area that opened in 2018.

Today, the 39-acre zoo is home to 1,123 animals representing 220 distinct species.  Community support for the zoo remains very strong with widespread approval of Measure Z, consistently high marks on social media, and the annual service of 1,350 volunteer workers contributing almost 40,000 hours per year.

Fresno Chaffee Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and is a member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Conservation and Education

Through contact with animals and a focus on education, Fresno Chaffee Zoo inspires wonder of the natural world, provides an engaging learning environment, and creates a passion for conservation in guests and participants. The zoo welcomes school groups for less structured field trips and more formal onsite programs, in addition to providing teacher resources. For those who cannot make a trip, the interactive virtual learning program broadcasts into classrooms where students learn from an educator in real time. Similarly, the Zootalk program brings natural history lectures to any location, while Zoomobile offers live presentations that introduce participants to a selection of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians. Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s community outreach program partners with local organizations to connect with the community and share the conservation message with the help of trained docent volunteers.

Because a passion for conservation can start at any age, the Tot Time program is designed to engage children ages 18 months to 5 years old (and parents) to learn about amazing animals together. Ensuring education continues beyond the school year, Extended Summer Learning, a collaboration with the Fresno and Madera unified school districts, offers digital, standards-based lesson modules with activities. The zoo also offers day-long and week-long camp programs grouped by age. There are additional opportunities for private events and overnight stays. These educational and behind-the-scenes programs connect visitors to animals through incredible up-close experiences and facilitate personal connections to individual animals. In 2018 alone, 793,000 people participated, through school field trips, workshops and tours, birthday encounters and overnights, Zoo Camp, interactive exhibits, zoo talks, and private events. Through these one-on-one experiences, guests of all ages understand how their actions impact wildlife, both individually and collectively.

In addition to inspiring visitors to advocacy, Fresno Chaffee Zoo advances conservation efforts through the Fresno Chaffee Zoo Wildlife Conservation Fund and by participating in two AZA programs focused on helping protect and restore animal populations. The AZA member zoos participating in the Species Survival Plan work to systematically develop breeding and management strategies to help protect some of the planet’s rarest animals and Fresno Chaffee Zoo is home to 89 species that are part of this plan. The other AZA program, SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction, harnesses the collective resources of zoos to focus on specific endangered species and works to restore healthy populations in the wild. The zoo’s animal collection represents 41 species that are endangered or extinct in their natural habitats. Fresno Chaffee Zoo supports critical research projects that protect and preserve wildlife and wild places around the world. In 2019, the Fresno Chaffee Zoo Wildlife Conservation Fund worked with 30 conservation projects across four continents and 17 countries to further research, expand conservation impact, share knowledge, and engage local communities.

For more information about Fresno Chaffee Zoo, please visit

Governance and Financial Health

The Fresno Chaffee Zoo has been privately managed since 2006, when Fresno’s Chaffee Zoo Corporation took over from the City of Fresno. With operational and financial responsibility for the zoo, the corporation runs and maintains the facilities and conducts the programs to support wildlife, conservation, education, and professional animal management in the community. The corporation is governed by a nine-member Board of Directors elected to staggered three-year terms. The Zoo Authority is the separate, public agency responsible for the administration of Measure Z funds, which is directed by a seven-member board consisting of the Mayor of Fresno and six Fresno County voters appointed by the Fresno County Board of Supervisors.

Overall, the zoo operates from a healthy financial position. Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s annual operating budget has been increasing each year, while simultaneously building financial reserves in excess of $10 million. The 2019 budget was $16.9 million and 2020 is $17.7 million. Approximately 30% of the budget derives from Measure Z funds with the balance coming from self-generated sources. One third of Measure Z funds may be used for operating expenses and two thirds are allocated for capital projects. Other monies come from earned revenue including admission fees, membership sales, event ticket sales, food service, facility rental, education fees, and retail.


Fresno Chaffee Zoo inspires wonder of our natural world, provides an engaging learning environment, and creates a passion for conservation.


Fresno, California’s fifth largest and most affordable city, boasts big city amenities with the family-orientation, easy access, and friendliness of a small town. This up and coming growth area is proud home to Fresno State University. Fresno is an unpretentious city with ample shopping, varied restaurants, and significant business opportunities. From food trucks to five-star restaurants, the food scene utilizes the finest local and seasonal ingredients and pairs perfectly with the burgeoning craft brewing scene. The artistic and cultural offerings reflect Fresno’s diversity and there are eclectic galleries, museums, and ArtHop, a monthly art walk, to satisfy art lovers. The Fresno Philharmonic and visiting Broadway shows are among many concerts and performances that music and theater fans can enjoy. Fresno’s Historic Neighborhood and the Tower District offer cafés, bars, and vintage/antique stores and comprise the creative hub of the city. Fresno also has an international airport and is strategically located less than three hours from major cities and the coast.

Hailed by The New York Times as one of the most affordable places to live in the country, Fresno’s accessible housing market makes home ownership with a high quality of life possible for residents. The reasonable cost of living and family-friendly community spirit combine to make Fresno an ideal place for families seeking diverse activities, award winning schools, and top-ranked hospitals. With many distinct and vibrant neighborhoods, there is something to appeal to everyone, from urban housing in walkable areas to newly developed communities to picturesque houses surrounded by land. For those coming from other urban areas, Fresno is refreshingly free of freeway congestion; everything is within an easy drive of home or office.

The economic hub for the whole San Joaquin Valley, Fresno is the county seat of an area ranked first in the nation for agricultural production with annual sales of approximately $8 billion. Long recognized for feeding America and the world, Fresno County farmers produce more than 350 crops, including almonds, grapes, pistachios, poultry, garlic, milk, cattle, onions, tomatoes, citrus, and stone fruit. In addition, businesses are flocking to the city for the lower land costs and strategic location. The city has recently recruited both Amazon and ULTA distribution centers, while startups and tech companies are helping revitalize downtown.

Fresno also offers a wide variety of bucket list attractions for outdoor enthusiasts. The city is located only 90 minutes from breathtaking landscapes such as Yosemite, Kings Canyon, and Sequoia National Parks. The sunny climate benefits those who enjoy outdoor recreation; cycling, climbing, hiking, and fishing and water sports in one of the many lakes and rivers are perennial favorites, while the proximity to the Sierra Nevada mountains makes skiing and snow sports popular in the winter. Residents enjoy temperate weather most of the year, but can escape summer heat by heading to the coast or mountains and enjoy four to six months of snow sports within a short drive of home.

Position Concept and Reporting Relationships

The Fresno Chaffee Zoo seeks an experienced, results-oriented chief executive who will provide strategic leadership toward shaping the future direction of the zoo as a world-class destination and a leader in conservation and education. The CEO will be a dynamic, forward-thinking, collaborative leader who will build on past strength and be the central architect of the path forward. The CEO will work with the Board and other management to develop and implement organization-wide policy decisions and strategic planning, and to represent the zoo’s mission and brand.

This executive will have broad oversight in accordance with organizational goals, assuring proper execution of all long-range and short-term plans affecting the zoo, and providing information and analysis to the Board. The CEO is ultimately responsible for the successful operation of Fresno Chaffee Zoo and will ensure excellence in the quality of the visitor/customer experience as well a high standard of care for the entire collection. The CEO will actively demonstrate the zoo’s mission and vision of inspiring the wonder of our natural world, providing an engaging learning environment, and instilling a passion for conservation.

Reporting to the Board of Directors, this adept professional leads the Executive Team and an organization with 240 employees, 140 of which are full-time. The CEO currently manages a Deputy Director/Chief Operating Officer, the Chief Financial Officer, the Director of Development, a Project Manager, and an Executive Assistant. The CEO has additional support from a stable leadership team that includes the Chief Conservation and Education Officer, the Chief Marketing Officer, the Chief People Officer, the Chief Veterinary Officer, the Director of Facilities and Grounds, and the General Curator. Once on board, the successful candidate will be expected to provide ongoing evaluation to ensure that the organization’s structure optimizes operational excellence and empowers the team to surpass mission specific objectives. The CEO will be expected to lead staff with an elevated level of emotional intelligence that promotes both collective and individual contributions at the highest level. The zoo also has a roster of volunteers and docents who work to support the overall mission working from a place of passion and purpose. These important stakeholders create additional leverage by extending the impact of the workforce.

Essential Functions

Under the direction of the Board of Directors of Fresno’s Chaffee Zoo Corporation and working closely with the Deputy Director and Executive Team, the CEO is responsible for the following essential functions:

Planning and Development

  • Advances Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s mission and philosophy, assures an ongoing positive culture, and achieves the organization’s core mission initiatives at the highest industry standards.
  • Works with the Board, Executive Team, and other key stakeholders to develop and then execute an aspirational strategic plan. Assures long-range and short-term targets meet organizational objectives, while demonstrating achievement in implementation.
  • Assumes responsibility for the ongoing financial health of Fresno Chaffee Zoo. Participates in developing and administering the budget, assuring adherence. Reviews and approves assigned departments’ budgets and organizational structure changes.
  • Responsible for long-term capital project planning and leads new exhibit development, design, and construction. This includes directing facilities and operational design, as well as spearheading and participating in the negotiation and administration of contracts for major services and capital construction. Emphasizes an animals first and holistic approach to all design efforts.
  • Inspires, oversees, and supports the implementation of the capital fundraising campaign in collaboration with Executive Team, the Board, and subject matter experts, including hands-on relationships with major donors and key stakeholders. Directs the establishment of funding priorities that supports an aspirational vision.
  • Leverages existing relationships in the region and outside the area to bolster charitable gain, while positioning organizational leaders to connect philanthropists, entrepreneurs, and business leaders with the zoo.
  • Assumes responsibility for retaining accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums; the zoo’s upcoming accreditation review is scheduled for 2021. Elevates the zoo’s relationship with the California Association of Zoos and Aquariums (CAZA).
  • Develops an effective staffing and succession plan for all Executive Team positions. Updates plans as necessary based on staffing changes and zoo planning needs. Ensures that team members are provided with effective professional development opportunities to support succession planning.
  • Assesses and implements technological solutions to facilitate operational best practices.
  • Provides interpretation of Fresno Chaffee Zoo policies and procedures; identifies legal issues. Assures management of the zoo complies with all applicable laws and regulations.

Internal and External Communication

  • Attends and presents at Fresno’s Chaffee Zoo Corporation meetings and Zoo Authority meetings.
  • Participates in all Board meetings and supports committee work as needed.
  • Attends and presents at Fresno City Council and Fresno County Board of Supervisors meetings when appropriate. Will have a significant leadership role in the efforts required to renew Measure Z funding.
  • Works with internal leaders to develop, maintain, and leverage the zoo’s success through the strategic use of marketing, social media, and related business intelligence tools.
  • Builds and strengthens community relationships and strategic alliances with partners in the Fresno scientific, educational, cultural, social, and business communities.
  • Represents the zoo to a wide variety of stakeholders:
    • The AZA community;
    • Donors and community partners (nonprofit groups, educational programs, etc.), taking a hands-on approach to fundraising;
    • Media outlets and the general public, including crisis management situations;
    • Other professional, governmental, community, and social settings as appropriate.

Delivering Excellence: Animal Care, Guests, and Staff

  • Contributes to excellent animal care and maintains the highest standards for the living collections. Promptly addresses animal welfare issues and demonstrates sincere compassion and empathy at end of life situations.
  • Demonstrates awareness of the zoo’s responsibility and commitment to conservation issues.
  • Approaches guest service policies, activities, and events with the goal of providing zoo visitors with consistent, memorable experiences.
  • Seeks out opportunities to interact with and educate zoo groups and individual guests.
  • Participates in the development, implementation and continuous improvement of attendance/revenue generating promotions and special events in accordance with organization goals and budgets.
  • Partners with Fresno Chaffee Zoo marketing professionals to implement business development strategies and thoughtful experiential activities for visitors. Advances innovative and enlightened product development for the organization.
  • Enhances an already strong, collaborative partnership with Service Systems Associates, to whom all zoo retail and restaurant operations are outsourced.
  • Responsible for team leadership and management. Maintains close and positive relationships with all staff, ensuring optimal performance and accountability.
  • Assures effective organizational communication and team building. Regularly demonstrates and facilitates the ability to work cooperatively with others to enhance zoo achievement through a team effort.
  • Provides regular performance feedback and coaching to reporting staff. Completes timely and appropriate written evaluations that highlight strengths and areas for improvement.

Candidate Qualifications

As the chief executive of the zoo and the public face of the organization, the CEO must possess and project the utmost integrity and highest standards of professional conduct, and must be an individual qualified by accomplishment and experience to exercise the leadership of a capable, collegial, and motivated group of colleagues. We seek an individual willing to make a meaningful professional commitment to Fresno Chaffee Zoo and to the Fresno community as an engaged and immersed citizen. While no one candidate will meet all the desired criteria, the successful candidate will bring most of the following qualifications and attributes:

  • The ideal candidate will be an energetic, solutions focused, and entrepreneurial leader with a minimum of 10 years of progressively responsible management proficiency, which will include executive level experience ideally in a zoo, aquarium, theme park, or in the tourism and hospitality industry. A track record of success in nonprofit fundraising would also be a distinguishing trait.
  • Management expertise gained in an organization celebrated for providing an exemplary guest experience would be of interest. An appreciation for and demonstrated understanding of the nuances of profitable, commercial recreation facility operation is also fundamental to achievement in this position.
  • Shares in and displays a commitment to the mission of inspiring wonder of our natural world, providing an engaging learning environment, and creating a passion for conservation. Actions and decision-making will demonstrate cultural sensitivity, dedication, compassion, and authenticity. This conservation champion will be committed to using the zoo platform and community trust to advocate for all aspects of protecting our world, including fostering respect for Mother Nature and the environment, as well as fighting climate change.
  • A visible, accessible, and empathetic leader who possesses superb and tested management skills. Must be able to train, mentor/develop, and motivate a diverse and highly capable staff. Actively creates connections that encourage open and honest communication with all. Must be capable of developing and sustaining close, effective working relationships with senior staff and Board members on matters of interdisciplinary, institutional concern.
  • This executive will understand and embrace the pursuit of excellence as it relates to the visitor/customer experience. They will serve as a role model for staff toward this pursuit and lead in a hands-on manner, utilizing a shared leadership approach.
  • This groundbreaker will have the foresight and vision to help the zoo see the way forward when it comes to philanthropy and its central relationship to the advancement of the organization’s mission.
  • This results-focused executive will have excellent interpersonal and organizational capabilities. The CEO will be a strategic thinker and highly aspirational, yet have the ability to adeptly handle day-to-day tactical management with a willingness to do whatever is necessary to get the job done. This individual will play a range of roles from adviser to strategist to hands-on implementer.
  • Excellent organizational, administrative, and capital project management skills that include the ability to diagnose critical areas for attention, stay focused, and then translate strategies into concrete actions. This executive will work with a sense of urgency and purpose.
  • Determines resources and actions required to accomplish objectives. This adaptable multi-tasker will have the ability to control and move forward on several concerns simultaneously. This includes switching priorities as required without losing momentum.
  • Possesses the aptitude to organize work, provide clear direction, delegate accountability when appropriate, and manage performance for a broad range of important organizational functions. The successful candidate will be a solutions-focused individual with a strong work ethic as well as an enthusiastic, community-minded, and passionate approach. Employs teamwork, when appropriate, to produce results.
  • This savvy communicator must be adaptable and open such that they can work with varied stakeholders and have a proven ability to follow through with constituents. Resolves issues and conflicts with diplomacy. Exercises tact in dealing with sensitive, nuanced, and confidential issues and situations.
  • This fun, energetic professional will have presence and personality and will understand the effective use of social media to appeal to a wide range of audiences.
  • Brings a clear focus on enhancing and strengthening existing programs in order to ensure and advance the zoo’s brand and mission, while possessing the creativity, vision, and business acumen to augment and develop revenue streams. This includes a commitment to leveraging Fresno Chaffee Zoo’s position as the leading tourist attraction in Fresno County and to advancing community presence to maximize impact of the centennial celebration in 2029.
  • The next CEO will be committed to effecting sustainable community pride in an area which has struggled with poverty, cultural identity, and community insecurities. Must prioritize and be able to discuss diversity and commitment to accessibility for all socio-economic-demographic groups.
  • Possesses the ability to express and inspire support for a vision of the future. Must be adept at articulating and explaining complex issues to staff, the Board, and all other stakeholders in a clear, non-technical manner and the ability to prepare and make presentations that are cogent and compelling.
  • Customarily and regularly exercises discretion and independent judgement. Demonstrates motivational and problem-solving acumen with a high degree of integrity and ethics. Will have a strong customer service orientation and willingness to find solutions to complex issues and answers to unconventional questions. Identifies potential challenges/opportunities and works to plan contingent actions, as appropriate.
  • Conducts business with candor and sincerity to maintain the highest ethical and moral standards.


The successful candidate will hold a bachelor’s degree, with a master’s degree preferred, in areas related to key aspects of operations: education, biology, facilities management, business administration, or design.


A four-member Search Committee has been established to conduct this search on behalf of Fresno’s Chaffee Zoo Corporation’s Board of Directors. This committee is assisted by Shelli Herman and Associates, Inc., a retained executive search firm. Inquiries, nominations, and applications should be directed to the search firm; all contact will be held in the strictest confidence. The Board of Directors expects to announce the selection of its new CEO in the fourth quarter of 2020.

A review of applications will commence immediately. Applications received by August 28, 2020, will be given priority. Interested individuals are encouraged to submit their credentials as soon as possible for full consideration. Complete applications should be submitted electronically via email to Shelli Herman at and should include: a cover letter that articulates a commitment to the mission and outlines relevant experience tied to the job description, a current resume reflecting work experience from college forward, and a list of names, telephone numbers, addresses, and email addresses for five professional references. References will not be contacted without the candidate’s approval/consent.


Shelli Herman, President
Shelli Herman and Associates, Inc.
11693 San Vicente Blvd., Suite #104
Los Angeles, California 90049
Office: (800) 396-0595 ext. 5