December 15, 2021

Planning for Zoo Advisors’ Future

As we approach 10 years helping zoos and aquariums advance their missions, our team gathered last week to reflect on our successes, address opportunities and challenges facing the profession, and map out a plan for the future. What were our top insights and takeaways looking back on Zoo Advisors’ first ten years and looking ahead to the next 10+ years?

But first an observation: Facilitating the facilitators is not easy work. It takes true experts to get planners to plan!  

Looking Back:

  • In the last decade, ZA has positively impacted over a hundred communities by helping leaders at more than 125 zoos and aquariums execute on their missions.

  • We’ve grown our team, our impact and influence: in less than three years we’ve improved our reach nearly 400%. Our growth has been directly correlated to our increasing outreach into the AZA community. One of the unique things about this profession is that it thrives not by competing, but by connecting.

  • We’ve made you think. In 15 months of webinars, we’ve engaged more than 5,600 participants with topics as diverse as COVID impacts, leadership trends, taking care of our teams, social equity, and why conservation matters. By creating opportunities for connections with our Community Conversations Webinars, we’ve brought this community even closer together.

  • We’re committed to providing an evergreen platform for thought and discussion of the industry’s most pressing issues – be they environmental, social, economic, or operational. 

  • Our work and our webinars have created a platform where others may speak, and we can learn. Our DEAIJ focus is more than “lip service” – we are trusted and authentic.

  • We’re proud to be described by our clients as a “trusted resource,” “experts,” and “authentic” – and especially as “nice people.”

Looking Ahead:

  • Zoos have a unique short-term (and maybe mid-term) opportunity to capture a greater share of hearts and minds than in years past. As we all now realize, there is no “end” to COVID in our immediate view. As primarily outdoor attractions, zoos are uniquely well positioned to increase their impact as community hubs in a way that feels safe and accessible to their constituents.

  • We engaged in a thoughtful and well-orchestrated exercise to survey the landscape of current and future business needs in our marketplace and an opportunity to assess new markets.

    • Our Summit work yielded three areas of focus in thought leadership and action: Data Analysis, DEAIJ, and Leadership/Search. These areas all are within the umbrella of helping clients engage with their communities, with a focus in conservation.

    • Conservation and DEAIJ are “lenses” for our work and will be a foundation for what we do.

Looking Within:

  • ZA is “Fun”. While serious and thoughtful in our approach, high-functioning teams can also be fun. The infectious creative collaboration space, fostered by a true sense of psychological safety and respect, invited an environment of creative thought and energy for improvement. When we invite clients into this same space, it only compliments their experience alongside impactful results.

  • We’ve proven that we can remain flexible in a time of many, unanticipated changes to best meet the needs of our community.

  • We have much to learn from each other as subject matter experts with collaborative mindsets that represent a broad diversity of skills, personalities, and strengths. (Our informal Myers-Briggs assessments are proof!)

We look forward to sharing more specific goals, strategies, priorities, opportunities, and commitments with you in the new year. 2022 will yield new resolutions – we hope you’re as excited as we are to hear the details!

Recent Insights

Women Shaping Culture

Women Shaping Culture

In honor of Women’s History Month, we’re featuring interviews of six women leaders who are shaping our culture and planet for the better.

read more

+49 856 9568 95

39 Lion Street

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.

Send Us a Message

Dr. Frederick Lahodny

Even though using “lorem ipsum” often arouses curiosity due to its resemblance to classical Latin, it is not intended to have meaning. Where text is visible in a document, people tend to focus on the textual content rather than upon overall presentation.