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Deputy Director

Under the direction of the President/CEO, the Deputy Director is responsible for the day-to day internal leadership and management of the Great Plains Zoo. 

The Deputy Director must have a respectful, constructive and energetic style,  be a strong leader and communicator with the ability to synthesize and articulate information.  The most important traits include leadership ability, people skills and public speaking.  The Deputy Director needs to be politically savvy, be able to build bridges between various groups and put together a consensus.  The incumbent must be flexible and open-minded and have the ability to inspire others while promoting the mission of the Great Plains Zoo.

The primary responsibility of the Deputy Director is to ensure the continued success and growth of the Zoo’s mission.  All Zoo employees are expected to:

· Perform quality work within deadlines with or without direct supervision

· Interact professionally with other employees, customers, vendors, donors, sponsors and partners

· Work effectively as a team contributor on all assignments


Essential Duties:

· Provide day-to-day leadership and management that supports the mission, vision and core values of the Zoo. 

· Ensure the Zoo has the proper controls, processes and procedures in place to effectively develop, maintain and ensure operating strength.

· Influence and drive operations to achieve and surpass organizational goals and objectives.

· Motivate and lead a high-performing management team; mentor direct reports to cultivate skills; inspire, encourage and evaluate the performance of assigned staff. 

· Foster a success-oriented, accountable environment.

· Apply business expertise to maintain and advance financial goals; assist as needed in the formulation and development of fiscal policies, procedures and programs.

· Communicate with Sioux Falls Parks administrators, department personnel and outside organizations to coordinate GPZ activities and programs; resolve issues and conflicts and exchange information.

· Cultivate and represent GPZ to local and regional entities, including media, governmental agencies, and community groups to further the mission of the Zoo; receive and resolve constituent complaints.

· Initiate or assist with organizational planning and implementation, including strategic/business plans, Master/facility plans, collection plans, conservation plans and education plans.

· Provide leadership and oversight on capital projects; interface with architects and planners to deliver quality improvements on-time and within budget.

· Develop and prepare the annual preliminary budget for areas of responsibility; analyze and review budgetary and financial data; assist in monitoring revenues and expenses in compliance with the current approved budget.

· Represent GPZ in appropriate professional circles such as AZA, pursue leadership positions on committees as capacity allows.  Attend conferences as part of professional development.

· Responsible for the oversight and effectiveness of all internal processes including regulatory compliance and accreditations.  Provides timely, accurate and complete reports on the operating condition of the Zoo.  Leads the 5-year effort for formal AZA Accreditation review and endorsement.

· Serve as the CEO in the absence of the President/CEO, as assigned.



· Bachelor’s degree in business or related field.

· Significant management experience in a leadership position (10+ years).

· Minimum 5 years’ experience in a senior management role.

· Proven ability in organizational development, people management, budget and resource development and strategic planning.

· Successful experience managing multiple and diverse business units.

· High standards, maturity standing as a visible leader with integrity and trust.

· Flexible and able to multi-task; ability to work with ambiguous, fast-paced environment while also driving toward clarity and solutions; demonstrated resourcefulness in setting priorities.

· Goal orientation, high energy with a comfort demonstrating strong decision-making ability.

· Ability to partner with a dynamic leadership team in a progressive Zoo.

· Proven ability to act as an advocate for the institution among various stakeholders.

· Project management experience is preferred.


The Great Plains Zoo is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to foster a greater understanding of our natural world through Education, Conservation, Recreation and Discovery.  The Great Plains Zoo cares for more than 1,000 animals from around the world and offers up-close views of animals often not found in larger zoos, including giraffes, tigers, black rhinos and a national award-winning Snow Monkey exhibit.  The Zoo is an accredited member of the AZA and sees over 300,000 visitors annually.

The 45-acre Great Plains Zoo is located in Sioux Falls, SD, a growing community with:

· A metro population of 259,000

· A healthy economy and a robust art, food, and cultural scene

· Ranked #7 in the list of 100 Best Places To Live by (2019)

· Ranked #1 by Forbes as best small city for business and careers (Nov 2017)


Proof of U.S. Citizenship or immigration status will be required upon employment. Criminal convictions are not an absolute bar to employment, but will only be considered in relation to specific job requirements.

  • Love this zoo! Great place to get a walk in and the animals are everywhere! The museum/indoor part is very educational too. Has a lot of shade for when it's hot out. Very clean. Friendly staff.

    Taylor F.
  • We love to visit the zoo. They have great outdoor exhibits and lots to do inside as well. Great for kids and adults.

    Robin A.
  • Lots of great exhibits and animals to see! Fun gift shop and learning center.

    Stephanie N.
  • The museum gives you a break from the sun on hot summer days and has a great selection of animal exhibits from around the world. ¬†The zoo keeps growing and adding new animal habitats or improving existing ones. ¬†Membership offers reciprocal benefits to other zoos around the country.

    Bill T.