Director of Impact and Innovation

Job Type

Full Time




5500 Phinney Ave N
United States


Woodland Park Zoo is currently seeking a Director of Impact & Innovation to lead a newly formed team focused on understanding and growing our institutional impact. They will design and lead the implementation of projects that inform and refine our institutional theory of change; apply technology in new ways that expand and deepen the effectiveness of our learning initiatives; and oversee the measurement of our institutional impact.

We are seeking a dynamic and entrepreneurial candidate who will build on the zoo's assets to accelerate and expand the success of our mission. They will lead the Impact & Innovation team to drive a culture of data-driven decision making, innovation, and continuous improvement across the zoo.

The successful candidate should be entrepreneurial in spirit and approach. They would have demonstrated success in initiating and implementing transformation planning processes and programs with partners and across cross functional teams; track record of fundraising and grant writing; experience developing and managing budgets, and supervising staff. Familiarity with equity and inclusion principles, universal design concepts and demonstrated proficiency in developing and maintaining effective community partnerships are key competencies.



  • Oversee research that examines the intersection of perception of animal welfare and empathy building
  • Design and oversee studies that help inform the implementation/refinement of the institutional theory of change
  • Lead studies that anticipate trends and explore the use of technology in exhibitry/programming to deepen and enhance learning and engagement
  • Plan, develop and implement research projects in collaboration with zoo leadership and staff
  • Continually investigate how we can grow and measure our institutional impact
  • Stay abreast of research developments and protocols


  • Establish zoo as an applied theory research site for learning, animal/welfare perception, social innovation, and conservation psychology
  • Work within and between departments to incorporate evidence-based practices into zoo experiences
  • Participate in strategic discussions regarding the vision of the agency, identifying the top areas of need, how to make change, and how to quantitatively/qualitatively monitor change


  • Present data and findings to staff, volunteers, board members, and other internal/external audiences
  • Widely distribute findings and research in different forums including but not limited to conferences, peer-reviewed journals, white papers, blogs, and newsletters
  • Oversee a portfolio of innovation activities, including developing a pipeline of projects, launching initiatives, and directing pilot projects to help drive the zoo's long-term strategic goals
  • Build partnerships locally and nationally at agencies and institutions with common interests
  • Conceptualize, write, and oversee grants in collaboration with the Development Department
  • Perform other duties as assigned


This position will supervise a team of regular and grant-funded staff. This position requires the ability to interact effectively with peers in cross-functional roles in order to be successful.


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions.

  • Strategic, global and creative thinker who is able to challenge current assumptions and isn't afraid of pushing the boundaries and taking risks; able to imagine, explore and implement cutting edge and experimental programming
  • Creative, resourceful, and adaptive problem solver who is passionate about research, technology, learning science, and engagement
  • Ability to anticipate needs and challenges, take initiative, ask questions, and provide solutions to achieve department and organization objectives
  • Strong interpersonal skills, ability to lead and motivate teams, bring in and support different perspectives, and work with diverse populations and a variety of stakeholders (staff, executive leaders, donors, board members, school and government administrators, volunteers and visitors, etc.)
  • Excellent analytical, critical thinking and organizational skills are essential. Fluency in either qualitative or quantitative research method with advanced knowledge of the other
  • Ability to communicate complex information in a way that is understandable and engaging to broad audiences; comfortable speaking to groups in varied settings
  • Must be enthusiastic and customer service oriented and deal with clients in a courteous and professional manner
  • Commitment to the mission of the zoo and the institution's Core Values.


Ph.D., ABD, or Masters & equivalent experience in conservation psychology, psychology, anthropology, sociology, data science, applied science, or other relevant fields

A minimum of 10-12 years combined education and experience in applied research

Experience as a thought leader in an organization; exploring and defining insights and communicating them

APPLICATION DEADLINE: This position will remain open until filled; priority will be given to applications received before September 28th.

Woodland Park Zoo is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, dedicated to a policy of non-discrimination in employment on any basis including race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, disability, veteran's status, sexual orientation, or gender identity/expression.

Professional Level


Minimum Education Required

No requirement