Job Listing: Assistant Director

Job Postings ,

Virginia Zoo - Norfolk, VA

Closes - 6/11/2022 at 11:59 PM ET

Position Title – Assistant Director

Salary - $83,391.00 - $138,774.00/Annually

Job Type - Full-Time

For more info and to apply: Click Here

Reporting to the Executive Director of the Virginia Zoo, the Assistant Director is responsible for strategic plan implementation, team management, and operational oversight of the entire Zoo. This includes providing team oversight, guidance, and strategic direction for all departments. Seven departments report up to the Assistant Director from the City of Norfolk and Virginia Zoological Society sides of the organization including finance, animal care, guest experience, development, and human resources.

Essential Functions


Strategic Plan Implementation:

  • Embraces and understands the vision of the Zoo as articulated through the strategic plan and monitors the plan to ensure all department annual plans are integrated with the goals and trending toward achievement of objectives within the plan timeframe.
  • Ensures that all department annual plans are up to date (including data required to show the achievement of plan benchmarks) and trains and supports all managers to utilize their department plans to support mission effectiveness.
  • Prepares six month and annual reviews of the strategic plan progress.

Team Management:

  • Builds and maintains staff-wide morale with a sense of teamwork within the mission and vision of the Zoo.
  • Meets weekly with each department leader to guide and support ensuring implementation of the strategic plan.
  • Empowers leadership, addresses conflict, and supports collaborative resolutions.
  • Manages the professional development of the leadership team through meaningful performance management and training. 
  • Ensures optimal performance of people and administrative areas through direct oversight of each department leader. 
  • Oversees the Zoo’s rhythm of business, including annual goal setting and evaluation processes. 
  • Sets the tone for organizational culture and communicates regularly with employees on initiatives to help translate the priorities of the Zoo.
Leadership Support:
  • Coordinates and reports on special projects on behalf of the Executive Director, frequently involving the City of Norfolk and Virginia Zoological Society Board.
  • Supports the Executive Director, City of Norfolk and Virginia Zoological Society Board in strategic analysis and planning, including advising on the operational and fiscal impact of planning alternatives. 
  • Regularly evaluates standard operations in administrative areas and frequently uses proven systems to change, sunset or combine administrative areas which are no longer needed or for which a new structure, system or location would demonstrably better serve the Zoo. 
  • Supervises the process of facilities master planning and development, connecting future needs to daily work in facilities financing and construction, building and grounds, public safety, transportation, and parking.
  • Works collaboratively with the City of Norfolk and Virginia Zoological Society Board and other stakeholders to review issues directed to and from the Executive Director’s office. Participates with the Executive Director, leadership and others in resolution and proactive communication. 
  • Supports and represents, when appropriate, the Executive Director at public events and meetings.
  • Other duties as assigned.


  • Willingness to support the mission of the Zoo and wildlife conservation.  
  • Master’s degree or related/significant Assistant Director or high-level operations management experience
  • Progressively responsible senior-level experience leading complex operational or financial aspects of an organization.
  • Experience managing a significantly sized team, with budgetary and vision responsibilities.
  • Ability to shape organizational strategy and be an effective organizational leader, mentor, and partner.
  • Proven and effective leader with a record of service as a catalyst for change using strategic thinking and effective human resource management to create new operational systems, processes, and opportunities.
  • Ability to perform complex tasks and prioritize multiple and sometimes competing priorities, including advanced delegation and project management skills.
  • Ability to understand and shape organizational culture to accomplish the mission.
  • Demonstrated ability to use data to measure and achieve results.
  • Ability to analyze, summarize and effectively present and use data for decision making purposes.
  • Strong analytical and critical thinking skills.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and a proven ability to communicate vision and strategy with a wide range of individuals and constituencies in a diverse community.
  • Significant experience formulating and implementing financial strategies. Ability to distill and present financial information and other essential and complex data to key stakeholders.
  • Successful employee development and performance management skills. Ability to coach and mentor team members.
  • Success in leading in risk management and addressing potential institutional liabilities.
  • Demonstrated commitment to foster and enhance an environment of inclusion, diversity, equity, and justice.

  • Advanced degree
  • Knowledge of zoos and cultural attractions
  • Successful experience fostering an environment of inclusion, diversity, equity, and justice

Additional Information & Requirements

Signing Bonus: This position is eligible for a one-time $5,000 signing bonus for applications received on or after February 22, 2022 until June 30, 2022. The signing bonus will be paid in two (2) increments: $2,500 upon completion of 60 days of employment, and $2,500 upon completion of your probationary period. To receive the signing bonus, you must be an active employee in good standing.    


City of Norfolk