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Vice President of People and Culture

Dallas Zoo
Dallas, United States Posted: May 17, 2024

Under the leadership of a new Chief Executive Officer, Lisa New, and in a moment of great potential, the Dallas Zoo seeks a Vice President of People and Culture with extensive expertise in strategic leadership and culture development. As a direct extension of the Chief Executive Officer, this individual will be pivotal in managing talent and organizational development, enhancing employee engagement, and establishing an equitable compensation strategy.

  • This high-visibility role will be crucial for steering the Zoo toward a more inclusive, engaged, and strategically focused future, maintaining a keen awareness of employee needs, morale, and organizational shifts that align with and support the strategic vision and overarching goals of the Zoo.
  • As an active executive leadership team member, the Vice President of People and Culture will contribute not just as a human resources expert but as a senior advisor who provides valuable insight into the operational direction and long-term strategy across the enterprise.
  • The ideal candidate will have a proven track record of handling complex situations and multiple responsibilities simultaneously, balancing long-term planning and projects with the urgency of immediate demands.
  • The Vice President should demonstrate the ability to be proactive and mitigate risk for the organization while supporting the CEO in creating a cohesive, engaged, and vibrant organizational culture that supports the Zoo’s mission for current and future staff.
  • Reporting to the Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the leadership team, the Vice President of People Culture will be responsible for:
  • Human Resources Strategy Development:
  • Recommending and maintaining organizational structure and staffing levels to accomplish the Zoo's mission and goals.
  • Overseeing compensation strategy and benefits improvement to facilitate retention of employees.
Human Resources Policies, Procedures, and Systems:
  • Maintaining up-to-date knowledge of employment law.
  • Managing reporting to appropriate employment agencies.
  • Recommending policy and procedure revisions and modifications to ensure compliance with federal, state, and local requirements as well as adapt to changing environmental dynamics.
  • Ensuring positive, productive relationships with any potential vendors that oversee outsourced functions of the people and culture team.
Recruitment and Talent Development:
  • Creating, maintaining, and implementing consistent talent acquisition, development, and retention strategies that account for the unique strengths and challenges of a zoo.
  • Working with managers to recruit and hire staff.
  • Collaborating across departments to develop and execute comprehensive onboarding and offboarding programs to enhance the employee experience.
  • Where appropriate, establishing pathways for career growth by facilitating opportunities for professional development and the acquisition of new skill sets.
  • Determining the need for and managing temporary employees.
Compensation and Benefits:
  • Developing and delivering competitive compensation and benefits programs, ensuring that structures are consistent and transparent across the organization.
  • Evaluating and recommending benefit products and services.
  • Overseeing benefit programs and coordinating the open enrollment process.
  • Serving as liaison to the board retirement plan committee.
Employee Relations:
  • Providing consultation, facilitation, and consistent resolution strategies for workplace issues.
  • Providing education and training to ensure Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion practices and policies are consistently enforced throughout the zoo.
Performance Management:
  • Leading performance management process.
  • Developing and implementing effective employee learning, evaluation, and goal-setting processes and tools.
  • Effectively communicating performance expectations and outcomes.
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Access:
  • Chairing the Employee Advocacy and DEIA working group.
  • Creating channels for employee voice and providing thought leadership to ensure informed decision-making.
Community Engagement:
  • Participating in high-visibility community engagement and public speaking opportunities that advance the Zoo, its mission, and its vision.
Budget Management:
  • Overseeing the human resources department budget.
  • The Ideal Candidate
  • A fair and personable leader who takes an open and collaborative approach with all levels of employees, but who also has the discipline and tough-mindedness to ensure that organizational goals are consistently met.
  • A strong, energetic individual who has the confidence to use independent judgment and to make and follow through on difficult decisions.
  • An unpretentious and service-oriented executive who demonstrates respect and sensitivity in interactions with others.
  • An accessible, visible, and engaged person who is an active and positive presence in the daily life of the Zoo.
  • Bachelor's degree in human resources, organizational development, business administration, or a related field.
  • Advanced degrees or certifications (e.g., SPHR) preferred.
  • Minimum of ten (10) years of broad, senior-level human resources experience, including design, development, and implementation of effective recruitment strategies and plans, compensation and benefits programs, and performance management systems and processes.
  • At least three (3) years of executive experience advising C-suite and employee leaders. Experience in a zoo, museum, cultural attraction, or nonprofit institution with a significant hospitality and/or membership component is preferred.
Skills & Knowledge:
  • Ability to work at all levels of human resources – strategic, operational, and tactical.
  • Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with all staff and influence outcomes across departments.
  • Excellent organizational skills and ability to respond to multiple, competing demands and to motivate teams to produce high-quality work within tight timeframes and simultaneously manage several projects.
  • Extensive knowledge of local, state, and federal employment laws and regulations.
  • Exceptional supervisory skills with strong coaching and conflict resolution abilities.
  • Strong skills in human resources software and all Microsoft Office software.
Personal Characteristics:
  • Passion for the mission of the Dallas Zoo.
  • Ability to exercise the utmost confidentiality and discretion. Emotional intelligence – level-headed, flexible, and dependable.
  • Able to recognize different personality styles to communicate effectively with all.
  • Executive presence, polish, and self-confidence without self-importance.

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