As the Membership Director I oversee the acquisition and renewal of the Zoo’s 30,000+ member households.
How long have you been in the position?
I have worked for the Zoo for 17 1/2 years, starting just three years after the Zoo opened. I began as the Administrative Assistant to the Executive Director, Membership/Special Events Director, and Marketing Director. Much of the job involved working with the membership database (only 749 households at the time). When the Membership/Events person left a year later, I was asked to take on the position. I did both events and membership for several years before both areas grew to a point where they had to be split, at which time I took Membership.
What in your background helped you get the job?
My experience in Management Information Systems at my previous job (14 years) provided a good background for the type of analysis and data work needed. Beyond that it was pretty much on the job training. Although the combination of Membership and Events that I had for a time may seem an incongruous mix, I definitely feel that the required mindset switch between the two was a benefit, adding a creative element to membership and a statistical element to events.
What’s your favorite thing about job?
Watching the growth of the Zoo’s membership, both in terms of households and revenue is a favorite. Geeky I know, but I also greatly enjoy any part of the job involving statistics, numbers, and reports.
Describe a favorite memory/experience in your current position:
Oh, narrowing down a favorite over the course of 17 years … it isn’t particularly membership related, much more of a memorable “and other duties as assigned”. In 1997 as Nashville Zoo was preparing to move to our current location we began building the Jungle Gym, a 60,000 sq ft playground. I was selected for the “coveted” Food Captain position which meant that I a) solicited donated food from local restaurants to feed the volunteers for each of the 17 build days and b) prepared and served said food (out of a makeshift food tent). On a typical day I arrived at 6 a.m. to feed breakfast to the captains, at noon served lunch to 500-1,000 volunteers, hauled eight-gallon containers of water to the build site, at 5 p.m. served dinner to 500-1,000, clean up and set up for next day, went to my office to do a few hours of my “real” job, home at 9 pm.
Do you have a favorite animal? Why is it your favorite?
In general I love the cats, but I don’t have a specific favorite, I think that whatever new exhibit we have becomes my current favorite.