Meet the Membership Director: Lori Pace at the Nashville Zoo

Lori Pace, the Membership Director at the Nashville Zoo. Copyright Nashville Zoo. Describe your job:

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.

This entry was posted in Nashville Zoo, People, Profiles, Zoo. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Meet the Membership Director: Lori Pace at the Nashville Zoo

  1. DiAnne Psoinos Johnson says:

    Lori, just saw this post and wanted to say congratulations from an old friend. Sounds like a really fun and interesting job.


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