Printed from : LMD

02 Mar 2016

AZA training course equips future leaders of zoos and aquariums
   BY Jennifer Fields

It’s imperative that the next generation of executive directors of AZA-accredited zoological facilities are trained, educated, and prepared to lead their communities in environmental stewardship while advancing their facility with strong business and operational skills.

Through the Executive Leadership Development Program (ELDP), AZA is training emerging leaders each year on a set of identified competencies, which are the behaviours, knowledge and skills needed to be most effective in this role. While studying these competencies in depth, participants also benefit from mentorships and build skills through relevant learning opportunities. These experience-based development methods include forming action teams to address real and complex issues; having dialogues with current leadership to transfer institutional knowledge and lessons learned along the way; and creating a customised development plan.

“ELDP participants are recognised within the AZA community for their extensive knowledge and experience, dedication, ambition and great promise in their leadership abilities,” said AZA executive director Kris Vehrs. “Through the ELDP, they develop skills necessary to meet the challenges of sustaining a viable aquarium and zoo operation that benefits the animals in their care, their local communities and global wildlife conservation initiatives.”

Now in its third year, the ELDP is planned to be an ongoing AZA effort. In January 2016, 10 new participants began the programme and 15 participants successfully completed their training. To learn more about the programme visit

Read Attractions Management 2016 issue 1

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