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National Director, Conservation Program

For more than a hundred years, American Humane has been first in promoting the welfare and safety of animals and strengthening the bond between animals and people.

Founded in 1877, American Humane is committed to ensuring the safety, welfare and well-being of animals. Their leadership programs are first to serve in promoting and nurturing the bonds between animals and humans. They are first to serve, wherever animals are in need of rescue, shelter, protection or security. Through their innovative leadership initiatives – from the “No Animals Were Harmed®” program in Hollywood to broad-based farm and conservation animal welfare certifications, to rapid response rescue and care across the country – American Humane sets the gold standard as the most visionary and effective animal welfare organization in the nation.


American Humane is committed to ensuring the safety, welfare and well-being of animals.

American Humane Core Values:

  • Compassion
  • Accountability
  • Respect for all
  • Loyalty to mission
  • Sustainability
  • Honesty, integrity, trust

The Opportunity:

The National Director, American Humane Conservation serves as program head, and will work alongside the Global Director to develop and lead the organization’s international program to certify zoos, aquariums and facilities that meet American Humane’s scientifically sound standards for humane treatment of thousands of animals living in human care around the world. The National Director, American Human Conservation will act as a spokesperson and work with a variety of external constituents, assuming primary responsibility for budget management, developing and leading strategy around Conservation program expansion efforts, and designing and implementing marketing campaigns to that end. This position is based at American Humane’s national headquarters in Washington, DC and reports directly to the Chief Operating Officer. Accountable for providing leadership and oversight, the National Director supports American Humane’s mission and scientific guidelines for the humane care and treatment of animals and is responsible for driving program growth.

Overall Responsibilities:

  • In conjunction with Global Director, provide animal expertise and quality assurance for AH’s Conservation certification program
  • Is responsible for growing the number of institutions certified through the Conservation program
  • Serve as a spokesperson for the program, reflecting the mission and values of American Humane
  • Provide oversight of independent auditors, ensuring proper credentialing, experience, knowledge of AH animal welfare standards, availability and professionalism
  • Is accountable for fiscal management of the program
  • Oversee development and delivery of Conservation educational curriculum for children
  • Initiate and oversee program contractual agreements with certified zoos, aquariums and facilities
  • Work collaboratively with the Chief Operating Officer (COO), Global Director, staff teams and senior leaders to continually improve systems/efficiencies and to expand program reach and effectiveness
  • Monitor national and international animal health and welfare trends as well as legislative and regulatory activity and keeps senior management updated on emerging issues
  • Utilize sound scientific practices to protect the safety and well-being of animals in human care in zoos, aquariums and facilities
  • Work with other executive team members and board members to raise revenue for endeavors that support the overall mission of American Humane and the work of the Conservation program
  • Develop strategic alliances/partnerships with industry leaders and other organizations and institutions to promote animal health and welfare
  • As a senior leader of American Humane, lead by example, adapting to a continually evolving environment and helping others thrive in a deadline driven, results-oriented workplace
  • Target select conferences and industry meetings to attend to maximize outreach
  • Meet with major certified facilities annually
  • Seek and deliver public speaking engagements, radio and TV interviews and use social networking, coordinating public appearances with AH’s communications strategy and Communications department
  • Provide stories, data and content for use on website, appeals, funding proposals, projects and general public information
  • Ensure that all program and informational materials and website are up to date and reflective of best practices
  • Provide oversight of the Conservation Program Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC) to ensure judicious use of their expertise, volunteer time and energy
  • With COO, Global Director, and in consultation with the SAC, ensure animal welfare standards and guidelines reflect new research and technology and direct development of new standards for additional species

Key Selection Criteria:

  • Bachelor’s degree required, advanced degree in relevant field preferred
  • Ability to run a successful program, including budget management required
  • Diversity of experience in the zoo and aquarium industry; knowledge of animal husbandry, behavior, health and welfare desirable
  • At least 7-10 years of experience working with animals in human care in zoos, aquariums or other facilities preferred
  • Diversity of marketing and sales experience strongly desired
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills; active listening
  • Strong public speaking and public relations skills
  • Adept at building collaborative relationships and demonstrating diplomacy
  • Demonstrated ability to provide effective and timely leadership decisions
  • Ability to lead and work with team members to implement annual program goals
  • Growth oriented and dynamic; self-disciplined
  • Ability to maintain professional demeanor at all times

First Year Accountabilities:

  • Success in this position will be marked by a demonstration of professional presence that facilitates building and effectively managing relationships with American-Humane certified facilities and the acquisition of additional clients in the zoo and aquarium sector.
  • The candidate hired will be strategic, organized, detailed, proactive, solution oriented, entrepreneurial, diplomatic and poised when working in challenging and sensitive situations.

Personal Characteristics Desired:

  • A passion for animal welfare
  • A collaborative and decisive leader with the ability to maneuver from big picture, strategic thinking to the tactical delivery of business initiatives
  • Experience with and commitment to mission-driven non-profit organizations; enthusiastic about the mission, programs and services of American Humane
  • Strong professional initiative, bearing and confidence
  • Proven high degree of integrity, ethical decision-making and sound business judgment
  • Able to honor high degree of confidentiality
  • A skilled negotiator
  • Open, visible and approachable in communications with everyone
  • An entrepreneurial spirit with a demonstrated ability to work independently and achieve results in a resource constrained environment
  • Outgoing, energetic and engaging
  • Ability to embody and reflect the values of American Humane


If Interested and Qualified, please contact:

Melissa Petersen

Stanton Chase International

Office: (410) 528-8400 ext. 109

Direct: (571) 312-7048




American Humane is an equal opportunity employer and strongly encourages diverse candidates to apply

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