Associate VP Communications

Brookfield Zoo Chicago

An exciting new chapter at Brookfield Zoo Chicago has begun with the creation of a new Guest Experience and Operations (GXO) division: a strategic initiative aimed at optimizing attendance and revenue growth, enhancing our brand and reputation, and delivering a world-class experience. As part of this transformative change, we are expanding our team across various departments, including Marketing, Communications, and Guest and Membership Services as an investment in delivering our mission in more ways to more people. This unified approach brings together diverse expertise under one cohesive framework, ensuring that every aspect of our experience is elevated to the highest standards. Join us in shaping the future of one of the nation's premier zoological institutions!

Position Details

Associate VP Communications
Chicago Illinois
Brookfield, IL

The Associate Vice President (AVP) of Communications is a pivotal position in enhancing Brookfield Zoo Chicago's reputation, increasing awareness, and solidifying its position as a premier destination, as well as a leading authority in wildlife conservation, science and environmental education. This senior leader will oversee all aspects of public relations efforts, including media relations, crisis communication, editorial, photo and video, institutional positioning and internal communication. With a focus on strategic storytelling and relationship-building, the AVP will play a crucial role in promoting the zoo's initiatives, driving attendance and revenue, and elevating conservation efforts to diverse audiences, ultimately advancing its mission.


Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential job functions.

  1. * Senior Leadership and Collaboration: As a senior leader within the Guest Experience and Operations (GXO) Division, the AVP collaborates closely with division peers to drive strategic initiatives. This includes working closely with the Vice President of Guest and Membership Services, Associate Vice President of Marketing, Design Director, and SSA’s General Manager of Food, Retail, and Catering to ensure alignment of efforts and maximize impact. 
  2. * Strategic Oversight: Develop and execute comprehensive multi-year communications plans and strategies aligned with Brookfield Zoo Chicago's mission, goals, and values. Provide strategic direction to the communications team, fostering a culture of innovation, collaboration, and excellence. 
  3. * Public Relations Strategy: Develop and implement comprehensive public relations strategies aligned with organizational goals and objectives, driving awareness, engagement, and support. Cultivate and maintain relationships with media outlets, journalists, and influencers to generate positive coverage and promote key initiatives and achievements. 
  4. *Editorial & Publications: Oversee the development and publication of compelling content, including articles, press releases, newsletters, Membership magazine, and more and work closely with the marketing team on social media content and strategy, ensuring alignment with organizational messaging and branding. Direct the creation and distribution of high-quality visual assets, including photography and videography, to enhance storytelling and engagement across various channels. 
  5. * Institutional Communications: Lead communication efforts to articulate the organization's mission, vision, values, and impact to internal and external stakeholders, ensuring consistency and clarity of messaging. Develop and execute strategies to position the organization as a thought leader and authority in the industry/sector, leveraging research, data, and industry trends. Implement internal communication strategies to foster employee engagement, alignment, and advocacy, keeping staff informed and connected with organizational news and initiatives. Develop protocols and strategies for managing and mitigating crisis situations, supporting the SVP and ensuring timely, transparent communication. 
  6. * Executive & Thought Leadership: Support organizational leaders in enhancing their visibility and thought leadership through strategic communication initiatives, including speeches, articles, and public appearances. 
  7. * Reporting and Budgeting: Develop and maintain reporting mechanisms to track and analyze key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics related to communication initiatives, providing regular updates and insights to leadership and stakeholders to inform decision-making and optimize strategies. Oversee the development and management of the communications budget, ensuring efficient allocation and management of resources to support strategic priorities, maximize impact, and achieve desired outcomes while maintaining fiscal responsibility and accountability. 
  8. * Agency Management: Serve as the primary liaison with public relations agencies and external partners. Collaborate with agencies to develop strategies, monitor performance metrics, and ensure alignment with Brookfield Zoo Chicago's communications standards, protocols and public relations objectives. 
  9. *Enhance Brookfield Zoo Chicago's Culture: Champion a culture of clear, transparent, and consistent communication throughout the organization, fostering trust, collaboration, and engagement among staff, volunteers, and stakeholders. 


  • Bachelor’s degree in Public Relations, Communications, Journalism, Marketing, or related field. 
  • Five years of progressive, relevant experience in public relations and communications, with a minimum of two years working in a zoo, aquarium, museum, science/conservation, or other experience-based organization environment. 
  • Exceptional communication skills, including strong writing, editing, presentation, and interpersonal abilities. 
  • Experience in media relations and communications planning, with established relationships with journalists, editors, and influencers across various media outlets. 
  • Strategic thinker with the ability to develop and execute comprehensive public relations strategies that align with organizational goals and priorities. 
  • Strong leadership skills, with the ability to effectively manage teams, foster collaboration, and drive results in a fast-paced environment. 
  • Knowledge of digital communication tools and platforms, including media monitoring tools. 
  • Passion for wildlife conservation, environmental sustainability, and promoting educational experiences. 
  • Flexibility to work occasional evenings, weekends, and holidays as needed for media inquiries, crisis communication situations, and special events. 
  • Cultural competency; experience and/or ability to work and interact effectively with a diverse, multicultural audience. 
  • English fluency at a professional working proficiency. 
  • Valid driver’s license required at time of hire. Illinois residents must possess a valid Illinois driver’s license or obtain one within 90 days of hire. Valid out-of-state driver’s license is required for out-of-state residents.


  • Multilingual ability, Spanish fluency a plus.

« Back