Director of Marketing & Events
Chicago, IL
Full Time

Lincoln Park Zoo inspires communities to create environments where wildlife will thrive in our urbanizing world. The zoo is a leader in local and global conservation, animal care and welfare, learning, and science. A historic Chicago landmark founded in 1868, the not-for-profit Lincoln Park Zoo, is a privately-managed, member-supported organization and is free and open 365 days a year. Visit us




Lincoln Park Zoo is seeking a dedicated, organized, creative and detail-oriented individual to drive marketing and revenue strategies, and lead the production and execution of our slate of around 40 annual events, from virtual meet-and-greets to ZooLights. This role is highly strategic, collaborative, and responsible for up to $1.5M in annual earned revenue via events. The Director of Marketing & Events runs partnerships, permitting, and contracts, and ensures promotions and events themselves are aligned with zoo mission, vision, brand, and values. The Director reports to the Vice President of Marketing & Communications and oversees three direct reports: marketing coordinator, events manager, and manager of audience research and evaluation.




  • Develop and lead strategies to earn approximately $1.5 million for the zoo’s annual operating budget via events and experiences. Determine/modify events calendar.
  • Supervise and mentor three direct reports: marketing coordinator, events manager, and manager of audience research and evaluation.
  • Oversee production of, and help produce (including direct responsibility for some full zoo events), around 40 events per year. Annual events include ZooLights, Fall at the Zoo, Run for the Zoo, Craft Brews at the Zoo, Adults Night Out (series), Summer Wine Fest, virtual animal experiences, Breakfast with the Animals, and more.
  • Seek, contract, and manage event partners for support with execution and/or marketing. Negotiate, manage, and maintain contracts.
  • Author and maintain annual marketing and events budgets.
  • Work with marketing manager to deploy event and program ad budgets (total approx. $200K/yr).
  • Maintain the annual events calendar and ensure both programming and marketing are in line with the zoo’s commitment to diversity and inclusion.
  • Leverage audience research and guest data to evolve marketing strategies.
  • Delegate and share event staffing responsibilities with the team. Staff events and get support as needed from zoo volunteers or other staff.
  • Create and maintain partnerships and determine appropriate third-party relationships, including in-kind donations, revenue shares, and programming partners.
  • Maintain Eventbrite (primary ticketing platform) relationship, and use to build out events and sell tickets. Develop ticket pricing strategies and sell via third parties where pertinent.
  • Liaise with other departmental leadership to support fundraising (Development) and program areas (Animal Care, Conservation & Science, Learning).
  • Partner with Development department to support membership and Annual Fund, sponsorship, and annual fundraisers: Zoo Ball, Zoo-ologie, and BrewLights.
  • Promote and sell non-event paid programs such as Penguin Encounters, zoo camps, LEAP, the ADOPT an animal program, and Wish List.
  • Work with retail contractor to identify merchandising opportunities and drive sales.
  • Work with food and beverage contractor to support private sales and drive rentals.
  • Handle permitting.
  • Build relationships across departments to incorporate animal, educational, and conservation programming into events. Partner with Facilities and Cleaning Fanatics on logistics.
  • Approve event and ad designs and ensure promotional partners are in line with zoo strategy and brand standards.
  • Oversee on-grounds signage supporting fundraising, brand, and revenue generation.
  • Perform other duties as assigned.


NOTE: While the zoo does provide flexible hours, this role is required to work holidays and traditionally does not take full PTO during ZooLights (mid-November through early January. ZooLights does not take place on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, or Christmas).



  • Must have strong leadership, communication, and interpersonal skills.
  • Quick learner and roll-up-your-sleeves leader.
  • Ability to organize tasks, manage lots of moving pieces, keep meticulous records, and manage time to ensure completion of all projects.
  • Strong attention to detail and ability to multi-task.
  • Working knowledge of the City of Chicago and Illinois State liquor laws and permit processes.
  • Experience with Microsoft Office, especially MS Word, Excel, and Powerpoint.
  • Ability to interact courteously and respectfully with supervisors, fellow employees, volunteers, zoo guests and general public, clients and sponsors.
  • Candidate should thrive in a fast-paced, demanding environment.
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment in emergency situations and to respond with appropriate action.
  • Basic knowledge of AV technology, setup, and video/audio editing.
  • Good-hearted, wacky, creative, forward thinking, resourceful and can think outside the box.
  • Ability to work flexible hours, including nights, weekends, and holidays.



Bachelor’s degree preferred.



Minimum two years leadership experience, and 5-7 years event and marketing experience including revenue generation, budgeting, and contract management.


Ability to remain on feet for long periods of time.

Ability to regularly perform a variety of physical tasks that include but are not limited to climbing, bending, stooping, kneeling, twisting, reaching, and/or crawling.

Ability to operate and safely drive electric carts.

Ability to work in all weather conditions.

Ability and willingness to wear required PPE.

Physical strength, including ability to lift and move objects up to 50 lbs.

No allergies to plants or animals exhibited on zoo grounds.

Ability to traverse zoo grounds.


Ability to work in an open office environment (during COVID, as many staff as possible are working from home; all staff on grounds are following strict PPE protocol). Available to occasionally work special events that may occur outside of regular work schedules, including evenings, weekends, holidays, or early mornings according to the demands of the role and tasks.


Lincoln Park Zoo is committed to an environment that is inclusive and welcoming. We celebrate the diverse qualities, perspectives, values, and experiences of all people. For Wildlife. For All.


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