Diversity at CZS


The Chicago Zoological Society is committed to diversity and values the benefits and advantages of a diverse workforce. One of our organization’s core values is Diversity, valuing differences and the respectful involvement of all people, employing and leveraging the gifts, talents, and experience from each person's culture, perspective, and background to create value for the organization and help make it even more successful. The Society understands the importance of attracting and retaining talented individuals of many different backgrounds from all over the world. A more diverse workforce provides many benefits to the organization by enabling us to draw upon a greater richness and wealth of knowledge, experiences, perspectives, ideas, talents, and human resources. Diversity makes our organization stronger, more relevant, and more successful, and better able to achieve our important conservation mission of inspiring conservation leadership. By tapping into a diversity of knowledge, backgrounds, perspectives, and experience, the Society is able to more effectively serve, develop, and deliver programs and provide extraordinary experiences for our increasingly diverse audience of over two million guests each year. In this effort, we foster an organizational culture and workplace environment where diversity is not only valued, but celebrated and utilized to optimize organizational performance and results. Our recruitment, training, and staff development activities focus on developing a diverse, highly talented workforce of excellence. As an organization that is dedicated to wildlife and habitat conservation, we recognize and appreciate the value of diversity in all its dimensions. Here are some questions frequently asked questions about diversity.

How will diversity efforts affect me as an employee?

As an employee of the Chicago Zoological Society, you will have the opportunity to work for a world-class organization that fosters an inclusive work environment. We practice this by valuing and appreciating people’s many differences. This includes many aspects of each person’s identity, such as cultural background and ethnicity, age, gender, socioeconomic status, marital status, religion, education, sexual orientation, and more. It also includes other aspects of each person's identity, such as one’s individual style, the way an individual communicates and learns, personal values and norms, beliefs and attitudes, work habits, and more. The Society values each individual and the unique ideas, background, qualifications, and talents that he or she brings to the organization.

What does diversity have to do with the Chicago Zoological Society or Brookfield Zoo?

The Society works to inform people about the diversity of living animals and plants and their marvelous adaptations for life, particularly for the over two million guests who visit Brookfield Zoo each year. We illustrate for our many guests and staff the important relationships animals and plants have in their natural habitats.

The Society educates people about the importance of conservation and informs them about important conservation issues affecting animals, habitats, and ecosystems around the world that are threatened or endangered. We strive to help zoo guests better understand how interlinked we, humans, are with other people and with the creatures and environments around the world so that people will be motivated to take informed, responsible environmental actions to preserve biodiversity and our living heritage for generations to come.

As awareness and concern for environmental issues continues to increase, so will the need for people of all types to work together cooperatively if we are to resolve these complex environmental issues and make positive change. Recognizing this need, the Society has taken proactive measures to provide a work environment where such collaborative relationships can be developed and maintained, both personally and professionally, and to provide a setting where people can work together effectively and productively towards these important conservation purposes.

What kinds of opportunities exist for people of color?

The Society is proud to be an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. We take affirmative action to improve employment opportunities for women, people of color, individuals with disabilities, and covered veterans. Some of these measures include working to develop and expand our recruitment sources, relationships, programs, and visibility and to build a wide network within the community; promoting a workplace environment of respect, understanding, and inclusiveness, working to recruit, employ, and promote people at all levels of the organization based on individual merit and qualifications, ensuring that employment decisions foster the Society’s diversity commitment and continuing to develop our staff capacities by encouraging careers and providing employees with the training, skills, and knowledge needed to grow, qualify for advancement, and to assume more responsibility in the future through our on-site Zoo University training program and by other means.

How can I find out more about diversity efforts at the Chicago Zoological Society?

Contact Sandi Dornhecker, Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action Program Coordinator, at sandi.dornhecker@czs.org.


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