Oakland Zoo Partners with Edgility Consulting to Find Inaugural VP Role
A Bay-Area Institution Steps into a New Era with VP of Learning & Engagement
Since 1922, Oakland residents have poured through the gates of the Oakland Zoo. It is one of the Bay Area’s favorite institutions and is considered a leading zoo for promoting animal welfare, rescue, and conservation efforts. They are a global presence, having partnered with other worldwide wildlife conservation groups to fund programs that support the saving of wildlife and rehabilitation efforts. Locally, they offer numerous free education programs and free or discounted admission to historically under-resourced families and children.
To continue the vision and mission of the zoo, they needed to find top-quality candidates to fill their first-ever Vice President of Learning & Engagement role. This role’s focus is primarily on educational leadership and would require someone from Oakland, who loved the community, and required expertise in animal sciences and conservation. After a robust needs assessment and calibration process in which Edgility guided the Oakland Zoo team to identify the specific competencies they were looking for in an ideal candidate, Edgility principal, Serena Moy, and consultant, Corina Ramos set out to deliver applicants who would advocate for the zoo while developing new and exciting educational programming.
They found a perfect candidate in Dr. Megan Sweet.
Finding the right leader, A practice in the power of community
Dr. Sweet is an author and revered thinker in education and mindfulness. In her 25 years of experience, she’s held several roles inside and outside the classroom, including working as a school administrator and at the district level in Oakland. In addition, Dr. Sweet is an active member of her local school board and is seen by her peers as a great change agent, gifted at transforming educational settings for the better – for teachers, students, and the community.
With Edgility’s deep ties to the city of Oakland (and love for the Oakland Zoo), they knew that someone who was not only local but dynamic, passionate, and gifted would be needed to fill such a crucial role in one of the city’s most beloved places. By using their assessment conversations and collaborative discussions with the zoo’s own search committee, Edgility’s equitable and expansive search process provided six semi-finalists for the zoo to consider, each with unique skills and a passion for education.
“We were looking for a process that would have a lens on equity and think expansively about the types of leaders we might select for the role. We were seeking a leader with vision and the ability to execute with evolving resources and conditions.” -Oakland Zoo
The Edgility team utilizes a straightforward 4-step process that empowers the client to fight cognitive biases and engage in an equitable search. Edgility’s talent management experts know that the right fit can only be found by engaging in a thorough and transparent process, supporting the client through the entire engagement.
“Edgility held the process with such professionalism and grace… They also communicated well and frequently with candidates throughout the process, which enabled us to take the time we needed to include many stakeholders during the interviews and align on decisions.” – Oakland Zoo
While there were many excellent candidates, Dr. Sweet stood out immediately and was ultimately invited to join the Zoo in this new role due to her experience, passion for the work, and commitment to equity – a perfect match.
Meet the expert:
“I am passionate about organizations and programs that focus on ensuring that all children and families are given the same opportunities. I gain my inspiration from matching thoughtful, anti-racist leaders with organizations focused on minimizing the systemic gaps that exist in our communities.”
Meet the expert:
“As a first-generation American and first-generation college student I was always taught that education and doing well in school was crucial to being successful. . . . I continue to be energized by impacting students and working to recruit talent from historically marginalized communities.”
Serena and Corina can support your organization with:
- Executive Search
- Recruitment Campaign
- Contingency Planning
Article Photo – Edgility Meets with Team from Oakland Zoo
From left to right: Oakland Zoo Team: Lisa O’Dwyer – Director, Volunteer Services & Education, Kristin Heller – Senior Vice President, Revenue and Impact, BJ Allen, Manager, Recruitment & Community Partnerships, Edgility Team: Corina Ramos – Recruitment Consultant, and Serena Moy – Principal