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Vice President, Design & Exhibits

Shedd Aquarium – Chicago, IL

Shedd Aquarium is a nonprofit organization dedicated to animal care and welfare, conservation research and public education. Situated on the shore of Lake Michigan, Shedd is home to nearly 32,000 aquatic animals representing more than 1,500 species of fishes, reptiles, amphibians, invertebrates, birds and mammals from waters around the world.
The Opportunity:
Shedd Aquarium seeks an experienced and creative leader as Vice President of Design & Exhibits. This position provides strategic vision and effective leadership to teams in communication design, integrated media, as well as in exhibit & experience design. As a key leader of Shedd s in-house design agency, the Vice President coordinates the creation of media and experiences for the public collaborating deeply within their own teams and across a broad spectrum of departments at the Aquarium. Reporting to the Senior Vice President, Guest Experiences & Communications, the Vice President of Design & Exhibits provides leadership in the planning, development, implementation and evaluation of these areas to ensure consistency with Shedd s experiential brand principles and excellence in guest experiences.
Duties & Responsibilities:
  • Demonstrate commitment to Shedd s vision, mission and values.
  • Align all experiences to advance the experiential brand of the Shedd Aquarium.
  • Supervise, support, and advocate for leaders of reporting areas in their work to accomplish departmental and institutional goals.
  • Oversee reporting departments to ensure that all services performed by the Design & Exhibits division promote and support the institution s mission and messages.
  • Provides guidance and leadership for long and short-term design initiatives of the division including gallery transitions, permanent exhibits, special exhibits, brand identity, and exhibit and program identities.
  • Collaborate across the organization as a member of the Aquarium s Senior Leadership Team to explore, discuss and recommend directions that advance Shedd s strategic goals and operating initiatives.
  • Set and monitor departmental goals and activities aligned with the Aquarium s strategic plan and annual operating budgets.
  • Represent the Aquarium and maintain strong relationships with Aquarium board of trustees, design communities and marketing partners.
  • Leads the team(s) to execute projects on time, within budget, and with clear and organized communication across the Aquarium.
  • Ensure an accessible experience is provided for all guests
  • Ensures alignment of all division activities and direction to the strategic objectives and financial planning of the organization.
  • Other duties as assigned.
Candidate Profile & Qualifications:Education & Experience:
  • Minimum of a bachelor s degree in Graphic, Exhibit, Industrial Design, or related design field. Related experience at a senior level will be accepted in lieu of a degree.
  • An effective leader with ten (10) years of experience leading creative teams in the origination and execution of innovative design projects. Includes demonstrated experience bringing out the best of these teams within deadline and budget.
  • A thorough understanding and proven track record of designing inclusive experiences and a leadership style that infuses that inclusion into daily work.
  • Knowledge and experience applying interactive technologies and digital media to the creation of compelling public experiences.
  • Knowledge of design process in graphics, exhibits, multimedia and landscape design.
  • A voracious learner who thrives in a high-performing team and who accepts and gives feedback generously.
  • A convincing public speaker who brings a desire to share their expertise with the field of other cultural attractions.
Skills & Abilities:
  • A Strategic thinker who effortlessly fuses qualitative and quantitative metrics into the work of evaluating designed experiences. Brings a long-term vision for design and understands how to lead teams along the evolution of that vision.
  • Strong interpersonal skills with the proven ability to interact positively and successful with all levels of the organization and community.
  • Proven ability to drive results
  • Strong networking skills with experts in industry solid record of maintaining and developing successful relationships
  • Strong ability to multi-task and to handle multiple programs and projects.
We strongly encourage people of color, LGBTQ+ community, veterans and active duty military, parents, individuals with disabilities, and individuals from all cultural backgrounds to apply. Shedd Aquarium is an equal opportunity employer and welcomes everyone to our team.
If you need a reasonable accommodation at any point in the application or interview process, please let us know. In your application, please feel free to select which pronouns you use (For example she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs).

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