Shelli Herman and Associates Tapped by the Saint Louis Zoo to Find New CFO

May 22, 2024 – Los Angeles-based Shelli Herman and Associates has been retained by the Saint Louis Zoo to lead in its search for a new vice president of finance and CFO. The CFO will work as a collaborative partner who is highly engaged and well-versed in managing all aspects of accounting and financial functions through others to ensure the organization’s overall goals are achieved. Shelli Herman and Associates notes that this dedicated team leader will have a track record of maximizing, leveraging, recruiting, retaining, and advocating for a talented team while setting and achieving goals annually and in the long term.

Providing direction, mentorship, and support to this team, the incoming CFO will evaluate all processes with an eye on efficiency and the broad use of technology to streamline and enhance work across the organization. Once on board, the successful candidate will be expected to assess the enterprise to ensure optimal efficiency, the use of best practices, and overall operational excellence that allows the Saint Louis Zoo to surpass mission-specific objectives.

The CFO will be an engaging leader who can inspire, motivate, teach, and empower team members toward their individual and collective goals and serve as a resource to the organization’s leadership on all financial matters. Shelli Herman and Associates also notes that the successful CFO will have an entrepreneurial approach to challenges and will be someone who asks why when thinking about current processes and intended outcomes.

The successful candidate will have at least 10 to 15 years of senior leadership experience gained in a large organization, having led finance, accounting, and reporting functions. This collaborative professional will have demonstrated experience providing quantifiable results in a complex organization with a high growth trajectory; past success in a mission-driven organization is preferred.

Founded in 1910, the Saint Louis Zoo is home to over 16,000 animals, representing 500 species. It is recognized worldwide for its innovative approaches to animal care and management, wildlife conservation, research, and education. One of the few free zoos in the nation, the Saint Louis Zoo is the most-visited attraction in the region. Accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), the Saint Louis Zoo is part of an elite group of institutions that meet the highest standards in animal care as well as provide fun, safe and educational family experiences.

The Saint Louis Zoo recently turned to Shelli Herman and Associates in the recruitment of Sabarras George as director for the Saint Louis Zoo WildCare Park, a $230 million, 425-acre zoo expansion project that is scheduled to open to the public in 2027. Mr. George has over 25 years of executive leadership and operations experience. For nearly six years, he has worked at the Detroit Zoological Society (DZS). He most recently served as the vice president of operations and facilities and chief operating officer.

Related: Shelli Herman and Associates Recruits CEO for Omaha’s Zoo and Aquarium

“Sabarras has been instrumental to Detroit Zoological Society’s commitment to igniting positive change for animals and nature, and we are really going to miss him,” said Hayley Murphy, executive director and CEO of the Detroit Zoological Society. “I am so proud of Sabarras and all he has accomplished here, and I am sure he will be hugely successful in his new role. The Saint Louis Zoo is getting someone who possesses a strategic, forward-thinking mindset, unmatched leadership skills and an incredible working knowledge of the zoo industry.”

Experienced Recruiters

Shelli Herman and Associates Inc. serves trailblazing clients across the corporate, non-profit, and higher education sectors. The firm’s long roster of clients includes the Annenberg Foundation; the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation; BENlabs; The Capital Group Companies/American Funds Distributors; City Year, Los Angeles; the Fresno Chaffee Zoo; the Griffith Observatory Foundation; Jewish Family Service LA; Laguna College of Art and Design; Loyola Marymount University; Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium; P.S. ARTS; the Saint Louis Zoo; Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County; the University of California System; the Whitney Museum of American Art; and YWCA Greater Los Angeles.

Shelli Herman, who has more than 25 years of executive recruitment experience, has a strong record of leading searches and building upper management teams for a diverse clientele, including Fortune 500 companies. She has completed senior-level assignments in many industries, including consumer products, healthcare, high technology, and finance, as well as for nonprofit, conservation, and cultural organizations. Additionally, she brings an in-depth understanding of the unique cultural environment of academia that was gained while she held significant management positions at the University of Florida and Loyola Marymount University.

Related: Shelli Herman and Associates Recruits CEO for Fresno Chaffee Zoo

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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