Zoo Update with Denise Verret

Fighting Against Extinction
February 1, 2020

An elephant keeper at work. Photo by Jamie Pham

Every day, I am inspired by the Los Angeles Zoo family of staff and volunteers who work tirelessly with pride, passion, and purpose. In 2019, the Zoo conducted an employee engagement survey of our staff and the results revealed that 81 percent feel highly engaged in the work of the Los Angeles Zoo, which exceeds the external benchmark.

Engagement is the degree to which employees are psychologically invested in the organization and motivated to contribute to its success. Engaged and committed people are really super-employees, or superheroes. By definition, a superhero is a benevolent character with superhuman powers, such as Superman. When I walk around the office and out on Zoo grounds, I see superheroes everywhere. They may not wear masks or capes, but they possess special powers—enhanced abilities to perform amazing work, from welcoming our guests with a smile to keeping the grounds and facilities clean, providing exceptional care for the animals, saving wildlife from extinction, facilitating guest opportunities for learning and engagement, and creating lasting experiences for our visitors to take home.

In our daily office grind, the staff disguise themselves as Clark Kents, Diana Princes, Bruce Waynes, Tony Starks, and Ororo Munroes. They support the functions that aren’t visible to everyday guests but are critical to the Zoo’s mission. This includes work in the areas of administrative support, information technology, human resources, marketing and communications, development, and many more.

The Zoo recently developed a new hire onboarding video as a tool to enable employee success through training. This video serves as a foundational introduction to new staff and demonstrates a culture of pride, respect, empathy, diversity, and inclusion. It serves as an inspiration toward achieving our mission. I hope you enjoy seeing some of our superheroes here at your Los Angeles Zoo.