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Director of Heal the Bay’s Santa Monica Pier Aquarium

Santa Monica CA

The Santa Monica Pier Aquarium offers school groups, families and visitors a unique view into the ocean world just outside its doors and is home to hundreds of organisms native to the Santa Monica Bay. The Aquarium is the public learning center of Heal the Bay and inspires visitors to learn about and advocate for our environment with a focus on the ocean. The interactive displays, touch tanks filled with tide pool animals, shark tank, Kids’ Corner, and microscope lab are some of the exciting features of the Aquarium. Our educational field study programs, birthday parties, kids’ summer camps, public education programs and volunteer opportunities draw locals and tourists alike into the Aquarium experience.

The Aquarium serves people of all backgrounds. Entrance is free for children, and more than 70% of our field study program comprises Title 1 schools receiving free buses to attend. Heal the Bay is building bilingual programming to cater to our diverse audience, and aligning Aquarium programming with Heal the Bay advocacy and campaigns. Environmental civics is an important part of the Aquarium learning experience and gives visitors the tools to take action on issues that inspire them.

The Aquarium Director is responsible for overseeing the management of and fundraising for the facility and the staff. Staff includes aquarists, educators, public outreach and administrative personnel, augmented by 120 active volunteers. The position is part of Heal the Bay’s management team.

The Aquarium is open seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Some evening and weekend work is also required. This position reports to the President of Heal the Bay.



Inspire, support and maintain the highest quality and standards for staff, incorporating Heal the Bay’s mission in all efforts

Secure funding for programs, operations and staff through both earned revenue and donations

Manage annual operating budgets and oversee grant management, cash flow and other accounting procedures

Provide strategic vision and leadership with the Aquarium’s staff/volunteers

Provide strategic vision and leadership with the City of Santa Monica, representing the interests of the Aquarium and Heal the Bay as the City develops a master plan for the Pier upgrade and moves forward with land use and infrastructure projects in the surrounding area

Develop new fundraising relationships and maintain existing relationships to secure funding for programs, operations and staff, including capital campaigns

Increase Heal the Bay’s profile in the community, and with corporate sponsors and the local tourism industry

Collaborate with staff to execute strategic plans, budgets, project planning and human resource issues

Develop strategic marketing and advertising opportunities and partnerships throughout the region

Collaborate with staff to develop experiential learning through exhibit design, educational field studies and regional partnerships

Create and maintain interdepartmental projects of Heal the Bay’s mission and priorities

Provide leadership as a member of the management team of Heal the Bay, including the Aquarium Advisory Board and Heal the Bay’s Board of Directors

Serve as the Educational Programming Curator for the Santa Monica Pier, curating large-scale educational events on the Santa Monica Pier

Additional responsibilities and projects as required


Qualifications, Experience & Skills:

Experience managing a public aquarium, museum, or education facility

Proven leadership skills and ability to maintain a creative and supportive work culture

Proven background in fundraising, budgeting and grant management,

Ability to promote an organizational culture of equity and inclusion

Experience managing and communicating with multiple departments with creative, enthusiastic and dynamic staff from a variety of disciplines/backgrounds

Able to work in a shared space in close quarters

Organized, multi-tasker with strong decision-making skills

Strong writing and public speaking skills

Passion for Heal the Bay’s mission, the ocean and the environment

An enthusiastic willingness to work over-time and on weekends from time to time



Background in environmental studies or education

Existing relationships with local and state decision-makers, foundations, partner agencies, museum or science facilities

Previous experience in leading a capital campaign


Application Information

Salary Range: $80,000 Full time including some evenings and weekends required

Benefits: Heal the Bay offers full benefits

Heal the Bay is an equal opportunity employer and actively recruits to promote diversity in our workforce.


Submit your resume and cover letter to Meredith McCarthy, Heal the Bay’s Interim Operations Director.

Posted September 6, 2018

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