Assistant Director, Constituent Services

John G Shedd Aquarium

Chicago, Illinois

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details Starting at $60,000
Deadline Aug 05, 2024
Required Experience 2 - 6 years

SUMMARY: The Assistant Director provides leadership, management, and strategic vision for a dynamic onsite contact center and shared service team. This position oversees a team of Customer Care Ambassadors, aka “Central Station”: hiring, onboarding, recognizing, and performance managing both leaders and team members. Through consistent team mentorship and coaching, the Assistant Director fosters an outstanding guest experience in person, on the phone, via email, and on social media. They develop strategies to meet guest needs and establish and monitor key performance indicators to ensure response time goals are met. The Assistant Director drives revenue through staff training: efficient order processing and deep knowledge of Shedd’s programs and upgrade opportunities.  

The Assistant Director is a power user of Tessitura, the Shedd-wide CRM tool: creating standard operating procedures, leading training, and ensuring proper financial controls and data hygiene. Working closely with internal partners, the Assistant Director identifies opportunities for technology and process improvements that positively impact internal and external guests and increase contact center efficiency. They work closely with stakeholders across Shedd Aquarium to prioritize Tessitura projects, gather requirements, and implement testing and training for CRM software releases and web updates. By understanding market and technology trends, best practices, and business objectives, this person will help the Senior Director develop a vision of service for Central Station.  


This position is responsible for working Tuesday - Saturday with some evening hours.

SALARY: Starting at $60,000

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES include the following. To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily.  The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill and/or ability required.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions. Other duties may be assigned 

  • Demonstrate commitment to Shedd’s vision, mission, and values 
  • Oversee contact center operations including personnel and budget management; administration of training; and development of standard operating procedures. 
  • Manage projects in collaboration with multiple external stakeholders, ensuring that institutional priorities including partner processes, new web pathways, Tessitura sales technologies, and shared services are developed in a manner that meets the goals of Guest Relations-Central Station 
  • Build and maintain relationships with key internal stakeholders in External Affairs & Marketing, Guest Relations, Development, Technology, Finance, Animal Care, Human Resources, and Learning & Community; act as the voice of the guest across the organization 
  • Collaborate with partners across Shedd Aquarium to build the team’s knowledge base and effectively respond to guest inquiries 
  • Oversee team testing of new CRM and web releases, serving as liaison to Technology 
  • Serve as a Tessitura resource for the Aquarium, providing expertise and training to help internal partners meet their information capture, transactional, and data needs 
  • Manage departmental logistics, materials, and spaces in collaboration with the supervisory team 
  • Participate actively in organization-wide teams, projects, programs, and initiatives  
  • Assist Senior Director in reviewing operational, fiscal, and service assessments; use analytics to provide recommendations for continuous improvement of institutional processes 
  • Assist the Senior Director in developing and implementing a strategic vision for the department’s delivery of excellence in customer service and information stewardship 

As One Shedd, increase guest satisfaction: 

  • Consistently recognize and coach to seamless and joyful behaviors at all posts using the GUEST framework:  
    • G – focus on high-energy greeting; smile with your voice 
    • U – ask the right questions at each post to understand what the guest needs.  
    • E – engage guests, basing offers for enhanced visits on individual needs 
    • S – solve guest needs by helping them with what they asked for and surprising them with a personal recommendation for something extra. 
    • T – thank guests for contacting and impact their decision to visit again 
  • Develop service-level standards focused on response time and issue resolution; empower the team to resolve escalated guest issues by building a toolkit of alternative options to saying no. 
  • Use data for continuous improvement of guest satisfaction, service standards, and the growth of team accountability for exceptional guest experience 
  • Be a liaison with all other Shedd departments as it relates to day-to-day operations, emergencies, and special requests.  
  • Serve on cross-departmental teams and task forces delivering specialized knowledge in an open-minded, collaborative manner. 
  • Foster and maintain relationships with departmental partners, representing Guest Relations-Central Station in day-to-day interactions and at meetings and events as needed 

Contribute to annual attendance, revenue, and expense goals 

  • Contribute to the creation of Shedd’s operating calendar and admission and event on-sales 
  • Facilitate sales for general admission, CityPASS, 4D Theater, membership, tours and animal encounters, school field trips, tour groups, special events, and learning programs. 
  • Drive revenue through deep knowledge of available programs, events, and upgrade opportunities; hold the Central Station team accountable for the right balance of efficiency and revenue generation 
  • With the Senior Director, analyze contact center hours of operation and appropriate staffing levels for prompt guest service across peak and non-peak seasons 
  • Develop staffing budget and team schedule to effectively respond to guest needs on four phone lines and inboxes (switchboard/general questions; membership; group reservations; and Extraordinary Experiences); partner with Marketing to monitor and respond to social media comments and online reviews; partner with Guest Relations-Floor Operations to provide in-person service to members, school groups, and tour groups. 
  • Utilize individual and team productivity metrics to build a long-term strategy 
  • Champion technology initiatives that improve the guest experience and team productivity 
  • Use good judgment and strategic thinking to balance competing priorities 

Build, train, and retain an engaged Guest Relations –Central Station team 

  • Ensure staff are appropriately trained in all organizational policies and standard operating procedures throughout the operation; develop training materials, FAQs, and additional team resources 
  • Supervise team members, coaching them to develop and maintain a high standard of customer service, follow and evaluate processes, practice sound financial control, and maintain the accuracy of information resources. 
  • Develop and execute individual professional development plans for direct reports 
  • Execute strategies to reduce hourly turnover; make Shedd the workplace of choice through continuous focus on fairness in scheduling, time off, post variety, and post rotation. Seek out team feedback, actively listen, and promptly respond to team needs. 
  • Provide consistency in corrective action, performance management, coaching, and recognition 
  • Actively participate in staff hiring, onboarding, development, and training  
  • Demonstrate a commitment to professional and personal growth by initiating dialogue with colleagues, engaging in self-directed learning, and focusing on professional development goals  
  • Create an environment that empowers staff to contribute to a culture of collaboration. 
  • Utilize independent judgment and discretion in the exercise of supervisory responsibility and authority to the Managers and Assistant Managers of Guest Relations-Central Station in the Guest Relations Department as well as all Customer Care Ambassadors including assigning and directing work, evaluating job performance, resolving job concerns and problems, implementing or effectively recommending decisions concerning hiring, transfer, reassignment, promotion, merit or other compensation increases or rewards, layoff, recall, discipline and/or discharge. 
  • Fulfill other duties as required 


To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty satisfactorily. The requirements listed below are representative of the knowledge, skill, and/or ability required. Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform essential functions. 


The candidate will be a service-oriented, data-driven, and highly organized self-starter who maintains high standards for their work and the work of their team and can set and uphold an exceptional level of service for the aquarium’s diverse constituencies. They will continually raise the bar and drive business performance collaboratively with peers and partners across the organization. The ideal candidate will enjoy the challenges of a senior leadership role and of managing a dynamic, fast-paced operation. 


  • Bachelor’s degree in business administration, museum studies, finance, or related field.  
  • Equivalent work experience will be considered alternatively to a degree.


  • Minimum of 5 years of experience in planning, development, implementation, and evaluation of customer service programs 
  • Knowledge of high-traffic contact center/box office operations and metrics 
  • Bilingual (English/Spanish) strongly preferred 
  • Demonstrated proficiency in using, configuring, and refining the ticketing, reporting, and contribution modules of the Tessitura CRM system  
  • Active engagement in the Tessitura Network community including the development of external contacts 
  • Experience managing complex relationships, people management, and team building 
  • Demonstrated experience thinking creatively and working creatively with others  
  • Demonstrated experience in critical thinking, including systems thinking and problem-solving 
  • Demonstrated experience with program evaluation and data management 
  • Experience working with visitor audiences at a major cultural attraction 
  • Clear communication around process change to staff, Shedd leadership, and stakeholders 
  • Ability to analyze the organization’s KPIs and establish strategies and adjustments to meet performance standards 
  • Knowledge of forecasting to ensure adequate staffing to meet metrics 


  • Ability to read, write, speak, and comprehend English fluently. 
  • Ability to read and comprehend complex instructions given from written and oral sources.   
  • Ability to write professional business correspondence.  
  • Ability to effectively present information to and collaborate with all levels of employees. 


  • Ability to understand basic mathematical relationships and formulas. 
  • Ability to understand and employ intermediate-level accounting mathematics. 


  • Knowledge of Microsoft Word and Excel computer programs is required. 
  • Experience with Tessitura is required. 


The physical demands described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

  • Lift to 15 pounds  
  • Sit 
  • Stand 
  • Stoop 
  • Walk 


The work environment characteristics described here are representative of those an employee encounters while performing the essential functions of this job. 

This person may be exposed to: 

  • Water 
  • Heat 
  • Cold 
  • Exposure to the elements in an outdoor setting 
  • Exposure to air particles and potential allergens  
  • Low noise 
  • Moderate noise 
  • Loud noise 
  • Crowds 


We offer competitive compensation packages and opportunities for professional growth within our organization.

  • Medical Insurance
  • Vision and Dental Insurance
  • Accrued Paid Time Off
  • Paid Holidays
  • Life Insurance
  • Parental Leave
  • Employee Assistance Program
  • Employee discounts

Reasonable Accommodations:

Shedd Aquarium is committed to working with and providing reasonable accommodations to individuals with disabilities. If you need reasonable accommodations for any part of the employment process, please email us at humanresources@sheddaquarium.org.

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.


Please apply directly through the job link - https://sheddaquarium.applicantstack.com/x/detail/a23xwy5oey4v

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.

Category Admin & Leadership
Tags Outreach, Aquarium