Seneca Park Zoo Society
  • Rochester, NY, USA
  • Salary
  • Full Time

Department: Development

Working Hours: Full time. Monday - Friday and occasional evening and weekend hours November - April; frequent night and weekend hours May - September to manage private catered events and special event fundraisers.

Direct Supervisor's Name and Title: Tyler Cassidy-Heacock, Director of Resource Development

FLSA Status: Exempt


The Custom Events & Experiences Manager will provide overall leadership and management for successful custom events on behalf of the Seneca Park Zoo Society. This includes setting the overall strategic direction for custom events and experiences while also managing the logistical details, such as budgets and vendor relations, and ensuring compliance with all applicable agreements and protocols. This role serves as the primary liaison between the Zoo Society and The SSA Group, our on-site partner for admissions, concessions, and catering. The Custom Events & Experiences Manager will seek out and support private clients (individuals and institutions) for custom experiences at the Zoo and work to broaden engagement by coordinating additional events on behalf of the Zoo Society, including new initiatives such as Sunset Safari private high-end dinners. As a part of the Development Team, this role supports signature fundraising events by assisting and collaborating with the Special Events Manager and other members of Development and Senior Staff.


  • Works with the Development Team and the President/CEO in developing the strategy and overseeing the execution of Seneca Park Zoo Society's private and signature events. Is on-site for a majority of Zoo Society and catered functions. This role has responsibility for booking, planning, setting up, hosting, and tearing down custom private events held at Seneca Park Zoo (~40 events per year) and is the designated staff member for all catering needs and inquiries.
  • Assists with the development of concepts, themes, and formats for other major events for the organization that engage supporters, increase brand awareness and grow revenue. Contributes event expertise to aid in developing and executing new and non-signature events and experiences.
  • Creates, recommends, and implements support systems to grow revenue for the Zoo Society. Develops strong and consistent private event policies, innovates opportunities for new private events or add-ons that drive revenue, and establishes protocols that will enable further growth of private event business.
  • Assists in developing event concepts and templates for new spaces which will become available for private use and Society events with the completion of the Zoo's capital projects (anticipated 2026).
  • Achieves earned income goals for fundraising and private catered events by managing relationships with donors/clients and vendors and seeks to engage donors/clients in additional forms of support, i.e. event sponsorship, volunteerism, personal giving, etc.
  • With Special Events Manager, Volunteer Manager, and Development Team, support major Zoo signature events including ZooBrew, Zoobilation gala, and more. Acts as primary liaison with The SSA Group for summer ZooBrew series, ensuring their operation of bars contributes to event success and guest experience.
  • Establishes and manages event timelines to ensure on-time task completion.
  • Coordinates across SPZS Departments to arrange internal private events for donors, members, and other core constituent groups. Organizes these events in collaboration with department staff and The SSA Group to ensure success.
  • Negotiates with venues, consultants and vendors to secure rates that optimize budgets. Manages consultants and vendors prior to and during the event to ensure flawless efficiency.
  • With support from Director of Resource Development, participates in budget development and provides financial reporting to internal departments and external agencies.
  • Develops content for event correspondence, collateral materials, social media and web. Leads efforts to reach new audiences for custom event and experience business.
  • Oversees the post-event coordination including but not limited to debrief meetings, event surveys, recognition to key constituents, financial reporting and data transfer.
  • Informs, coordinates, and updates staff members and other involved parties throughout the event cycle.
  • Performs additional duties and responsibilities as needed.


This position is supported by the Development and Events Coordinator but does not have supervisory responsibilities.


Desktop/laptop computer

MS Office Software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint)

Salesforce, Shopify, Caterease, JotForm, and SurveyMonkey software


This position requires sitting, walking, standing, speaking, hearing, interacting with general public, visitors and staff. Will spend extended periods of time standing. Some lifting and carrying less than 40 pounds.


Work is performed primarily in an office environment with moderate to light noise. Walking to various locations throughout the Seneca Park Zoo will require exposure to outdoor elements. Due to Zoo's hours of operation, night and weekend availability for special events is required.



Bachelor's degree or equivalent years of experience


  • Must possess three or more years of events experience.
  • Ability to represent the Seneca Park Zoo Society in a variety of venues to diverse constituencies.
  • Proven experience building consensus across internal and external constituents.
  • Proven success in establishing clear direction, operating against objectives and meeting deadlines.
  • Exhibit strong management skills and have experience and confidence in autonomous decision-making and in working collaboratively as part of a team.
  • Exhibit energetic and enthusiastic leadership qualities and be comfortable with both the creative elements and technical components of the role.
  • Demonstrate a high level of resilience and have proven experience in managing strong personalities with patience and a sense of humor.
  • Must be proficient in Microsoft office products; Salesforce, Caterease, Shopify, and SurveyMonkey experience a plus.
  • Maintain a valid New York State Driver's License.


Excellent interpersonal, verbal and written communications skills. Highly organized strategic thinker. Strong organizational skills. Strong collaboration skills and ability to work well with others.

Seneca Park Zoo Society is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

We celebrate diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for all employees.

Seneca Park Zoo Society
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