The Chicago Zoological Society is uniquely positioned to expand our leadership role in conservation on a local, regional, national, and international level. Our approach to applied science and education has led to a history of significant programs that have directly benefited the conservation of wildlife and the natural world.
To maximize and sustain conservation impact, programs must integrate and apply scientific knowledge toward human action while leveraging cultural shifts through training, community engagement, strategic collaborations, and public policy involvement. The management team—along with the Board of Trustees of the Chicago Zoological Society—is accountable for leading CZS toward desired strategic outcomes that advance the institution.
Based on rigorous review and evaluation of the best available data and alternatives, our leadership team functions collaboratively in a trusting and respectful environment, passionately committed to the mission of inspiring conservation leadership by connecting people with wildlife and nature.
Stuart D. Strahl, Ph.D., President and CEO
Joseph A. Couceiro, Vice President of Marketing
Dr. Stuart Strahl is a career conservationist with deep experience in applied science, restoration ecology, public policy, and not-for-profit management. Prior to arriving at CZS, Dr. Strahl led Audubon into national prominence as the acknowledged private-sector leader in the largest ecological restoration initiative in history, the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. His prior positions include founding President/CEO of Audubon of Florida, Vice President and Everglades Conservation Director of the National Audubon Society, and Research Fellow and founding Director of Latin American Programs for the Wildlife Conservation Society. Dr. Strahl is dedicated to converting conservation into a mainstream public issue. He has worked extensively to develop lasting partnerships in the United States and Latin America, which have resulted in preservation of over 30 million acres of wildlife habitat and over $15 billion in conservation funding. He has broad experience in bringing together diverse interests around mainstream causes. He has served on various Boards of Directors, including the Society for Conservation Biology, the Everglades Foundation, and Vital Ground Foundation. Dr. Strahl is also well-versed in philanthropic support, having raised many millions of dollars in operational funding to support these initiatives. Dr. Strahl received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biology from Bates College, where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa, and his Ph.D. in Biology from the State University of New York at Albany. He served for over 10 years as the founding Chair of the IUCN/SSC Specialist Group on the Avian Family Cracidae and on adjunct faculties of the University of Florida, State University of New York, Washington College, and elsewhere.
Sandra Dornhecker, Vice President of Human Resources
Joseph A. Couceiro brings over 28 years marketing leadership experience at world-renowned zoological and conservation-oriented organizations to his role as Vice President of Marketing for The Chicago Zoological Society. Previously Couceiro served as Chief Marketing Officer for Busch Entertainment Corporation (BEC) with global responsibility for all aspects of marketing, communications, brand management, and sales. Prior to ascending to the top marketing position at BEC, Couceiro served as Vice President of Marketing for all five BEC parks in Florida from 2003 - 2006. Couceiro started his career with SeaWorld of Florida in 1981 as a senior sales representative covering South Florida and Latin America, successively assuming expanded responsibilities as Manager International Sales, and as Director of Sales on the SeaWorld of Texas grand opening team in 1986. Couceiro left SeaWorld in 1988 to work at Walt Disney World Marketing opening MGM Studios, and was subsequently appointed by the Governor of Florida as Bureau Chief of Domestic Tourism for the Florida Department of Commerce. Couceiro rejoined SeaWorld in 1990 taking on progressively more challenging roles as Director of Sales & Promotions for SeaWorld of Florida, in 1993 as Senior Group Director of Worldwide Sales, Promotions and Partnerships for all BEC parks, and in 2000 as Vice President of Marketing for Busch Gardens Tampa.
Richard G. Gamble, Senior Vice President of Operations
Sandra Dornhecker holds a Bachelors degree in Behavioral Science from National Louis University and has completed graduate work towards an M.B.A. degree in Human Resources. Prior to her work at the Chicago Zoological Society, she worked for 13 years as the Director of Human Resources for the Illinois Cancer Center, a non-profit cancer research consortium of university medical centers, teaching schools, and hospitals in Illinois, and she held various other management and administrative positions prior to this in the corporate sector. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Society for Human Resource Professionals (SHRP), the Employment Management Association (EMA), and the Society for Young American Professionals. She has been listed in Marquis’ Who’s Who since 1998 and received the Kelly Award of Excellence in 1980. In 2000, she co-founded the Chicago Metropolitan HR Cultural Group, a professional group of top HR professionals representing major Chicagoland cultural and non-profit organizations.
Alejandro Grajal, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Conservation, Education and Training
A Chicago native, Richard Gamble most recently served as Vice President & General Manager of Chicagoland Publishing and Publisher of Chicago Magazine for the Chicago Tribune Media Group. During his impressive 16-year career with the Tribune, he held several leadership positions, including Vice President of Finance & Operations, Publisher & General Manager for Exito! Newspaper, Director of Business Development, and Director of the Packaging Division. Prior to his employment at the Tribune, Gamble held various logistics and operations positions for Taco Bell Corporation and McMaster-Carr Supply Company, all which added to his deep experience and skills to assume the Society’s leadership position. Gamble holds a Masters of Management degree from Northwestern University with concentrations in marketing, management strategy and planning, and organizational behavior. An active community leader, he serves on several nonprofit boards, including Chicago Sinfonietta, Chicago Loop Alliance, Greater North Michigan Avenue Association, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, and SOS Children’s Villages of Illinois, among others.
Ken Kaduk, Senior Vice President of Finance and Administration
Dr. Alejandro Grajal was the founder and executive director of the Latin America and Caribbean program of the National Audubon Society in Florida. While there, he worked with more than 50 partner organizations in 15 countries around the world. He received his undergraduate degree in Ecology at Simon Bolívar University in Caracas and his Ph.D. in Zoology from the University of Florida. He was Director of the Latin American Programs at the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York from 1991 to 1998. He has participated in protected-area planning and conservation programs with the United States Agency for International Development, the Global Environmental Fund, the World Bank, and the European Union.
Jo-Elle Mogerman, Ph. D., Vice President of Institutional Planning and Inclusion
Ken Kaduk has extensive experience in the financial industry. Before joining the Chicago Zoological Society, he served as Regional Vice President of Operations and Controller for General Roofing, Inc., a nationwide construction service provider and subcontractor. Prior to that, he was Vice-President of Finance and Administration for Wen Products, Inc., a privately held manufacturer of power tools for lawn care and car care. Other positions have included Vice-President of Finance and Administration for Grolier Publishing Company; Controller of CECO Concrete Construction; and Manager of Financial and Operational Analysis for Northwest Industries. Ken has an M.B.A. with concentrations in accounting and finance from University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and a B.A. in mathematics and economics from Lake Forest College.
Cindy Zeigler, Chief Advancement Officer
Dr. Jo-Elle Mogerman is a native Chicagoan who grew up with a love of animals. She applied that love to her academic pursuits obtaining a B.A. in Biology from Macalester College, M.A. in Conservation Biology from the University of Minnesota and a PhD. in Biology from University of Illinois-Chicago. She fell into education as a way to reach others, particularly people of color, with conservation messages. Jo-Elle has devoted her professional life to creating and implementing conservation education programs that address institutional and audience needs. She has successfully managed staff, budgets and grants. This has led to experience with project management, media, community relations and strategic planning. Several awards have been granted under her leadership of organizations, programs or projects. She is a member of the AZA Diversity Committee.
William Zeigler, Senior Vice President of Animal Programs
Chris Jabin, Senior Vice President of Development
Cindy Zeigler is a seasoned career professional with more than 32 years of diverse experience in development and fundraising, marketing, and overall institutional management. For 13 years, she was a partner in Zeigler and Zeigler, working on a consulting basis with such organizations as National Audubon Society/Audubon of Florida, The Center for Orangutan and Chimpanzee Conservation, The Cullen Vivarium, The Trout Lake Nature Center, The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, The Humane Society of Marion County, and the Turtle Survival Alliance. Prior to her work as a consultant, she held positions as Deputy Director of the Zoological Society of Florida at Miami’s Metro Zoo, overseeing development, membership, special events, marketing, finance, Board development, gift concessions, and capital projects; as Executive Director of Miami’s Parrot Jungle and Gardens, responsible for the management and development of the attraction; and as Assistant Director for the State of Florida for CARE International, responsible for fundraising, marketing, media development, and direct mail.
John Kramer, Vice President of Plant & Facilities
Chris Jabin became Senior Vice President of Development for the Chicago Zoological Society in January 2014. In this capacity he leads a team responsible for Annual Giving, Major Gifts, Corporate Partners, Planned Giving and Special Campaigns. Prior to assuming this position Jabin served as Director of Institutional Giving at Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he began his development career 27 years ago. As a member of the company’s senior management team, Jabin supported General Director, Anthony Freud and Creative Consultant, Renée Fleming by facilitating partnerships with other organizations in relation to new artistic, educational and community engagement initiatives. Prior to returning to Lyric, Jabin served the John G. Shedd Aquarium as its Executive Vice President for Development for over a decade. He was responsible for supervising all fundraising, membership and travel programs of the aquarium, as well as assisting the CEO and trustees with Board governance, development and succession planning. During his tenure, Jabin directed campaigns raising more than $100 million for capital improvements and expansion, implemented a planned giving program to help grow the organization’s $130 million endowment, and directed annual fund campaigns that increased from $5 million in 2001 to more than $11 million in 2010. Before joining Shedd Aquarium, Jabin was Director of Development for the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) where he oversaw the completion of a $60 million capital campaign and an expanded annual giving program. Prior to his work at the MCA he served the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio Foundation in Oak Park as Director of External Relations. His first tour with Lyric Opera began in 1987 when he was Assistant Director of Development for Guild Board Activities and Director of Planned Giving. Jabin received the Benjamin Franklin Award from the Chicago Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals in 2014. He was elected to the Board of Arts Alliance Illinois in 2012, and became a member of the Executive Committee in 2013. Jabin was honored by UBS in 2008 as one of the first participants in their Nonprofit Scholars Art of Leadership Program offered in conjunction with Northwestern University. He has also served as an adjunct faculty member at the School of the Art Institute, Northwestern University and the University of Illinois at Chicago in the arts administration programs. Jabin received his BA in psychology from Albion College in Michigan with a concentration in public service from the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Public Service.
Jerry Johnston, Vice President of Guest Services
John Kramer has more than 15 years of experience that he brings to the Chicago Zoological Society as vice president of plant and facilities where he oversees several areas, including exhibits, facilities, grounds, vehicle and equipment maintenance, capital project management, and janitorial. Previously, he served as the public works director for the City of Wood Dale and managed its public works department that encompassed streets and forestry, utilities, and vehicle and building maintenance operations. Prior to that he was a superintendent during the summer months for the Parks and Recreation Department at Fox Valley Country Club for the City of Aurora that has a population of nearly 200,000. The rest of the year he worked as a supervisor for Parks and Recreation working in coordination with City of Aurora Public Properties Street Division overseeing a portion of snow and ice control for the city as well as maintained its municipal parks. At the Addison Park District, he served in several positions, including golf course superintendent and operations manager at the district’s nine-hole golf course where he directed its renovation, the construction of an 18-hole adventure golf course, events center, and a maintenance facility. Kramer holds a B.S. degree in conservation from Northern Michigan University.