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Public Engagement Facilitator

Shedd Aquarium
Chicago, United States Posted: October 26, 2023

The Public Engagement Facilitator is a member of the Public Engagement team in the Learning & Community Division, which works to breathe life into learning through up-close connections with aquatic animals, STEAM-based environmental education, career development and mentorship, community partnerships, and opportunities for communities to take action for animals. Together, we are working to increase access to the aquatic animal world and nurture a sense of belonging at the aquarium and in nature. 

Public Engagement team members help to tailor and deliver high quality experiences that bring Shedd’s mission and vision to life and inspire audiences to learn and take action. Facilitators interact daily with Shedd guests, youth learners, donors and other stakeholders. They deliver a wide variety of experiences, ranging from small-scale unscripted conversations in the galleries to small-group tours behind-the-scenes to large-scale presentations on microphone for 1,000-person audiences in the Oceanarium amphitheater. The scope of the role varies based on the needs of the experience.  There is a strong performance element in this role, and Facilitators will be in front of audiences as large as 1,000 guests at a time.  This position requires memorization of multiple program outlines, aquatic world content and information related to taking action for animals.  

The position requires a strong ability to apply improvisational techniques and dynamically engage audiences off-script. Tailoring content to various audiences and rapidly adapting and evolving to guest and aquarium needs are important skills, as is the ability to connect with a diversity of audiences with cultural competency. This position must have the ability to work evenings, weekends, and holidays as required. 

Team Member Attributes: 

As a member of the Public Engagement team, each individual should possess the following qualities which will enable the team to achieve Shedd’s mission to spark compassion, curiosity and conservation for the aquatic animal world. 

  • Positive attitude 
  • Inclusive and supportive of other team members 
  • Proactive in bringing forward solutions to challenges 
  • Maintain positive working relationships 
  • Guest focus in all activities, passion for people 
  • Ability to proactively engage guests 
  • Valuing diverse perspectives 
  • Creativity 
Shedd Way Charter:

As One Shedd, the Public Engagement team is expected to deliver an exceptional experience for other team members, staff, volunteers and internal and external guests. Each team member should demonstrate the Shedd Way charter qualities including but not limited to: 

  • Professional appearance 
  • Positive body language 
  • Seeking out guest contact 
  • Listening and responding to others needs 
  • Taking pride in Shedd 
  • Delight in the animals in our care 
  • Learning about and respecting those you work with 
Essential Duties & Responsibilities:

The requirements listed are representative of the knowledge, skill and/or ability required.  Reasonable accommodations may be made to enable individuals with disabilities to perform the essential functions. Other duties may be assigned. 

  • Demonstrate commitment to Shedd’s vision, mission and values 
  • Proactively interact with the public and animal care team members 
  • Memorize and perform multiple scripts and thematic outlines 
  • Learn script/outline revisions, blocking adjustments, and ongoing program content updates 
  • Dynamically engage guests about the aquatic world 
  • Communicate ways to take action to protect animals and our planet 
  • Tailor content to various audiences, adapting key messages based on audience 
  • Demonstrate cultural competence through interactions and approach to engagement 
  • Improvise and facilitate content based on audience responses, interest, and knowledge 
  • Include the audience voice and participation elements in various experiences  
  • Work near animals, strictly adhering to all established protocols 
  • Serve as a role model to staff and volunteers for guest interactions and knowledge 
  • Attend training workshops  
  • Demonstrate continued growth in content knowledge and increased aptitude in program delivery/facilitation 
  • Understand and take part in the operation throughout the building, including but not limited to: 
  • Aquarium/Oceanarium Experiences 
  • Program Facilitation 
  • Participatory Engagements 
  • Cooperate closely with management to set personal goals, hone skills, and receive feedback to enhance growth 
  • Assist in orient and onboard new hires  
  • Apply improvisational strategies in programs and experiences 
  • Integrate feedback, ongoing coaching and direction in presentations and programs 
  • Serve on interdepartmental teams 
  • Other duties as needed or assigned 

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 the essential functions. 

  • High School diploma, GED or equivalent required.  Some college preferred.      
  • Minimum of one year's experience in a role that requires daily communication with the public required. Experience in education, public speaking, theatre and or improvisation preferred 
  • Experience delivering programs to a variety of audiences in a museum, zoo or aquarium setting preferred 
  • Experience in aquatic science and/or biology preferred 
  • Spanish language speaker preferred 
Special Skills & Characteristics  
  • Ability to effectively present information to and collaborate with colleagues and guests alike 
  • Ability to execute excellent public speaking skills and science teaching aptitude 
  • Ability to improvise due to variable animal activities and guest needs 
  • Ability to spend majority of the day interacting with the public and being “on the go” 
  • Ability to execute excellent public speaking skills and science teaching aptitude 
  • Ability to maintain good vocal control with the ability to speak publicly for many hours each day without loss of voice 

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. If you need a reasonable accommodation at any point in the application or interview process, please let us know. In your application, please feel free to select which pronouns you use (For example – she/her/hers, he/him/his, they/them/theirs).

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