WAZA Expands Executive Office

Posted: 10 November 2023

In April this year, WAZA members voted unanimously to approve the new vision and strategic priorities for the future of our global association. The was followed by the Annual General Assembly in October 2023, at San Diego, where the membership also voted on and unanimously approved the changes in membership fees that will allow WAZA to work towards achieving the ambitious mandate its members have entrusted upon it.

As the Executive Office begins the process of operationalising the new vision and strategic priorities, a key step is ensuring that there is enough capacity within the office. In September, the Executive Office welcomed María Jesús Sanz, as the new Finance and Office Manager. With a background in Economics and a Master’s degree in International Humanitarian Action, María has extensive experience as a financial project controller in the Administration Department of different NGOs with a focus on international cooperation and social sector. Originally from Zaragoza, she lives in Barcelona with her Mexican partner and their teenage son.

In October, the team also welcomed a new Communications Intern, Milly Wernerus. Originally from France, Milly has recently moved to Barcelona after two years in Helsinki. Following a summer job kayaking in the Costa Brava, Milly is happy to be joining WAZA for the next few months and is looking forward to developing new skills, learning more about the world of zoos and aquariums and meeting new people. Milly holds a university degree in Anthropology and is passionate about travel, wildlife conservation and sustainable living. 

Towards the end of the month, Janet Ho, the WAZA Membership Director and Emma Burke, the WAZA Administrative Assistant were also elevated to the roles of WAZA Membership and Events Director and WAZA Membership and Events Assistant respectively. Janet Ho joined WAZA in 2018 as the Membership Director, where she is responsible for developing and leading the global association’s membership growth and maintenance strategy. With the expansion of her role to Membership and Events Director, she will also oversee the organisation of WAZA events such as annual conferences and other events.

Emma Burke joined WAZA as the Administrative Assistant in June 2022. Originally from Ireland, Emma has a diverse background, having worked in various roles such as waitress, receptionist, HR administration, and Corporate Coordinator. Emma’s passion for learning and growth has led her to transition into the role of Membership and Events Assistant. Emma is eager to contribute her established skills to support WAZA and the WAZA Team and accompany the organisation in its exciting journey towards achieving the new vision.  

WAZA CEO, Dr Martín Zordan said, ‘2023 has been a crucial year for WAZA. We have received tremendous support from our members in taking the first steps to operationalise the new vision and strategic priorities that the members have trusted us to implement. In order to do this, we have expanded existing roles and welcomed new team members to ensure that the Executive Office has the capacity to work effectively. I thank the members for their continued support as WAZA enters this next chapter.’

The World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA) is the global alliance of regional associations, national federations, zoos and aquariums, dedicated to the care and conservation of animals and their habitats around the world.

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