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Tulsa Zoo Names Lindsay Hutchison President and CEO

(July 30, 2020)

Tulsa Zoo Management, Inc. today announced Lindsay Hutchison, the zoo’s Vice President of Philanthropy and Community Engagement, has been selected to succeed retiring President and CEO Terrie Correll effective Aug. 17, 2020. Correll announced her retirement plans in November 2019 with a commitment to continue to lead the zoo until a successor had been named through a national search process.

John Stava, TZMI Board Chairman, made the announcement to the zoo team.

“Our world was much different when our zoo embarked on the executive search process late last year. Since that time, we’ve seen the zoo industry, in fact all destinations, struggle with challenges we could not have foreseen back then. What hasn’t changed is our zoo’s commitment to delivering the best in animal care, to being a leader in wildlife education and conservation, and to contributing to the vibrancy that makes our community the finest in which to live, work and visit. For these reasons, Lindsay is the right person to continue the momentum created by Terrie during her impressive tenure,” Stava says. “I join the entire TZMI board in thanking Terrie for her leadership and commitment to our zoo. The board is grateful for the progress she made and excited about the zoo’s future under Lindsay’s leadership.”

Ken Klein, who led the executive search committee for TZMI’s board, shared Stava’s appreciation for Terrie’s leadership and commented on the process that led to Hutchison’s hiring.

“Our committee was charged to conduct a national search for the best available CEO candidate. With the aid of an excellent team from executive search firm Isaacson, Miller, we met the charge. Through the interview process, we met wonderfully qualified candidates and learned about the success other zoos around the country enjoy. In the end, we concluded that not only is the Tulsa Zoo highly respected by its peers, but also that the best CEO candidate has been at our zoo for almost 15 years. We enthusiastically recommended Lindsay Hutchison’s hiring to our Board.”

Hutchison has served as Vice President of Philanthropy and Community Engagement since 2015. She joined the zoo in 2005 as development coordinator for the former Tulsa Zoo Friends, Inc. She established herself as a leader in fundraising, guest relations and external engagement along the way. Because of her dedication to zoo industry leadership, Hutchison was selected for the Executive Leadership Training Program created by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Tulsa Zoo’s accrediting body. Through this elite program, Hutchison honed her zoo management expertise and deepened relationships among industry leaders nationwide.

Her passion for zoos began right here in Tulsa, as a four-year-old who met an elephant named Gunda.

“My personal experience proves that zoos can shape lives when we are able to build connections with the natural world. When I was fortunate to get a job at the Tulsa Zoo more than 15 years ago, it became even more clear to me that I could directly impact the ways our guests experience our zoo and our amazing animals through a more meaningful and educational zoo visit,” Hutchison says.

“I am so appreciative of Terrie, for the foundation she built and the opportunities she has given me through the years to make a difference. Zoos matter because animals matter. I am thrilled for this new chapter of building connections that will sustain wild species and wild places into the future.”

Correll joined the Tulsa Zoo in 2009 as Zoo Director and was named President and CEO in October 2011. Her zoo career spanned more than four decades, fueling her passion for the critical role zoos play in a community as well as in the wider world of education and conservation. She credits her drive to save species to childhood trips to the San Diego Zoo. It was a behind the scenes tour of the Oklahoma City Zoo during her senior year of college at Oklahoma State University that led Correll to pursue a career as part of the zoo field.

“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to start the transformation of the Tulsa Zoo, including completion of Phase I of the master plan,” Correll says. “I can proudly say despite the current pandemic-raised economic challenges, today’s Tulsa Zoo remains a mission-based organization with a staff dedicated to providing the best in animal care and welfare, and guest experiences. And despite changes since I made my initial announcement to retire, I remain confident in our zoo and know Lindsay will continue to build the zoo our community and animals deserve.”

Previously, Correll served as Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for The Living Desert, a zoological and botanical garden in Palm Desert, Calif., that focuses on desert conservation. Terrie began her zoo career as a zookeeper at the Sedgwick County Zoo in Wichita, KS. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Wildlife Ecology from OSU.

She has served on numerous AZA committees, including Ethics, Field Conservation, Taxon Advisory Groups and Species Survival Plans. She currently serves as an AZA institutional accreditation inspector. Additionally, she has served as a member of the IUCN’s Antelope Specialist Group, Conservation Planning Specialist Group, and is a founding board member for the Sahara Conservation Fund. She has also coordinated addax antelope reintroduction from AZA zoos to Tunisia.