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The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee


The Elephant Sanctuary in Tennessee


Job Summary

The Chief Operating Officer (COO) will be a pivotal partner in advancing The Sanctuary’s mission and vision by ensuring plans and strategies developed by the CEO and Board of Directors are properly and successfully implemented.  The COO will be an integral part of The Sanctuary as a member of a high-performing, experienced executive team made up of the CEO, Director of Finance, and Director of Facilities and will coordinate the senior management team that also includes the Director of Veterinary Care, Senior Manager for Elephant Care, and Senior Manager for External Relations, all of whom report to the CEO.

The COO is a linchpin to our success, striking a balance between our commitment to the essence of Sanctuary and efficient, effective business operations.


  • The ideal candidate will have successful experience as a senior manager in a business environment that relies strongly on internal and external collaborations, requires a keen professional savvy regarding the varied interests of key stakeholders, has a highly developed culture that supports the organization’s unique mission and vision, and collaborates with international partners.
  • The candidate must be adept at building relationships and working with and in various organizations within the US and globally.
  • The candidate will have demonstrated strength in operating within her/his own initiative while staying aligned with and in collaborative relationships with other senior managers and departments.
  • In addition, the ideal candidate will possess strong writing and presentation skills, attention to details, and the qualities of a holistic team leader. She/he knows when to lead, when to follow and when to collaborate, particularly as a key member of the executive team that supports the Sanctuary.

Job Responsibilities


With responsibility for assisting the CEO and senior management team in the overall planning, direction, and management of the Sanctuary, the COO:

  • Coordinates the strategic planning process including the establishment of short and long-range goals.
  • Coordinates the Senior Management Team made up of the CEO, Director of Finance, Director of Facilities, Director of Veterinary Care, Senior Manager for Elephant Care, and Senior Manager for External Relations.
  • Works closely with all department heads to ensure alignment with the Strategic Plan and day-to-day operations of Elephant Care, Education and Outreach, Development, Facilities, and Finance.
  • Assists with developing personnel policies and the performance review system.
  • Manages IT and communications systems.
  • Manages the Sanctuary’s legal needs such as trademarking and IP issues
  • Participates in review of department budgets.
  • Ensures accreditations from GFAS, AZA, and USDA.
  • Supports and complements the role of the CEO acting in CEO stead as needed.



  • Masters in business, animal welfare, or seven to ten years’ experience in related fields.
  • Working knowledge and experience with management systems.
  • Seven to ten years’ experience in management and supervision with a proven track record of successful team building and positive impact on the organization as a whole.


Additional Information


Medical, dental, vision, EAP, 401K with up to 3% match, short term disability, life, airevac along with supplemental insurance critical illness, accident and additional life

How to Apply

Email cover letter and resume to


  • Date Posted: November 23, 2022
  • Type: Full-Time
  • Job Function: Executive Leadership
  • Service Area: Other
  • Salary Range: depends on experience
  • Working Hours: 40 hrs/wk