In a historic move for wildlife conservation aficionados and glass-ceiling shatterers alike, the Dallas Zoo has catapulted Lisa New into the limelight as its first-ever female CEO in a storied 135-year existence. New, who cut her teeth at Zoo Knoxville for a decade, is pegged to take the helm on January 15, 2024, filling the sizable boots of her late mentor and previous CEO, Gregg Hudson, as reported by WFAA.
New's tenure at Zoo Knoxville marked a significant upswing for the institution, where attendance numbers ballooned by 52% and revenue witnessed a jaw-dropping 105% surge. Dallas Zoo higher-ups lauded her transformative leadership, which saw the Knoxville zoo shrug off a prior slump to thrive under initiatives like a $39 million capital campaign and expansive construction projects that boldly redefined the zoo's skyline. "Lisa quickly rose to the top of our list given her impressive career accomplishments that represent everything we were seeking in our new CEO," Dawn Moore, Chair of the Dallas Zoo Board of Directors, said per WFAA.
In a heartfelt homage to her roots, New confided, “It is a great honor and responsibility to be entrusted with the legacy that is Dallas Zoo.” She elaborated on the shared ethos she observed between herself and the Dallas team, recognizing a “strong commitment to the wellbeing of our animals, our staff, and our guests to foster a culture that engages our community and protects wildlife," according to WBIR.
Dawn Moore further fanned the flames of excitement around New's appointment by applauding her as someone who doesn't need to sing her own praises. “She’s got the kind of track record where she doesn’t have to brag about herself. You can just see it in what she brings to the table”, she stated. With plans for the Dallas Zoo to bound through the forthcoming decades under its newly minted master plan, New's stewardship is expected to be the wind beneath its wings, propelling it to new heights. Moore is betting big on the synergistic effect of New's prowess and the existing team's dynamism, certain that "the city will be so lucky to have this zoo in place.", per The Dallas Morning News.