Denise's Open Road

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Assistant Director
Los Angeles Zoo

“Things will come to you even when you're not really seeking them out; you'll know it when it's right.”


Environment & Nature Government


Beliefs & Faith Community Education Family Transitions


Problem Solving


  • Says "if somebody would've told me 20 years ago, 'you're gonna work at a zoo,' I would've thought they were out of their mind."
  • Worked as an intern for the City of Los Angeles straight out of college.
  • Wanted to learn about city government, found her work interesting, stayed on when offered a permanent job.
  • She eventually worked her way up to managing the Parks and Recreation budget, which included the Los Angeles Zoo.
  • When opportunity to become assistant director of the Zoo opened up, she decided to compete in the nationwide job hunt.
  • When she got the job, says she felt like she'd just won the Super Bowl: "I'm going to...that place in Orange County!"
  • Loves working at the Zoo because she feels like she's truly giving back; been there nine years, her kids think she has the coolest job.
  • Says don't worry about your career choice disappointing your parents: "there are 5,000 other things you could be doing that are the epitome of disappointment."

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