Denise's Open Road
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Poor, Lazy Overachievers
Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles Zoo
city government, equality, in the moment, open mind, parks and recreation, progress, questioning yourself, school, zoo
Twenty years ago, if someone had told Denise Verret that she'd be working at a zoo, she would have thought they were crazy. Fast-forward to the future, and now as deputy director of the Los Angeles Zoo, she and her children think she has the greatest job in the world. Denise's path began two weeks after she graduated from college and landed a position as an intern for the city of Los Angeles. She eventually got a permanent position there as an analyst in its Parks and Recreations department, and the zoo was included in that. Denise knew the director of the zoo very well and a position eventually opened up for an assistant director. At first, she didn't know if she could do it—it was a high-level position and she didn't know anything about zoos or how to run a zoo. But she did know that she loved the magical atmosphere and the sense of community that a zoo gave people from all over the world. And something inside her told her that this path was for her, so she decided to compete for the position. To her surprise, she ended up landing the job. On that day, she felt like she had won the Super Bowl. Nine years later, Denise still loves her what she does every day.