Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County

Associate Vice President, Guest Experience

Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County
Los Angeles, CA
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THE ORGANIZATION

The Natural History Museums of Los Angeles County (NHMLAC)—the Natural History Museum (NHM) in Exposition Park, La Brea Tar Pits in mid-Wilshire/Miracle Mile, and the William S. Hart Museum in Newhall—occupy an unrivaled position in the exploration of L.A., and the world.

As home to over 35 million specimens and artifacts, they have the largest natural and cultural history collection in the western United States, a range of indoor and outdoor experiences across three sites that serve 1.3 million visitors a year, and the only active urban paleontological excavation site in the world at the Tar Pits.

With the vision to inspire wonder, discovery, and responsibility for our natural and cultural worlds, the NHMLAC are a public-private partnership between the nonprofit Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History Foundation and the County of Los Angeles.

The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County was the first museum in L.A., opening its doors in 1913, and is poised for an exciting new era as it plans for the future. In 2018, the institution completed a strategic framework, which defines how the Museums, through their research and unparalleled collections, interact with their communities—onsite and beyond their walls, through new building projects, campaigns, exhibitions, community outreach, and innovative audience engagement. Centered on principles of accessibility and engagement, the NHMLAC are a hub for discoveries and dialogue around critical issues of global significance and local impact.

In 2021, the NHMLAC instituted the Inclusion, Diversity, Equity & Access Framework, aspiring to become an actively intersectional anti-racist institution which performs the entirety of its work through the lens of inclusion, diversity, equity and access (IDEA), enabling its mission through stronger connections with staff and community.

For more information, please visit www.nhmlac.org.

THE OPPORTUNITY                                     

The NHMLAC are seeking a strategic, collaborative and revenue-oriented leader with exceptional communication, customer service and management skills for the newly created role of Associate Vice President of Guest Experience (AVP). Reporting to the Chief Strategy & External Relations Officer and working closely with colleagues across the organization, the AVP will be charged with overseeing a best practice guest experience and optimal third-party revenue function at the Natural History Museum in Exposition Park and at La Brea Tar Pits. 

RESPONSIBILITIES

The AVP will have oversight of the Guest Relations Department (admissions, call center, 3D theater, floor staff, and on-site Membership sales teams) and will be the primary operational liaison with food service and retail operations, parking, security, and performing arts. The Guest Relations team consists of approximately 80+ full-time and part-time employees through four direct reports: Director, Guest Experience; Manager, Guest Communications; Manager, Learning & Development; and Manager, Department Operations. This is a high-level and highly collaborative role that will work cross-departmentally with colleagues in Marketing & Communications, Advancement, Digital Strategies, Facilities & Operations, Research & Collections, Exhibitions, Education, Public Programs & Community Engagement, and Human Resources, to develop and deliver optimal guest experience strategies.

Primary responsibilities will include but not be limited to:

Experience, Engagement, and Organizational Effectiveness

  • Developing and delivering a customer service strategy that aligns with NHMLAC’s organizational culture and strategic objectives to deliver an exceptional visitor experience.
  • Evaluating and directing all NHMLAC policies and procedures for customer service and quality assurance, partnering with relevant stakeholders in the effective execution and implementation of changes.
  • In partnership with the Advancement team, servicing current Members, achieving onsite membership acquisition and retention sales goals, and ensuring that projected revenues, customer service standards and operational goals are met. 
  • Managing and overseeing the Guest Relations and call center teams, ensuring efficiency, quality control, optimized systems, as well as proper staff training processes to deliver exceptional customer service.
  • In partnership with Marketing and Digital Strategies, as superusers of the ticketing system (currently ACME), optimizing the system’s effectiveness and communication to deliver the best experience for customers.
  • Developing and implementing ticketing strategy and crowd control plans in collaboration with the Marketing team for general admission, exhibitions and public programs to support revenue goals and ensure an unparalleled guest experience.
  • Directing responses to visitor comments, making timely and appropriate decisions.
  • With consultation from the Human Resources department, developing and implementing internal Guest Relations policies, procedures, and objectives in compliance with federal, state, and city law.
  • Instituting employee relations practices necessary to further a positive employee-employer relationship, promote a high level of employee morale and engagement, and provide growth opportunities for frontline and managerial Guest Relations staff.

 Business Enterprise & Third-Party Revenue Function

  • Overseeing the monitoring, evaluation and performance of current key third-party vendor contracts and the selection of any new vendors, including but not limited to food service and retail, ensuring delivery of a top-notch guest experience for NHMLAC visitors and staff.
  • In partnership with the Marketing team, increase revenue in retail stores through strategic product development and in-store merchandising and storytelling.
  • Seeking new service-based revenue generating opportunities for NHMLAC to enhance and improve guest experiences.
  • Directing and overseeing budgets for assigned departments and vendor contracts, establishing strategies and goals to achieve targets.

TRAITS AND CHARACTERISTICS DESIRED

The AVP must have exceptional interpersonal skills and will be an open yet tactful and persuasive communicator, both verbally and in writing. The successful candidate should be a revenue-minded, proactive, and inclusive leader who establishes strong relationships and develops trust when working both with colleagues within the Museum as well as external partners. With strong analytical and strategic planning skills, the AVP must be equally comfortable with day-to-day management, advocating for best practices while also enhancing team culture.

The following key attributes and competencies will also be valued:

  • Superb management skills and demonstrated ability to mentor, coach, train, and develop staff.
  • Ability to think strategically and tactically, and to “see around corners” anticipating any issues or problems early so that corrective action can be taken on a timely basis.
  • Effectively use various software and manipulate complex database and spreadsheet applications in gathering information, conducting analyses and developing reports. 
  • Excellent organizational, administrative and project management skills, including the ability to diagnose critical areas for attention and stay focused, and then translate strategies into measurable action. 
  • Ability to manage many projects at once and meet deadlines/schedules and achieve goals under pressure.
  • “Results oriented” personality, committed to delivering projects on budget and schedule to the established quality standard.
  • Ability to conduct analysis and research, including gathering information from a variety of sources to formulate recommendations. 
  • Service oriented attitude, with the ability to achieve results while maintaining budgets.
  • Ability to exercise sound judgment and model ethical standards.
  • Ability to function in a collaborative team environment and build and maintain effective relationships with the Museum’s various constituencies.
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including approachability, energy, tact, diplomacy, and flexibility.
  • Ability to value, actively seek and respond to various internal and external constituencies in order build consensus among diverse groups and arrive at sound solutions. 
  • Demonstrated ability to prepare coherent, effective and well-written and formatted presentation texts and graphics to the Museum’s various constituencies; make presentations to small and large groups; and explain complex planning concepts and solutions in a clear, concise manner.  
  • Excellent writing and proofreading skills and the demonstrated ability to prepare original or revise existing reports, letters, memoranda and other materials.

CAREER TRACK LEADING TO THIS POSITION

The successful candidate will be an experienced professional with a track record of success working within a complex, dynamic environment, ideally demonstrating:

  • 8 to 10 years of experience in both front-line and management roles, supervising cross-functional groups, with experience in a public ticketing environment preferred.
  • Track record of improving customer service using training and other strategies, preferably in a large, complex environment that serves the public.
  • Broad knowledge of all the functional areas of business operations, including sales, marketing/digital marketing, general management, organizational and human behavior, finance, and business administration.
  • Experience managing a large revenue budget and experience with contributing to the development of program budgets, forecasting and monitoring implementation to meet targets.
  • Experience in strategic planning, assisting in translating organizational vision to divisional or departmental goals.
  • Proven results attracting, retaining, and developing a large, diverse workforce that works weekends and holidays, welcoming members of the public at multiple venues or sites.
  • Strong background of accepted business practices in ticketing systems. Experience in membership, subscription or season ticketing and attraction-based marketing/sales preferred.
  • Successful experience integrating internal and external business drivers as well as financial and people-talent metrics to drive customer outcomes for a business, partnering with senior leadership to support the execution of the organization's strategy.
  • Demonstrated success in leading the bidding process for complex projects, drafting contract terms and monitoring/ensuring performance of contractors.
  • Strong computer skills, with proficiency in Google Drive and CRM software preferred. 

COMPENSATION & ADDITIONAL CONSIDERATIONS

The AVP will be an employee of the Los Angeles County Museum of Natural History Foundation. The annual salary range for this position is $145,000 to $155,000 plus benefits.  

This is a full-time exempt position with the expectation of regular in-person work during the week and availability for occasional evening and weekend events.

NHMLAC is an Equal Opportunity Employer and is committed to diversity in its workforce. NHMLAC values and endeavors to support diversity, equity, inclusion, and access within its organization and communities and is seeking applicants who have demonstrated experience and commitment to working with a diverse community. NHMLAC welcomes applicants of every identity, background, and community, and desires employees who are invested in contributing their abilities toward inspiring wonder, discovery, and responsibility for our natural and cultural worlds. Candidates who identify as Black, Indigenous, or a Person of Color (BIPOC), neurodiverse, a woman, a person with a disability, a veteran, and/or a part of the LGBTQAI+ community are welcome and encouraged to apply.

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