Alejandro Grajal

Alejandro Grajal, PhD

President and CEO

Alejandro became the eighth leader of Woodland Park Zoo in its 117 year history, assuming the helm in May, 2016. He is internationally known for his vision to define a new relationship between humans and nature by helping to restore the deep, affective bond between people and animals. He advocates for zoos as the best community institutions to create a social movement for conservation, to foster science learning beyond the classroom, and to ensure that all people have access to nature, regardless of socioeconomic background.

Reporting to the zoo’s Board of Directors and overseeing more than 350 full-time and seasonal staff, Alejandro is responsible for leading all zoo operations, programs, and exhibits as well as facilities, fundraising and partnership development to increase WPZ’s positive impact in the community and world.

Before joining the zoo, Alejandro served as senior vice president for conservation, education and training at the Chicago Zoological Society/Brookfield Zoo, where he headed the Center for Conservation Leadership, oversaw field conservation and research programs for the Center for the Science of Animal Welfare, and supervised education programs. Previously, he had served as executive director of international programs for the National Audubon Society and director of Latin American programs at the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York.

A noted author, Alejandro’s publications include 45 peer-reviewed books, chapters, and scientific and popular articles covering topics which span the psychology of conservation, measuring the impact of environmental education, the sustainable use of natural resources and ornithology, among others. He leads the Climate Literacy Zoo Education Network (CliZEN), a coalition of zoological institutions, universities and NGOs. He has also participated in protected-area planning and conservation policy with the United States Agency for International Development, the Global Environment Fund, the World Bank and the European Union.  In 2016, Trustees of the Chicago Zoological Society awarded him the prestigious George B. Raab Medal for Conservation Leadership, recognizing his lifelong contributions to environmental and species protection, and inspiring future generations of scientists and leaders to tackle big questions about living harmoniously with all beings on the planet.  In his spare time, he is an accomplished wildlife artist whose work has been exhibited in galleries in major cities.

Alejandro earned his undergraduate degree in ecology from Simón Bolívar University in Caracas, Venezuela and his PhD in zoology from the University of Florida.


Roger Sweeney

Chief Zoological Officer

Roger Sweeney joined Woodland Park Zoo in May 2023 as Chief Zoological Officer and leads overall zoological operations in animal care, facilities and maintenance, exhibits, sustainability, and safety and security. Roger was born in Chester, England, and began working as a zoo keeper in England after nurturing an interest in the natural world from a young age. Since then he has spent over 30 years working in zoo and wildlife biology positions in England, the Philippines, Spain, Qatar, the Caribbean and North America. During his career, Sweeney has had significant involvement in both the European (EAZA) and North American (AZA) zoological communities, having served as a zoo curator, animal program leader, and Taxon Advisory Group member in both regional associations. He has worked with a great diversity of animal species and populations in a wide variety of different environmental, cultural, and organizational settings around the globe.

Since living in North America from 2003, Roger added a master’s degree in Natural Resources from Utah State University to earlier graduate study and a bachelor’s degree in Natural Sciences and Mathematics. Roger has research interests in conservation biology, zoo population sustainability, and the management of social systems for animals under human care. In addition to his main duties as Chief Zoological Officer for Woodland Park Zoo, Roger currently serves as the AZA Asian Hornbill SAFE Program Leader, as a steering committee member of the IUCN SSC Hornbill Specialist Group, and as a member of the IUCN SSC Pigeon & Dove Specialist Group, and the IUCN SSC Conservation Planning Specialist Group.


Anne Dalrymple

Anne Dalrymple

Chief People Officer

Anne Dalrymple (she/her) joined the zoo in October 2022 to lead the zoo’s people functions, including guiding strategic implementation of the its Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Inclusion (DEAI) action plan. Anne has led successful new initiatives in private industry, government, technology, and nonprofits for over 20 years. Before joining the zoo, Anne served on the executive team as the Director of the Mission Support Division at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in Seattle, leading support functions such as human resources, training and development, budget and finance, information technology, grants, and facilities. Anne is an active member of the Washington State Bar and Labor & Employment Law section. Anne has a long history of connection to Woodland Park Zoo and its mission. She supports the zoo’s growth as a high-performing and compassionate workplace, and helps nurture a culture where everyone thrives and feels welcome and respected. In her free time, Anne enjoys spending time with her family—husband John, teen daughter Zoe, and two cats—and is an accessible rowing volunteer and competitive rower with Green Lake Crew.


Sarah K. Valentine

Sarah K. Valentine, CFRE

Chief Development Officer

After beginning her career in public relations and public affairs in the Seattle offices of Hill & Knowlton, managing strategic communications initiatives for a diverse cross-section of clients, Sarah transitioned to nonprofit fundraising. Over the course of her fundraising career, she has worked in a variety of national and regional/local environments honing high-level skills in all key areas that contribute to building organizational capacity. Sarah joined the development team at Woodland Park Zoo in 2012, and now serves as Chief Development Officer, after helping WPZ complete its milestone More Wonder More Wild Campaign in 2013. Prior to the zoo, Sarah was director of stewardship and donor relations during a $200 million campaign at American University in Washington, D.C., where she built a thriving donor relations and donor communications program at one of our nation’s capital’s flagship universities while playing a key role on the leadership team of its Office of Development and Alumni Relations.

Sarah serves as a board member of the Washington Planned Giving Council and is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals – Washington Chapter, the Association of Donor Relations Professionals, and Leave 10. She earned her bachelor’s degree in English from Loyola Marymount University.

Michele Smith

Linda Zhang, CFA, FRM

Chief Financial Officer

Linda Zhang is an accomplished business and nonprofit leader with local and international experience, joining the zoo most recently from the Seattle Indian Health Board where she was Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Linda brings leadership experience to the zoo from diverse sectors, including nonprofit, healthcare, global manufacturing, investment consulting, architecture-engineering-construction, and private equity. She served as former CFO of HRC Fertility Management, the Nasdaq-listed global manufacturer Fushi Copperweld, Inc., and Chicago-based investment consulting firm Marco Consulting Group. At Woodland Park Zoo, Linda oversees the Business and Finance strategy and operations. With international experience, Linda has effectively managed cross-border operations and is committed to the zoo’s vision of Diversity, Equity, Accessibility and Inclusion for all.

Linda earned an MBA in Finance from Penn State University, and a bachelor degree of Engineering in Architecture from Tongji University. She is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charterholder and a certified Financial Risk Manager (FRM).


Rebecca Whitham

Rebecca Whitham, MA

Vice President of Engagement

In 2020, Rebecca joined the Executive Leadership Team as Vice President of Engagement at Woodland Park Zoo, where she has led content strategy since 2008. With 15 years of experience in the nonprofit zoo and museum world and a Master’s degree in Museology from the University of Washington, Rebecca oversees the communications, marketing, content, creative, public affairs and membership divisions of the zoo. She leads teams to use the power of storytelling to drive significant impact for the zoo’s conservation mission, and their collaborations have earned top awards from the Public Relations Society of America Puget Sound and the national Association of Zoos & Aquariums. Rebecca’s passion is to activate the zoo’s audiences—including 1.4 million annual zoo visitors and tens of millions of people reached through the zoo’s digital channels—to join the movement for wildlife conservation, and to build capacity in other zoos and aquaria to do the same with their collective annual visitation of 195 million. She previously worked at the Burke Museum of Natural History & Culture and volunteered at Central Park Zoo, and is a current member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the AIGA Professional Association of Design.


Anji Moraes, MSc

Vice President of Conservation & Climate Initiatives

Anji joined the Woodland Park Zoo as Vice President of Conservation and Climate Initiatives in June 2023. In this role, Anji provides strategic direction and leadership for the zoo’s regional and international conservation initiatives and programs, and leads the zoo’s efforts as we explore the intersection of wildlife conservation, climate and community.

Anji comes to us most recently from Vulcan LLC and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, where she worked within the community and environmental portfolios including climate change resilience, ecosystem connectivity, species recovery and marine health. She led strategy development, investigated new potential funding opportunities, and managed programming in the Pacific Northwest and Sub-Saharan Africa. She has developed and managed philanthropic initiatives in coral health, dam removal, illegal and unreported fishing and anti-wildlife trafficking. Anji has a master’s degree in environmental studies with a concentration in environmental science and policy, and a bachelor's degree in public policy with a concentration on environmental policy. A strong commitment to equity and collaboration underpins her work.

Anji enjoys spending time with her family and dogs, reading, gardening and knitting. She has volunteered as a Master Gardener in Seattle, and currently serves on the NW River Council for American Rivers.


Erica Johnson

Erica Johnson, PhD

Vice President of Learning & Innovation

Erica joined Woodland Park Zoo in 2021. As the Vice President of Learning & Innovation, Erica leads the team responsible for the zoo’s on-site, community-based, and virtual educational programs, volunteer and guest engagement, and the Advancing Conservation through Empathy (ACE) for Wildlife learning network. Erica has created and improved educational experiences for young people from cradle to career for over 20 years. Before joining the zoo, Erica served as the Mayor’s Education and Youth Policy Advisor in Seattle, where she facilitated the City’s efforts to support children, youth, and families before and during the pandemic. Prior to that, Erica was instrumental in the development of the Seattle Preschool Program (SPP). Funded by a $58 million levy, and delivered in partnership with community-based organizations, family child care providers, and schools, SPP has provided affordable, high-quality preschool for thousands of children since its launch in 2015. In 2020, Erica was honored to be selected by the National League of Cities as part of its inaugural cohort of Early Childhood Municipal Fellows. Erica’s commitments to racial equity, youth opportunity, and community partnership, along with her love of nature and dedication to the well-being of wildlife, led her to Woodland Park Zoo. She earned her Ph.D. in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In her free time, Erica enjoys hiking with her family and taking her prancy Italian Greyhound, Lukie, to dog parks.

Our Mission

Woodland Park Zoo saves wildlife and inspires everyone to make conservation a priority in their lives.

Land Acknowledgment

Woodland Park Zoo recognizes that these are the lands of the Tribal signatories of the Treaty of Point Elliott. We acknowledge their stewardship of this place continues to this day and that it is our responsibility to join them to restore the relationship with the living world around us.

5500 Phinney Ave. N., Seattle, WA 98103   |  206.548.2500  |   zooinfo@zoo.org

Association of Zoos & Aquariums
Seattle Parks & Recreation
Humane Certification