Dallas Zoo CEO Affirms ‘Equity’ Commitment

Dallas Zoo CEO Lisa New
Dallas Zoo CEO Lisa New | Image by Dallas Zoo/Facebook

The Dallas Zoo’s new chief executive officer said she wants to see more diversity on the zoo’s board of directors.

Dallas Zoo CEO Lisa New said she was committed to “increasing diversity” on the board and bolstering “equity” opportunities for communities in surrounding neighborhoods.

“The commitment to a diverse and equitable board was one of the driving factors behind me accepting the position,” New told Dallas’ Parks, Trails, and the Environment Committee at a meeting Monday morning.

Since accepting the role as CEO in November 2023, New said she has already begun adding “increasingly diverse members” to the team.

“It is a very important priority to me as well as being a strong partner and neighbor in the community,” New told the committee members.

In addition to promoting diversity and equity on the board, Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Carolyn King Arnold (District 4) said she wants zoo officials to focus on “outreach” and “the surrounding community — particularly the 10th Street neighborhood.”

“I want to continue to stress the importance of diversity on that board,” Arnold said. “The better word is … equity. I know those are terms that we don’t want to use in Texas, but we’re going to use them in Dallas.”

“That is my real concern,” she said. “But I am excited for us to work together a little more in terms of putting our hands on those weak areas.”

Arnold also stressed the importance of spotlighting the zoo “as a jewel for Dallas” and using it as an “economic engine for the southern sector.”

“We definitely want to be on the map for being a world-class zoo,” she said. “We do want that, but we also want to be good neighbors.”

Despite the purportedly questionable legality of some of the City’s equity initiatives, most officials have been committed to implementing a slew of equity measures and programs throughout Dallas’ operations, as previously reported by The Dallas Express.

Like the Dallas Zoo, Southwest Airlines is also pursuing more diversity on its board of directors.

In an internal presentation reported on by The Dallas Express, the Dallas-based carrier stated that it plans to double “racial diversity” and increase “gender diversity” on its “Senior Leadership team by 2025.”

Southwest has become notorious for promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. While the airline has been criticized for race-based discrimination as a result, it is unclear if the Dallas Zoo will follow the same playbook.

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