Pat Simmons

Director and Chief Executive Officer, North Carolina Zoo

Pat Simmons has been the Director & CEO of the North Carolina Zoological Park since 2015. She is the past-President and Chief Executive Officer of the Akron Zoological Park, Akron, Ohio. She was Chairwoman of the Board of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in 2012 and is currently a board member of the World Zoo and Aquarium Association.  Simmons has over 30 years of experience in zoological management with expertise in creative thinking for non-profit organizations.

Simmons is nationally and internationally recognized, receiving many awards and appointments including the Women’s History Project Woman of the Year for Imagination and the first non-profit executive to receive the Chairman’s Award from the Visitor and Convention Bureau. Simmons recently graduated in the inaugural class of 100 hand selected CEO’s worldwide as a Founding Fellow of the National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program, a program designed to tackle global challenges for non-profit organizations.

Simmons received her bachelor’s degree in the arts from the University of Cincinnati and her master’s degree in management from the University of Akron. She has also studied with Harvard Business School, taught at the American Association of Zoo’s and Aquarium’s Management School and been appointed to several committees and blue ribbon panels of the AZA.