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San Diego Zoo Global Academy, September 2016. Photo of newborn northern white rhino in profile facing his mother.

New Feature for Academy Platform: DIY Video!

The newest addition to the Academy's DIY (Do It Yourself) platform is video! When the programmers at Academy partner CypherWorx initially created DIY, it allowed individuals to quickly and easily create training classes on their own by uploading either a PowerPoint presentation or a PDF file. They could then add audio and a quiz to track compliance, and voilą, a course was built! Certificates were also given upon completion.

Now, with a recent upgrade of the DIY program, you can also add video clips to your presentation. Don't want to add a PowerPoint or a PDF file? No problem. Just add a stand-alone video and a quiz, and your course is done. If you want to insert a video into your presentation, that's easy, too: just click to add a new slide, and then upload your video clip.

Clients are finding it a real timesaver to convert their existing organization-specific training into a custom eLearning course, where their training is tied to transcripts and reporting.

CypherWorx was thrilled to get a glowing testimonial on our DIY option from Carrie Dean, Zoo Education Coordinator at the Reid Park Zoo in Tucson, Arizona: "Our goal this year is to create more DIY courses. The one we already made (and figured out how to edit!) has been a lifesaver; we used to have to try to get everyone in the same place to give the training, and still ended up doing endless individual sessions."

The DIY video will be a popular topic at the Academy booth in the Exhibit Hall at the AZA Conference on September 9 and 10, as well as at our Academy Event on the evening of September 10. Please come by to learn all about it!

Click here to get more information on the DIY Video menu option.

Speaking of CypherWorx, thank you to our Academy partner for the last five years! We look forward to many, many more great years of collaboration and innovation. We want to take this opportunity to wish CypherWorx CEO Paul Cypher good luck as a finalist for the Rochester Small Business Council's Business Person of the Year Award!

Click here to see the SDZG ad supporting Paul! 

Association of Zoos & AquariumsWhat's New?DIY Video. Intermediate Animal Care Courses. Animal Species Courses. Conservation Courses. As us all about it!Academy News

AZA's Annual Conference Is in San Diego!
Please come by and talk with our Academy representatives in the Exhibit Hall at Booth #739.
Academy Booth Schedule:

  • Friday, September 9: 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, September 10: 1:30 p.m. to 7 p.m.


Photo of Palm Terrace at Omni Hotel.
Palm Terrace at the Omni Hotel San Diego.

Mark Your Calendar for the San Diego Zoo Global Academy Event
The San Diego Zoo Global Academy will host a get-together on Saturday, September 10, from 7 to 9 p.m., at the Omni Hotel in downtown San Diego. Let's celebrate our industry collaboration around online training!

Cover of Roar Book.In addition to a great locale, food, and drinks, the evening will feature our Academy newsletter contributors Jim Gesualdi and Dr. Rob Jones, as well as Steve Stookey, vice president and chief operating officer of CypherWorx, and Tim Mulligan, San Diego Zoo Global's chief human resources officer. Attendees will receive a signed copy of Tim's best-selling book, ROAR: How To Build a Resilient Organization the World Famous San Diego Zoo Way.

Thank you to those who have already sent your RSVP. This is proving to be a popular event for Saturday night, and it is filling up! Thank you for your interest, participation, and support of the Academy.

 Please click here to see our Academy Event Save the Date e-brochure.
To RSVP, please contact Doreen Black at


Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden staff wearing their Academy t-shirts. A collaborative Academy photo op at the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden included staff members from the Education, Volunteer/Intern, and HR departments.

Academy Shirts Now Available from Shopzoo 
Whether you're looking for a gift for yourself or someone else, or an incentive for your institution's training program, please click here to find out how to order your own Academy T-shirts!

Click here to find out how to order your own Academy T-shirts!





Greensborough Science Center logoThe San Diego Zoo Global Academy Puts the Greensboro Science Center in the Spotlight
The Greensboro Science Center in North Carolina is part of the Academy's collaborative learning environment. Welcome!


Administrator's Users Group Webinar                 
CypherworxPlease join us for the Administrator's Users Group Webinar, hosted by Academy partner CypherWorx. The next webinar is Wednesday, September 21, at 11 a.m. PDT.

Register for the webinar here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.


Compliance U Course in the Academy Catalog
COMPLIANCE UIn addition to the courses created by San Diego Zoo Global, the Academy website's course catalog has many other courses to enhance the training program for your institution. Our Academy partner, CypherWorx, refers to the safety and compliance courses they offer in the course catalog as "Compliance U." Here's this month's featured course:

Forklift Safety: The purpose of this course is to help participants become better and safer forklift operators. Participants will learn some of the hazards faced by operators, and tips on proper load centering and load capacity aimed at preventing tip-overs. This course also covers general safe driving procedures, inspection requirements, and safety tips for refueling and recharging.

Academy Contributors

Getting Better All the Time: Learning From Your Successes and Challenges

Excellence Beyond Compliance logoBy James F. Gesualdi


To keep ahead, each one of us, no matter what our task, must search for new and better methods—for even that which we now do well must be done better tomorrow.                               
—James F. Bell

Never stop until your good becomes better, and your better becomes the best.
—Frank Zappa

Our lives and work with animals and other people call us to bring forth more good into this world. One underappreciated way to do just that is to take our good works and make them better, better, better.

There are abundant lessons each moment and in every circumstance. Difficulties encountered continuously accelerate achievement and growth through and even beyond the adversity. Sometimes the value of such hard-earned experience overshadows the utility of making more of your successes via deeper examination. Two meaningful examples of zoological organization accomplishments illustrate the difference made possible when you learn from your successes.

Animal Welfare Act Compliance

Maintaining compliance with the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) is the starting point of demonstrating your commitment to the animals entrusted to your care. A good U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Animal Care inspection report is laudable. Even better is a record of continuous compliance with the AWA. As noted in Excellence Beyond Compliance, "[e]ven with a clean inspection report, constructive review of the inspection experience may lead to potential enhancements in various areas, including those related to AWA compliance and animal welfare." Zoological organizations that practice Excellence Beyond Compliance® have put this into effect in different ways.

One zoological organization, no matter how successful the inspection, always prepares a post-inspection punch list of new measures and improvements. Thoughtful review of the entire inspection process, such as the dialogue during the inspection and exit briefing, and staff observations, yield many worthwhile ideas. This practice has transformed this organization and made their improvement plans living documents.

Another organization discovered its positive inspection experience, involving a good inspection report, was attributable in large part to visible signs of great progress and the staff's adept handling of the inspection. Further discussions revealed that some of the challenges arising and resolved during the inspection indicated there was still work to do in the area of interdepartmental coordination. A more intensive team debriefing inspired further enhancements.

These organizations, which have had their challenges, now challenge themselves and are "Getting Better All the Time" through earnest effort in the service of animals.


Zoological organizations rightly tout the professional distinction of being accredited. Standards and guidelines in excess of legal requirements and the accreditation process contribute to the professionalism of the zoological community and advance animal care and welfare. Attaining and maintaining accreditation is important and it is an especially effective source of critical self-examination and betterment upon re-accreditation every five years.

Preparation for the accreditation process illuminates areas where we understand we can be better. Accreditation reviews and site visits provide external validation of good works and constructive insight as to avenues for improvement. Upon accreditation, celebrate and recognize all the team members contributing to the moment. Then, examine the lessons emanating from the process, identify possible enhancements, and consider areas where you could set the bar higher still. Commit to working daily to astonish your next accreditation inspection team with the incremental improvements compounded over the next five years. Solidify your "culture of excellence" and exclaim to the world that there is no ending point to your efforts in service of animals and their welfare.

Enlightened zoological professionals and zoological organizations live Van Gogh's statement, "I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart." They realize achievements like maintaining regulatory compliance and attaining accreditation are important foundational pieces to create a better world for animals and people. Even those accomplishments teach us how to grow into our higher selves.

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.
—Benjamin Franklin

© 2016 James F. Gesualdi, P.C. The opinions expressed herein are solely those of the author. This is not, nor should it be construed as, legal advice.

Please email me at jfg@excellencebeyondcompliance.com to share the good you are doing (as only you can), or with any comments or questions on this column or suggestions for future ones.

For upcoming workshops and sessions, contact info@excellencebeyondcompliance.com.

Meet James at the AZA Conference
James F. Gesualdi will be at the AZA Annual Conference in San Diego—at times at the Academy's booth, and at the Academy's event on September 10, too. We are very pleased to have James contribute to our Academy newsletter. Thank you, James!



The Aquarium Vet logoSomething Fishy Is Going On

By Dr. Rob Jones, "The Aquarium Vet"

The Aquarium Vet will be at the AZA Annual Conference in San Diego and attending the Academy's event on September 10. We are very pleased to have The Aquarium Vet contribute to our Academy newsletter. Thank you, Rob!

The Aquarium Vet will be at Booth #234 in the Exhibit Hall. Please be sure to look for Rob there, and at the Academy event, too.

E-quarist™ Courses—Academy Subscriber Special!
The San Diego Zoo Global Academy is excited to share an additional Academy subscriber benefit regarding our collaboration with Dr. Jones: as an Academy subscriber, you are now entitled to a discount on the e-quarist™ courses.

For more information about the SDZGA discount, or to view our Trial Version, please contact katrina@theaquariumvet.com.au.

Visit the Aquarium Vet website at theaquariumvet.com.au.

Helpful Hints

San Diego Zoo Global Academy's Idea Hatchery

The Academy's collaborative learning environment is already "hatching" innovative ideas: let's continue to make it easier to do. You've got the ideas—let's collaborate on innovation! Please share your online training ideas at: sdzglobalacademy@sandiegozoo.org.

Zoo & Conservation News

As an added Academy benefit, you can view the latest San Diego Zoo Global Zoo and Conservation News here.

Photo of a trainer with a cheetah.

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