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Tracking Trends: Hints for the Future of Aquariums

IMPACTS Chief Market Engagement Officer Colleen Dilenschneider currently serves on the Board of Directors at the National Aquarium. She has worked with leading nonprofits, including projects concerning the Monterey Bay Aquarium, California Academy of Sciences, Exploratorium, John G. Shedd Aquarium, Tennessee Aquarium, UNESCO, San Diego Zoo, and Wildlife Conservation Society.

Staying home did little to slow communities’ changing perceptions of aquariums and their role in conservation. Now, as vaccinations roll out and visitors begin to return, aquarium leaders are taking stock of the new expectations and opportunities.

Which trends have advanced and taken hold, and what opportunities must aquariums address in the next three to five years?

In this presentation, Colleen Dilenschneider and Jim Hekkers of IMPACTS Experience will share data on the top trends surrounding mission execution for aquarium leaders. What’s been changing? What’s likely to stick? What does this mean for future audience engagement? What are the implications for conservation and animal care?

IMPACTS CSO Jim Hekkers helps nonprofit organizations improve strategic planning, management, and market research. Hekkers was previously managing director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and on the boards of the National Steinbeck Center, the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and others.

From elevated expectations related to digital engagement, to a growing trust in aquariums as institutions, to perceptions surrounding the alignment of animal care and conservation work – this presentation will arm attendees with a broad understanding of key behaviors and perceptions that are already taking hold and influencing their work. Most importantly, it will provide a shared understanding of broader trends to keep in mind as aquariums recover and plan for the future.

About the Presenters

IMPACTS, a global leader in predictive market intelligence and related technologies, helps executives leading cultural nonprofits such as aquariums and museums to develop audience engagement strategies based on high-confidence, actionable data.

Chief Market Engagement Officer Colleen Dilenschneider uses data to both identify and predict emerging market opportunities and helps nonprofit organizations maintain their relevance and secure their long-term financial futures by building affinity with their onsite and virtual audiences. Colleen has worked with many of the most admired and successful clients in the nonprofit realm, including projects concerning the Monterey Bay Aquarium, California Academy of Sciences, Carnegie Museums, Stanford University, Exploratorium, John G. Shedd Aquarium, Tennessee Aquarium, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), San Diego Zoo, and Wildlife Conservation Society. Colleen currently serves on the Board of Directors at the National Aquarium.

Chief Strategy Officer Jim Hekkers helps leadership at nonprofit organizations improve strategic planning, management, and market research. Hekkers served as the managing director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium from 2001 to 2015, where he oversaw the senior management team, day-to-day operations, and all strategic and exhibition planning. He simultaneously served on the boards of the National Steinbeck Center, the American Association of Zoos and Aquariums, the Monterey County Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Pacific Grove Museum Association. Hekkers has also served as the president and chief executive officer of the Colorado’s Ocean Journey aquarium in Denver and the marketing director for the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga. His expertise with and fascination for robust market research help him facilitate strategic plans for IMPACTS’ clients by leveraging credible data-driven insights into charting more data-informed futures.

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