Lisa Peterson

Executive Director, San Diego Zoo Safari Park

"At its heart, conservation is about people. If we can inspire our community to join us in our efforts to protect plants, animals, and their habitats, we can create a world where all life thrives."

Lisa Peterson

As Executive Director of the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, Lisa Peterson is responsible for the overall operation of this 1,800-acre wildlife preserve located near Escondido. She oversees guest services, retail operations, facilities, horticulture, wildlife care, team engagement, team development, experiences, and community relations. On any given day, Lisa can be found empowering over 1,000 team members to care for wildlife and inspiring the next generation of conservationists. She leads the development of authentic and immersive experiences for guests and the local community. Each day, Peterson strives to create an environment where conservation is accessible to thousands of guests as they discover how the magic of wildlife and nature come together.

Peterson’s leadership experience in the hospitality industry includes many notable achievements. In 2009, she became regional vice president at White Lodging, leading a portfolio that included hotels in Utah, Arizona, California, and Colorado. After 25 years in this industry, she had the opportunity to join the retail team at Apple. Lisa felt so fortunate to be able to lead several different teams, including the team at the flagship store in San Francisco. In 2016, she was invited to return to White Lodging as Regional Vice President, working with a portfolio of hotels in Florida, Louisville, and California. She also led Women in Leadership sessions to promote an inclusive environment for up-and-coming female leaders. In 2017, an extraordinary opportunity to join a mission-focused organization provided her the chance to combine her passion for people, wildlife and conservation.

Peterson serves on the board of directors of the North San Diego Business Chamber and San Pasqual Lake Hodges Planning Group. She also serves on the Diversity Committee of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.