Leading Ladies 2020

Leading Ladies 2020: Cheryl Vieira

Director of Visitor Services

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Mission-driven organizations like ROGER WILLIAMS PARK ZOO know that the key to connecting with the public is to craft meaningful interactions for each visitor. Enter Cheryl Vieira, a committed leader dedicated to increasing accessibility, advocating sustainability, and giving every guest an exceptional experience.

Cheryl joined the zoo in 2009 as a Systems Specialist, transitioning to lead the team as a Visitor Services Manager just four years later. By 2016, she rose to Director of Visitor Services, the title she proudly holds today. In this role, Cheryl collaborates with zoo leaders to provide strategic oversight of all visitor experience components, including ticketing, programming, membership sales, private functions, and food/retail services.

Thanks largely to her “above and beyond” approach, Cheryl has transformed the way the zoo operates, steadily growing attendance and access. Her signature project showcases a personal commitment to expanding opportunities for individuals with sensory processing disorders. More specifically, she spearheaded a series of exclusive accessibility programs and on-site sensory resources never before found in a New England zoo. Through her tenure, Cheryl has received more than 5.5 million guests at the zoo, and so it comes to no surprise that the department has likewise expanded exponentially. She now manages more than 100 frontline representatives, control of a new sister site (Carousel Village), and record-breaking successes from the annual Jack-o-Lantern Spectacular – all of which would not be possible without her vision, innovation, and adaptability.

Cheryl has earned great respect from her peers for practicing what she preaches with passion and consistency. She is admired for her no-excuses attitude and willingness to work hard, even with the most daunting tasks. But perhaps the reason this comes naturally to Cheryl is because she personally aligns with the organization’s mission to protect wildlife and wild places. She serves her hometown East Providence as a Conservation Committee lead, and regularly escapes to the outdoors for hiking, exploring, and is an active marathoner. She is a CF L1 coach and has one son.

Roger Williams Park Zoo • 1000 Elmwood Avenue, Providence • 785-3510

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