Open 9 am - 5 pm

Reasons to join our team

  • Support Shedd's mission and vision by utilizing your customer service skills to connect guests to our extraordinary collection.
  • One of Chicago’s top sales teams, with a competitive pay rate, opportunities to earn additional incentives and great soft benefits such as complimentary admission to select Chicago cultural organizations.
  • Chicago’s most-visited cultural attraction, known for the most diverse collection of any aquarium! No matter the season, it will be very busy and every day is different. You'll be on your feet and there are outdoor posts. You'll have many opportunities for guest interactions and your workday will fly by.
  • Learning opportunities within this role and across Shedd. You will be cross-trained at a variety of posts, and develop a strong service skillset. There are internal learning opportunities and all regular, part-time employees at Shedd have the opportunity to apply for an internal internship and spend one day/week working with another department.
  • Be part of a great team! Guest Relations is the largest department at Shedd. It’s a great work environment and we also have opportunities to connect off the floor.

Interested in becoming a Guest Relations ambassador?

Applying is easy! View our current openings below.

apply today


Meet our team

Guest Relations is the largest department at Shedd. We’re artists, musicians, athletes, scientists, etc., so it’s a great work environment and we also have opportunities to connect off the floor

A woman with bright pink hair stands holding a sign reading 'Pregúntame!'.

Jazmin Negrete seamlessly and openly welcomes guests who visit the aquarium.

Jazmin Negrete

Guest relations full time ambassador with a major in Anthropology and a minor in Spanish and Latino Studies

My job is to be seamlessly and openly welcoming to guests who visit the aquarium and assist in anything they need.

I found out about the guest relations position though a friend I went to high school and college with. She started working there over the summer as seasonal. She would tell me how fun the job was, so I decided to put in an application. I was also graduating from college, and I was looking for a job. 

A guest engagement volunteer describes the behavior of large, sometimes up to four-foot invasive bighead carp.
A black woman grins as she answers the phone in a wood-paneled office.

Leona Barnes is a friendly voice to guests over the phone.

Leona Barnes

Customer Care Ambassador with a bachelor’s degree in anthropology and a minor in art

My job: Speaking with guests and others via phone or email to answer their questions and assist with ticket purchasing as well as processing memberships, Extraordinary Experiences and Virtual Extraordinary Experiences, and group visits, etc.

 I was sent the application by one of my mentors, who thought that I would be a good fit. I thought it seemed like a good experience and something that I would be interested in doing, and I really enjoyed the team aspect. I had always wanted to work in a museum or library but did not have a clear goal, and it felt like the perfect opportunity.

Starting in guest relations gave me the confidence and job experience to apply for the customer service  position. Experiencing ticket sales on busy days in the past taught me to take each person I assist as they come and be patient. I am not sure what my future goals are, but my current goal is to continue to improve my work in Central Station and learn more about Tessitura.

Working at Shedd has kept me feeling fulfilled and productive the last few years. I was never sure what kind of job I wanted to have, but now I feel that I have the ability to enjoy the work that I end up with due to the flexibility that I learned in guest relations. 

A man wearing a suit and standing in the Oceanarium holds up a microphone and points energetically at something off-screen.

Director of Guest Relations Colby Sellers giving a presentation in Shedd's Abbott Oceanarium.

Colby Sellers

Director of Guest Relations, Ancillary Operations with a B.A. of Theatre, Minor in History from Western Illinois University

"I have wasted time, and now doth time waste me..."

— Richard II — something I put on my fridge years ago as a reminder to enjoy the moment and not always just look to the future.

The Director of Guest Relations, Ancillary Operations is responsible for providing a seamless and joyful welcome for guests attending Extraordinary Experiences, tourism and group visits, photo, valet and other programs and works closely with the Guest Relations Floor Operations to ensure the pre-visit, post-visit and onsite experience adds value to Shedd visit. They also provide leadership, coaching and professional development for guest relations leaders and staff.

I started with Shedd Aquarium as a Presentation Specialist, initially hired to narrate various animal programs.  As the needs of Shedd evolved, my department was absorbed by Guest Relations, and we began utilizing our communication skills to better engage guests in their whole visit. 

Being used to delivering educational content in front of crowds allowed me to feel comfortable sharing coaching and direction to the team.  This was found useful by my leaders, and I was promoted into a leadership role myself.  My goals at Shedd include continuing to connect guests to the aquatic world in fun, dynamic and inspiring ways, engaging with the Guest Relations team to encourage them to be ambassadors for all you can do at Shedd, and to be a unifying figure throughout all departments at Shedd.

I feel like the way I make a living makes a difference.  I am privileged to contribute to an organization that actively makes strides to bring nature to people's lives.  I'm proud of the efforts Shedd makes in the world of sustainability.  I have grown leaps-and-bounds over the years as more was asked of me, I learned that I was able to do more, give more and be a part of a thrilling team along the way.

Makenzie Wheat

Guest Relations Lead Ambassador with a BFA in Graphic Design

"Character is who we are and what we do when no one is watching."

Along with knowing all the posts, I work directly with the GR managers as an in-between for the ambassadors and the leaders. I help with setting the building, checking over post sheets, responding to manager calls, and overall support around the building.

Before working in Guest Relations at Shedd, I had just moved to Chicago and was looking for a new start. I thought it would be fun to work at Shedd while searching for design careers, but I ended up liking it so much that I ended up staying and working for full time. To be a lead in Guest Relations, I had to showcase that I could be flexible and handle any task that was needed. I pride myself on being reliable, punctual, and helpful. For the future, I'm keeping my eyes open for other possibilities here at Shedd. I would like to combine my love of Shedd with my love of design in Marketing or perhaps in Design & Exhibits.

As an artist, I already had to be comfortable talking to clients and making personal connections but being at Shedd has allowed to me grow exponentially in a short amount of time. I am much more confident in sales, talking in front of crowds, and owning my space to remain in control of situations. Being a lead has also increased my sense of fulfillment. I'm making a difference not only for the guests, but also for my team now as I make sure they are equipped to do their tasks daily.

A blond woman in a blue Shedd polo stands next to Shedd's Seastar Touch exhibit.

Makenzie Wheat is making a difference for guests and for her team.

A young woman lifts a net from a mossy, muddy river.

Elisa Reyes-Salgado assists with an offsite Conervation Research trip.

Elisa Reyes-Salgado

Guest Relations Ambassador, Cash Office Assistant, Conservation Research Intern, Extraordinary Experience Facilitator and Former Marine Mammal Intern with a major in Biology and a minor in Marine Science from Eckerd College

"When I do not know who I am, I serve You, ... when I know who I am, I am you."

— Hanuman, Hindu God of Wisdom, Strength, Courage, Devotion and Self-Discipline

In my many roles at Shedd, I facilitate extraordinary experiences by bringing guest up close to an animal friend, help with ticketing and sales, assist the team with daily operations, supervise other sales ambassadors, create deposits, help answer guest questions, and soon will be in the lab helping a research team. 

I first worked with Guest Relations during my time in the Teen Work Study program back in high school. After moving back from college, I wanted to reconnect to Shedd's animals and its people, so I applied for their seasonal position. My time at Guest Relations has turned into so much more than a job after that.

My start at Guest relations helped me get experience with sales & ticketing, which helped me understand & fit into the new Cash Office Assistant role. I was fortunate enough to have connections at Shedd which allowed me to land 2 internships: with the Marine Mammals Department and the Conservation Research team. Then, because of my experience and interest with Marine Mammals, I was invited to lead Beluga Encounters and eventually Penguin Encounters in person. Next goals: get the full time Guest Relations position, get better at what I do each day, hopefully work with sea turtle conservation.

Shedd has made a huge difference in my life by allowing me to be a part of many rewarding experiences that I'll never forget like interning or meeting animal friends. I get to work with great, caring people and it's been quite the journey here.  I have been lucky enough to explore career options and be a part of our larger community: One Shedd. It has pushed me to grow out of my comfort zones & expand my horizons, more every time. It has shown me that great things are possible if you put your heart and mind to it.

A woman in a grey Shedd jacket stands in the Oceanarium.

Linsey Abrahamson brings her experience in tourism and theater to her job as a Guest Relations Manager.

Lindsey Abrahamson

Guest Relations Manager with a BFA in Musical Theatre from Roosevelt University

When life gives you lemons, make grape juice…then sit back and watch the world wonder how you did it.

In my role as Guest Relations Manager, I manage daily operations and floor team.

Before joining the Shedd Guest Relations team, my side jobs while pursuing theater had mostly been within the Chicago tourism industry with a focus in ticket sales. I applied for a Spring Seasonal Guest Relations position after getting a recommendation from a friend. Once the Spring season ended, I was offered a regular part time position on the floor and worked there for a year. After that time, I applied to work with Guest Relation’s sister department —Constituent Services— and was offered a role answering phones and email for guests of the aquarium. After working 2 years with Shedd I moved up to a Coordinator position in Constituent Services and was able to hone my experience in a supervisory role. A year later I returned to the floor team as a Guest Relations Manager where I enjoy the fast pace and challenges that come with welcoming over 2 million guests to the aquarium each year and managing a team of 70—115 Guest Relations Ambassadors.

When I was growing up I wanted to work with animals, but that wasn’t the path I ultimately ended up taking. It has been rewarding to take my experience in tourism and theater and bring my passion full circle to advance Shedd Aquarium’s mission of research and conservation for the aquatic animal world.

A man wearing black glasses stands in Shedd's Amazon Rising exhibit.

Kirby Garcia is responsible for pre- and post-visit customer care and social media monitoring.

Two members of the Army National Guard consider and touch a shark jawbone in Wild Reef as an expert explains.

Kirby Garcia

Customer Care Specialist with a Bachelor of Music Education/Film

“When you work with people whom you like and you admire because they’re so good at what they do, it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like playing.”

— Stan Lee

In my role as a Customer Care Specialist, I am responsible for pre- and post-visit customer care and social media monitoring.

When I found out about the Guest Relations positions at Shedd Aquarium, I was looking for a job that was as rewarding as teaching and would accept me for who I am. The Guest Relations listing I found on Indeed listed that Shedd was looking to hire more LGBTQ+ individuals and I thought “That’s me! I used to love going to Shedd as a kid and I love their dedication to education.” It seemed like a great gig to work while I worked on my production company.

Working in Guest Relations gave me the opportunity to belong to a community of wonderful people, learn what it was like to work for a non-profit and dedicate myself to something larger than myself. Guest Relations gave me the chance to take what skills I had from my hobbies and apply them towards my job here. Over the 2020 and early 2021 closures I got to work with the social media team and now I have the pleasure of linking stellar customer service with social media and marketing every day I work. Right now I think of Shedd as my home and hope to be here for a very long time. I hope to eventually have a seat at the table as an Assistant Director.

Shedd has allowed me to be myself 100%, I don’t live in fear of what people what think of me when I tell them I am non-binary and use They/Them pronouns. The acceptance from my co-workers and leaders has allowed me to own my confidence and grow into someone I like to see in the mirror every day. I have never felt more fulfilled in a job.

A member of Shedd's staff wearing a face mask holds an 'Ask Me' sign.

Pearl Ochoa is an Aquatic Exploration Guide at Shedd Aquarium.

Pearl Ochoa

Aquatic Exploration Guide with a BFA from Columbia College Chicago

“Shedd is my zen place."

In my role as an Aquatic Exploration Guide, I am delivering a variety of programs and experiences to our guests, daily. This incorporates hosting special events. My position also includes assisting guests to make their visit an enjoyable, learning experience.

After a tiresome job search, my plan was to visit Shedd Aquarium to give myself a rejuvenating, fun break. So I went to their web page and while scrolling through, I thought to myself, “Wonder what kind of jobs they have available.” When I saw the Guest Engagement advert, I filled an application then and there. What luck to work at a cultural institution that highlights the same beliefs and practices that are a big part of my life; education, conservation, recycling. It was a perfect match.

Working in Guest Relations gives you a great foundation in skills that you can take anywhere. Every guest comes to you with a unique need. Guest Relations helped me hone my skills relating with the public. I also learned so much about the animals in our care. There is a lot of thinking on your feet and after a day of that, you leave knowing that you are a remarkable part of Shedd Aquarium.

As for my future goals at Shedd Aquarium, I am currently busy learning all that my new position, as an Aquatic Exploration Guide, requires. I haven’t given my future much thought. I am having fun, learning a lot; I love my job and plan on being a part of Shedd as long as they will have me. When the time comes, I know the opportunities at Shedd are diverse. For now, I’m where I should be.

I feel that at Shedd, I make a difference. I’m sharing knowledge that benefits everyone. The people around me are incredible. The animals, well they make Shedd my zen place. I couldn’t be happier.

A man in a checkered shirt smiles in front of Shedd's historic doors.

Zack Flynn was looking for a fun, dynamic, mission-led workplace when he came to Shedd.

Guests in Stingray Touch put their hands into the warm, salty water as cownose rays cruise by and brush up against their hands.

Zack Flynn

Assistant Director of Constituent Services with a Bachelor of Art degree in Criminal Justice and Sociology

"Over my time here I’ve developed lifelong relationships with friends, colleagues, and aquatic animals. Where else can you start your day off by saying “good morning” to a beluga whale or say “goodbye” to a sea turtle on your way out the door?!"

Working closely with internal partners, the Assistant Director uses an understanding of market and technology trends, best practices, and business objectives to assist the Director in developing a vision of service for a team of Customer Care Specialists called Central Station.

What led me to Guest Relations was a desire to work in a fun, dynamic, mission lead workplace where I would be able to grow personally and professionally. I recently moved to Chicago before applying to work at Shedd Aquarium as a seasonal part-time Guest Relations Ambassador.

Guest Relations provided me with the support and training needed to develop skills and knowledge that now help me lead and manage a great team of Customer Care Specialists and Ambassadors. Since getting my start in Guests Relations I have transitioned departments and have been promoted from a Guest Relations Ambassador to a Supervisor, then to a Coordinator, a Team Manager, and now I’m the Assistant Director of Constituent Services.

Working at Shedd has really helped me understand the importance of working at mission and vision driven organization. Shedd Aquarium has given me the opportunity to connect people to nature and show them the value and importance of protecting the aquatic world and all its inhabitants.