News Release
Contact: Sondra Katzen, Public Relations, 708.688.8351,
July 28, 2021                               
1and 2: Cherryl T. Thomas (credit: CZS-Brookfield Zoo)

Cherryl T. Thomas Elected as Chicago Zoological Society’s Chair of the Board of Trustees

Brookfield, Ill. — The Chicago Zoological Society (CZS), which manages Brookfield Zoo, is pleased to announce Cherryl T. Thomas has been elected as its new chair of the board of trustees. Ms. Thomas, a Chicago native, joined CZS’s board in 1999 and over the past 22 years has supported the organization by serving on various committees. Most recently, she was vice chair of the board and co-chair of the community engagement and social innovation committee.

“I am so pleased to be a part of animal conservation and efforts to preserve our fragile ecosystem, “said Cherryl Thomas. “I look forward to collaborating with CZS’s board of trustees and staff in advancing the Society’s mission, vision, and its master planning efforts.”

Thomas is the chief strategy officer of Chicago-based Ardmore Roderick, a full-service engineering and construction management firm. Prior to that she was president and CEO of Ardmore Associates, which she co-founded in 2003. (The company merged with The Roderick Group in 2017 to form Ardmore Roderick.) Before starting her own engineering firm, Thomas worked in government for 34 years. She was appointed chair of the Chicago-based United States Railroad Retirement Board by President William J. Clinton from 1998 to 2003. She also has served in several leadership positions with the City of Chicago.

“Cherryl has been a tremendous supporter of CZS, and as one of our longest-tenured vice chairs, she has also been a mentor to staff. I am particularly excited about her efforts to engage both the board and staff in our conservation efforts, community engagement, and education programming, as well as share her passion for animals. Cherryl embodies our institutional values and will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge for our institution,” said Dr. Stuart Strahl, president and CEO of the Society.

An active community leader, Thomas is a life director for After School Matters and trustee emeritus of Marquette University. She serves on several nonprofit boards, including Big Shoulders Fund, Helen Brach Foundation, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Polk Bros Foundation, and The Chicago Network. She has served on the boards of Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago Public Library, Loyola University of Chicago, St. Peter’s Catholic Church of Chicago, and Saint Ignatius College Prep, which in 2017 awarded her its Dei Gloriam Award, the highest honor bestowed upon an individual by the school. 

She holds an honorary doctorate degree from Boston College, a master’s of science degree in physiology from the University of Illinois, and a bachelor of science degree in biology and chemistry from Marquette University.

#      #      #
About the Chicago Zoological Society
The mission of the Chicago Zoological Society is to inspire conservation leadership by engaging people and communities with wildlife and nature. The Chicago Zoological Society is a private nonprofit organization that operates Brookfield Zoo on land owned by the Forest Preserves of Cook County. The Society is known throughout the world for its international role in animal population management and wildlife conservation. Its Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare is at the forefront of animal care that strives to discover and implement innovative approaches to zoo animal management. Brookfield Zoo is the first zoo in the world to be awarded the Humane Certified™ certification mark for the care and welfare of its animals, meeting American Humane Association’s rigorous certification standards. The zoo is located at 8400 31st Street in Brookfield, Illinois, between the Stevenson (I-55) and Eisenhower (I-290) expressways and also is accessible via the Tri-State Tollway (I-294), Metra commuter line, and CTA and PACE bus service. For further information, visit


Sondra Katzen
Media Relations Manager
Office: 708-688-8351
Cell Phone: 708-903-2071


Center for the Science of Animal Care and Welfare

Read about our innovative practices in animal welfare to ensure the ultimate care of our individual animals.


Visit Brookfield Zoo

Create extraordinary connections with animals and nature!

Animal Welfare

You Can Help!

Become our partner in caring for animals and in connecting people with wildlife and nature.