Like many children growing up in San Diego, Maggie Aleksic spent a lot of time at the San Diego Zoo visiting the animals. A nature-lover from the start, Maggie often played “keeper” at home and would bring injured snakes, birds, and rabbits into the house, much to her parents’ dismay. Eventually she learned to leave wildlife rescue to the experts, but one thing was clear: Maggie would work for Zoo one day and make a career of helping animals.
For the past seven years, Maggie has worked with San Diego Zoo Global’s Development team to help raise funds for the Zoo and Safari Park. As a Major Gifts Officer, she works closely with the Zoo’s Institute for Conservation Research, where she is able to support the Zoo’s global effort to protect wildlife and habitats.
Maggie loves to travel and explore different cultures, and believes in the adage that one’s destination isn’t just a place: it’s a new way of seeing things. A past Zoo escort to the People’s Republic of China, Maggie is excited for her upcoming adventure with the San Diego Zoo to Botswana.
San Diego native Georgeanne Irvine has devoted more than three decades of her career to raising awareness about animals and wildlife conservation. By day, she is associate director of communications for the development department of the San Diego Zoo and Safari Park, where she has worked for more than 36 years. In her spare time “George” is the author of more than 20 children’s books, including the Zoo World series published by Simon & Schuster, plus numerous magazine, newspaper, and web articles. George’s most recent work is the coffee table book, “The Katrina Dolphins: One-Way Ticket to Paradise,” which is a true story about 8 dolphins from an oceanarium who were washed out to sea during Hurricane Katrina and dramatically rescued.
George’s passions are travel, photography, storytelling, Broadway musicals, and, of course, animals and conservation. Her worldwide adventures have taken her to some of the wildest places on Earth—from the jungles of Borneo and South America to the forests and wetlands of India to the mountains of China as well as the savannas of Africa and Australia’s Outback. She is looking forward to exploring Madagascar with our WorldWild Tours travelers and is excited to see lemurs and other unique animals in their native habitat.
Kea Spurrier, associate director of individual giving for the Development Department, is an avid world traveler who has lived in Greece and traveled extensively through Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America, South America, China, and Australia. She is passionate about animals and conservation, and has helped generate support for the San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and the conservation efforts of the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy. A favorite campaign Kea worked on generated support to build a new home for the Zoo’s Galápagos tortoises. Kea’s travel interests include exploring rain forests and other ecosystems to see animals in the wild, visiting archeological or historically significant sites, and browsing through museums that house amazing art.
A native of the New York area, Julia Altieri moved to San Diego over ten years ago and fell in love with California. As Development Coordinator at the San Diego Zoo, she brings in estate gifts that fund major projects at the Zoo and Safari Park. Julia also manages the WorldWild Tours program, working with tour operators and passengers to ensure the best, most exciting wildlife travel experiences possible.
Julia has a Master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the Pratt Institute and has worked for non-profit organizations her entire professional career. She is endlessly curious about wildlife, culture, and the arts and previously worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego.
Julia is an avid traveler and is excited to add China, with its rich history and charming pandas, to her list of adventures.