Red Panda

Red Panda

Though their names are similar, the red panda and giant panda are only very distantly related by a common ancestor that can be traced back to tens of millions of years ago. Both species were identified as pandas as the word “panda” means “bamboo eater,” and bamboo is a primary part of both the red panda’s and the giant panda’s diet.

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Zoo Management

Friends Senior Staff

  • Janet Agostini, President & CEO
  • Cathy Albunio, Finance Manager
  • Jill Allen, Director of Development & Membership
  • Jaime Alvarez, Director of Public Relations
  • Nathan Keefe, Director of Education
  • Debbi Licamele, HR Manager/Executive Assistant to the President
  • Lorrie Murray, Director of Operations
  • Maria Simmons, Director of Marketing

Janet Agostini, President & CEO, Friends of the Zoo

From the first time she heard a young child at the zoo say to her mother, "This is going to be the best day ever," Janet Agostini knew she had found hJanet Agostini with Inari, the red pandaer calling at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo. An animal lover all her life, Janet serves as President of Friends of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo, the organization responsible for the business operations, education programs and fundraising on behalf of the zoo.

Janet, a longtime resident of Central New York, has more than 25 years experience in marketing, communications and executive administration. Prior to joining the Friends organization, she was the Vice President of Student Recruitment and Communications at Onondaga Community College and she has held management positions in the high tech and healthcare sectors. She has a degree in business management from Keuka College.

She has served on local boards including Literacy Volunteers of Syracuse and Make-A-Wish. In addition, she has served on many community service committees, completed the Leadership Greater Syracuse program and was a volunteer tutor for Literacy Volunteers. Her awards include the Trustees Award for Exemplary Service for her work while at Onondaga Community College and a resolution of appreciation for her work on the residence halls.

Janet's low-tech interests include antiques, interior design and gardening. In addition to her family, she has two passions: reading and animals. She and her husband, Bob, are a "sixteen-paw family" and share their Marcellus home with two dogs and two cats.

Read more about Janet here.