When Debbie Mukherjee was having down days in her last few jobs, she would try to walk around the office to cheer up.
"You're in a corporate headquarters or a manufacturing facility, and, oh, well, you have to do a lot of the cheering up on your own," Mukherjee said.
Now, however, that she is the new marketing director of the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, down times can't possibly last long, she said.
"Even if you are having a bad day, you walk on the floor and see the expressions of people - especially kids, but even parents - and you can't help but smile," she said. "You become refreshed. The people who come here are here to be happy."
Mukherjee moved to Cherry Hill last year, when her husband, Amit, became a professor of management at the Richard Stockton College of New Jersey. They have a 5-year-old son and a 21/2-year-old daughter. She had emigrated from India a decade before, after getting her master's in business at the University of Mumbai. She wanted to come to the United States for a few months, just to look at companies and how they applied marketing principles.
"That five months or so has now lasted 11 years," she said. She got another master's degree, in marketing, at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota, and worked in the Twin Cities for the last 10 years. Each time, she took a job in a different industry, she said - from women's beauty-care items to a bank to Best Buy to a large regional utility company.
"Business is not like getting a degree in pure science. It is exciting to apply your ideas to the real world," Mukherjee said. She found that, when trying to market banking, or beauty items, or electronics, or even different kinds of billing for utility customers, it all came down to understanding customers.
"People now want more interaction with a company. They want to have some hands-on experience," Mukherjee said. They want to be able to pay their bills in the way they want, or play around with the controls on a TV, or, certainly, get close to a shark or a hippo at the aquarium.
The Adventure Aquarium determined in its initial market surveys that visitors would probably come back every 18 months or so, and now that the aquarium has been open under the Adventure name for about two years, it is time to seriously concentrate on getting people back.
"They've done a great job in building a brand, and it is now my job to move it along," she said. "The aquarium has gone from crawling to walking, and I have to get it to running."
She said the plan is to have five new exhibits and to market them in a slightly larger geographic area - a day's drive, more or less. She doesn't think it will be a hard thing to sell.
- Robert Strauss
John P. Sheridan Jr. was named senior executive vice president and chief administrative officer for Cooper University Hospital. He had been senior executive vice president.
William S. George was named president and chief executive officer of Health Partners, a not-for-profit health insurer in Philadelphia. He had been chief financial officer and interim president and chief executive officer. He was CFO for 15 years.
Dave Girgenti was named creative director of CramerSweeney advertising and public relations, Mount Laurel. He had been associate creative director for Medic & Marketing Group, a division of Star Group.
Comcast-Spectacor, the Philadelphia-based sports and entertainment company, named Jay Halbert vice president of finance. He had been chief financial officer at Venue One.
First National Bank of Chester County named Lynn Mander chief investment officer of its First National wealth-management division. She had been director of research.
Ann Meredith was named first chief executive officer of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania. She had been president and chief executive officer of Lights of Liberty Inc.
Richard Chevrefils was named AARP Pennsylvania state director. He had been AARP New Hampshire state director.
AMC Delancey Group, a Philadelphia-based national real estate investment and development company, named Paul J. Commito vice president and director of development. He had been assistant vice president and director of acquisitions for the Urban Division of Toll Bros. Inc.
PharmaNet Development Group Inc., a provider of drug-development services, named Beverly Harrison senior vice president business development, early stage. She had been vice president and general manager, the Americas, at MDS Pharma Services.
Synygy Inc., a Chester sales performance management company, named Jeff Evernham to the new position of vice president of worldwide client services. He had been a managing director, overseeing client engagements in the Midwest and central United States.
Christopher Pontrelli was named director of business development for the Institute for Continuing Healthcare Education at Vox Medica, a health-care communications company. He was a sales trainer in the Northeast region for Schering Oncology/Biotech.
First National Bank of Chester County named William H. Woolworth III vice president, director of risk management, in the financial services department. He had been vice president, director of internal audit.
David A. Sass was named medical director of the Center for Hepatobiliary Disorders and Transplantation at Hahnemann University Hospital, and associate chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology in the Department of Medicine and associate professor of medicine and surgery at Drexel University College of Medicine. He had been associate director for the Gastroenterology Fellowship Program and Subspecialty Education coordinator in the division of gastroenterology, hepatology and nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
Oscar Irigoyen was named director of the rheumatology clinical practice at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital. He had been associate clinical professor of medicine at Columbia University.
Hirtle, Callaghan & Co., a West Conshohocken investment firm, named Eric J. Newman director of human resources. Newman had been director of human resources for the Philadelphia Eagles.
Ace USA named Carl Sutter vice president of regional operations and national corporate-risk segment leader. He had been assistant vice president and corporate-risk segment leader for the Ace USA Mid-Atlantic Region.
Maria Rita Aristone was promoted to president of Legend Properties Inc. Aristone was previously a partner at the company, and will now head the sales division.