Maritime Aquarium President and CEO Jennifer Herring with her husband Fernand Brunschwig.
In December, Jennifer Herring, president and CEO of The Maritime Aquarium, announced she will retire in 2014. She has served in that position for 10 of the Aquarium’s 25-year history and, in that time, has come a wealth of unique experiences and memories.
As a reflection on her many years with the institution, Jennifer has compiled her favorite memories of the Aquarium – 10 memories for 10 years – to share with our visitors and fans. Over the next few months, we’ll share her thoughts on how the Aquarium has changed and grown under her care.
Read Part 1 here. Read Part 2 here. Read Part 3 here.
President and CEO Jennifer Herring:
With only one more year to go before I retire, I am moved to reflect on my best experiences with the organization. Interestingly, I began learning about the institution with “best experience” stories from staff, volunteers, Trustees and the community in a wonderful strategic-planning process based on the Appreciative Inquiry organizational change theories. Here are the first two of my 10 “best experience” stories – 10 stories for 10 years on the job.
#7 Thinc-ing Outside the Box
Open Ocean shark tank exhibit.
After the strategic plan was completed, we embarked on a master plan for the exhibits and the facility. We wanted to have the best exhibit design firm help us develop our master plan, and we interviewed many. Before deciding, a team of senior staff and Trustees went on the road to see their work “in person” and meet with colleagues who had worked with them. Not surprisingly, this quest led to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Georgia Aquarium, but it also took us to places like the Mississippi River Museum in Dubuque, Iowa. We visited eight institutions and were most impressed by the innovative temporary exhibits in a warehouse that Thinc Design had created for the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. So we hired them!
#8 Connecting Over the Sea
Long Island Sound.
Meanwhile, I was really enjoying getting to know the people who had founded the Aquarium and who were in a position to help us realize our vision for its future. One of the most interesting was William Ziegler. By the time I met him, Bill was in declining health, but his passion for the Sound and his quiet, dry humor were still in evidence. One of my most moving experiences with him was a visit to his home, shortly before he died. He was sitting in his bedroom, which had a balcony with a spectacular view of Long Island Sound. I asked him if I could sing him a song my father had composed – a setting of the John Masefield poem Sea Fever. He nodded, and then listened deeply as the words of longing for the sea filled the room. When I was finished, he told me this was one of his favorite poems. He was a passionate sailor and loved the sea.
What is your “best experience” story about the Aquarium? Share it on our Facebook page!
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