BioNJ adds two executive directors and promotes three 

Dawn Furnas//July 13, 2022//

BioNJ adds two executive directors and promotes three 

Dawn Furnas//July 13, 2022//

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BioNJ announced several appointments and promotions July 12, including Ian McLaughlin, who has been named executive director, Government Affairs, as well as Cheri Hennessy Durst, who joined the Trenton-based life sciences trade association as executive director, Strategic Partnerships. 

McLaughlin most recently served as a policy analyst in the New Jersey Assembly Majority Office, working as a committee aide to the Assembly Health and Aging & Senior Services Committee, according to the hiring announcement. While there, he was responsible for analyzing legislation, department budgets and regulations; preparing briefing documents for legislative leadership; and working with advocates, lobbyists and stakeholders in preparing and delivering testimony before Assembly committees.    

2022 BioNJ Innovation Awards
At the 2022 BioNJ Innovation Awards, New Jersey Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli was presented with the Dr. Sol J. Barer Award for Vision, Innovation and Leadership for her work throughout the pandemic. – BIONJ

Related: BioNJ celebrates NJ’s medical innovation at annual dinner. Click here to read more.

Previously, McLaughlin’s scientific research focused on understanding the neurobiology of addiction and psychiatric conditions with the goal of identifying novel druggable CNS targets.

“Given the political climate in Trenton and on the Hill, we are thrilled to have someone with Ian’s scientific acumen, analytical mind and experience in working with the New Jersey Legislature to lead BioNJ’s advocacy and public policy efforts to help our Members help Patients,” BioNJ President and CEO Debbie Hart said in a statement. 

Hennessy Durst previously served as executive director for NYC SHRM, where she helped grow membership, expand sponsorship efforts, and managed continuing education programs and conferences. She also served as vice president, Marketing and Strategic Partnerships, for the United Way of Greater Mercer County.  

Hart added that Hennessy Durst “brings a wealth of experience in working with Member-based organizations. Her creative mind and unique approach to sponsorship and programming will allow her to create new opportunities for our Members to position themselves as thought leaders and build their relationships within the ecosystem.” 

BioNJ also announced the following promotions: 

  • Samantha Bamberger was elevated to executive director, Biopartnering Conference & Committees. Bamberger joined BioNJ in 2019 and has overseen its annual BioPartnering Conference, in partnership with J.P. Morgan and Johnson & Johnson Innovation. 
  • Debbie Mennito was promoted to executive director, Talent Services & Events. Since joining BioNJ in 2011, Mennito has planned and executed more than 260 programs. She also oversees the association’s Talent and Career Network Portal, which connects talent with life sciences companies in New Jersey and surrounding areas. 
  • Kim Minton was named executive director, Member Engagement. Over the past four years, Minton has worked closely with BioNJ’s members. Additionally, she oversees BioNJ’s Purchasing Consortium, a savings program for members.