She takes over from Lance Linares, who held the top post for 22 years.
A succession plan adopted by the board guided the organization through the transition. The board formed a search committee, tapped Carlson Beck, then screened and interviewed hundreds of candidates before selecting Ms. True.
Jess Brown, executive director of the Santa Cruz County Farm Bureau and honorary trustee of the Community Foundation, was involved in the search process. “Susan is going to be a great leader who takes a proactive stance on important local issues,” she said. “I look forward to introducing her to our local community and others in the Pajaro Valley.”
Terry Medina, board president, was optimistic as well. “I feel confident that Susan is the right person with the right blend of professional and personal skills to lead us forward,” he said.
“We talked to our donors, non-profit and community leaders about the person they wanted us to hire,” said Marilyn Calciano, board vice president. “A caring and proven leader with local knowledge was on the top of everyone’s list. And, we found her.”
With deep local relationships in the non-profit world, Ms. True has served as executive director of First 5 Santa Cruz County and CASA of Santa Cruz County. She was also an elected trustee on the governing board of Cabrillo College. Her most recent position was with the Kenneth Rainin Foundation in Oakland, where she served as director of education strategy and ventures.
“The Community Foundation is uniquely positioned to make lasting change in the community that has been home to her for over 20 years,” said Ms. True. “I take the meaning of philanthropy to heart. It’s about the love of people and the places we call home. Together, we can work to make all lives here fulfilling, secure and connected with each other so our county can thrive.”
Community Foundation Santa Cruz County, with total assets over $120 million, is a tax-exempt public charity serving people who share a common interest to improve the quality of life in Santa Cruz County, and beyond, through philanthropy.
With offices in San Francisco, Seattle and New York City, Carlson Beck is steeped in philanthropy and non-profit search sector expertise. Its clients include the Arizona Community Foundation, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy, General Service Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, American Red Cross, the J. David Gladstone Institutes, St. Anthony Foundation, United Friends of the Children. Project Open Hand and the Community Housing Partnership, among others.
Sector In Search of New Leaders
Economic and community development organizations continue to turn to executive search firms to find new leaders. Here’s a look at a few recent searches across the sector from the Hunt Scanlon Media newswire archives:
Following an extensive national search, Bialla Partners has placed Tallia Hart as president and chief executive officer of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. Partner Jeff Hodge led the assignment. Ms. Hart is the first woman, minority, and youngest to lead the 167-year old organization.
Brent Cooper, an entrepreneur, small business owner and longtime leader in the regional business community, has been named president and CEO of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. The organization enlisted Cincinnati-based executive recruitment firm Centennial Inc. to conduct the search.
Jorgenson Consulting has been selected by the Wayne Economic Development Council to lead in its search for its next president. Todd Jorgenson, managing director and principal, is heading the assignment. The organization has formed a search committee to identify, interview and recommend candidates to replace president Rodney Crider.
Waverly Partners placed Scott Martin as the president and CEO of the Norman Chamber of Commerce in Oklahoma. Debbie Galbraith, managing director and principal at Waverly Partners, led the assignment. Mr. Martin has served on the Oklahoma House of Representatives since 2006.
Executive search firm Elinvar placed Scott Levitan as CEO of the Research Triangle Foundation, which manages an eminent North Carolina research park known as Research Triangle Park. He succeeds Bob Geolas, who left the organization last September. Elinvar’s president and CEO, Patti Gillenwater, led the search.
Bialla Partners recruited Tallia Hart as president and CEO of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. Partner Jeff Hodge led the assignment. She is the first woman, first minority, and youngest to lead the 167-year old organization. Ms. Hart previously served as president and CEO of the Irvine Chamber of Commerce.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media