August 5, 2020 – Minneapolis-based CohenTaylor Executive Search has placed Daniel Gumnit as the new chief executive officer of the Children’s Cancer Research Fund (CCRF). He succeeds John Hallberg, who retired in July.
“Daniel has exceptional experience as a leader and true passion for the vital role of science and medical research in our communities,” said Michelle Johnson, board chairperson. “He is the right person to drive CCRF’s continued growth on a national and global level.”
The Minneapolis-based non-profit wanted a dynamic and visionary CEO to guide the organization through its continued growth trajectory, said CohenTaylor Executive Search. Mr. Gumnit fit that bill. He has held executive leadership roles spanning publicly traded, privately held and non-profit organizations. Mr. Gumnit comes to CCRF after nine years as CEO of People Serving People Charities and People Serving People Inc. where he led the organization’s transformation from primarily providing emergency services to focusing on homelessness prevention. Previously, he served as Twin Cities’ PBS’s director of national program development and worked for many years in television and interactive media with the Interpublic Group.
“I am thrilled to be joining the CCRF team,” said Mr. Gumnit, “and I am excited by the opportunities to jumpstart more groundbreaking research that will help each child diagnosed with cancer. CCRF uniquely connects with families on their cancer journey, and I look forward to placing their powerful voices at the center of our work.”
As the primary external face and voice of the organization, Mr. Gumnit will be expected to lead with passion and inspiration to effectively engage people with the organization’s mission, said the search firm. Among the role’s key accountabilities, Mr. Gumnit must provide team leadership. This will involve developing, coaching and a diverse and multi-generational staff. He is also charged with ensuring that the CCRF culture continues to attract experienced and knowledgeable people and that they feel they can make a difference at CCRF. Championing the organization’s culture and values is essential as well.
The Children’s Cancer Research Fund is a national non-profit dedicated to ending childhood cancer. With only four percent of federal funding available for childhood cancer research, the organization believes that fundraising is crucial to finding safer, more effective therapies for children battling cancer. CCRF invests in promising and groundbreaking research to improve how families experience cancer treatment and life afterward. It supports groundbreaking research that is leading to better treatments and cures. It also funds vital family support services and advocates for childhood cancer education and awareness. Since 1981, CCRF has contributed $186 million to research, support for children and families, and education and awareness outreach.
CohenTaylor Executive Search is a boutique executive search firm dedicated to non-profit and public sector organizations. Founded by Chris Cohen and Don Taylor, the firm has conducted hundreds of leadership searches, locally and nationally, in multiple sectors. Its clients include Second Harvest Heartland, Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, First Avenue Productions, Healthy Building Network, Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota and Community Action Partnership of Ramsey & Washington Counties, among others.
Finding Leaders for Cancer-Focused Organizations
Over the past several months a handful of search firms have been called in to find senior executives for cancer-focused organizations. Here is a sampling from the Hunt Scanlon archives:
WittKieffer has been retained by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to lead its search for a new chief people officer. Kim Smith, Tom Quinn and Kerry Quealy are leading the assignment. “This is a unique, career-defining opportunity for an influential, visionary human resources and talent executive who wishes to advance an already world- class workforce to support Dana-Farber’s ambitious strategic goals,” said WittKieffer.
New York City-based executive search firm Harris Rand Lusk has placed Alison Silberman as the new CEO of Stupid Cancer, a non-profit that serves young adults with cancer. Matthew Zachary, the cancer group’s founder and CEO for 12 years, recently transitioned out of the role. Managing partner and CEO Jack Lusk led the assignment, along with Elly Kirschner, director of healthcare and advocacy.
New Zealand executive search firm Hobson Leavy recently placed former Well Foundation executive Andrew Young as chief executive officer of the Cancer Society of New Zealand (Auckland and Northland). Mr. Young is a highly experienced not-for-profit CEO with particular strengths in the fundraising area. He was CEO of the Well Foundation, where he helped combine two entities to create the organization and lead it to success. Mr. Young also served as CEO of the Starship Foundation for seven years.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media