October 23, 2023 – Allen Chan, David Kuguru, and Jeannine Sommer of Diversified Search Group (DSG) recently assisted in the recruitment of Cyrus Wadia as the new CEO of Activate in Berkeley, CA. “Wadia personifies so much of what Activate is about,” said Ilan Gur, founder, former CEO, and now head of ARIA, the UK’s multibillion-dollar innovation agency. “He is impact-driven, entrepreneurial, and cares deeply about people, family, and community. He’s one of the few people on the planet that I’d be proud and excited to have lead the next phase of what we started.”
Leveraging his executive experience in both the public and private sector, Dr. Wadia will oversee Activate’s expansion and help the organization deliver impact at scale. Most recently, he was director of worldwide product sustainability at Amazon, responsible for raising sustainability standards in retail, including the launch of Amazon’s first sustainable shopping program. Previously, Dr. Wadia was vice president of sustainable business & innovation at Nike. He also served in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy under President Barack Obama as assistant director of clean energy and materials R&D, responsible for mobilizing over $1 billion toward cutting-edge materials science and innovation.
“I’m thrilled to join this incredible team at such an exciting moment for the organization,” said Dr. Wadia. “Because of Activate, scientists are designing new products, accelerating the creation of new businesses, and becoming leaders who will transform our future. I look forward to building on this momentum to expand the role science leadership plays in solving society’s most pressing issues.”
“Activate has transformed into one of the most impactful science innovation communities in the world in less than a decade,” said Activate board chair Liesl Schindler. “The extraordinary people and culture of Activate give us nothing but confidence as we transition into the organization’s next phase of growth—with Cyrus Wadia now at the helm.”
Founded in 2015, Activate empowers scientists to reinvent the world by launching startups to address climate change and other global challenges. Over the past eight years, Activate has grown from a team of four to nearly 50, established five communities across the country, created a thriving national science innovation network, supported over 188 fellows, and catalyzed 145 science-based startups that have raised nearly $1.4 billion collectively and created over 1,900 jobs.
Family of Recruiting Firms
Diversified Search Group is a family of recruiting firms serving specialized sectors. The firm was founded almost five decades ago by Judith von Seldeneck for the express purpose of placing diverse candidates in client organizations. It is today the largest U.S. female-owned and founded firm in the executive recruitment industry. It is comprised of a combination of specialty practices with deep industry expertise under industry recognized brands, including Alta Associates, BioQuest, Koya Partners, Grant Cooper, and Storbeck Search.
Mr. Chan is a managing director in the corporate practice. His experience spans many industries – including management consulting, higher education, technology, staffing, investment management, telecommunications, and leadership development.
Mr. Kuguru is a managing director in the corporate and technology practice with Diversified. With a 20+ year global career, he has worked in entrepreneurial startups, the corporate world, and strategic consulting. His experience with global teams includes hiring executives, managing matrix teams, assessing market strategy, and partnering with C-level decision-makers in Fortune 500s and global multinationals.
Ms. Sommer is a managing associate and senior vice president, search operations and quality. She supports the global corporate practice. Ms. Sommer has worked with a wide range of clients including the American Heart Association, Martha’s Table, AspiraNet, Colgate-Palmolive Company, CVS Health, Mayo Clinic and Special Olympics.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; and Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media