June 24, 2022 – Veteran search consultant Joe McCormack, founder of McCormack+Kristel, will be retiring this summer after 29 years. Managing partner Michelle Kristel will continue to run the firm’s national practice. “Founding and running our firm has been the most important work of my career,” said Mr. McCormack. “During the past 29 years, I have been fortunate to work with outstanding organizations and help them build management teams that reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. I am very proud to have helped so many leaders realize their dreams, and I am fully confident that Michelle and our growing team will take McCormack + Kristel to new levels of success and impact in the decades ahead.”
“Nearly 20 years ago, I first met Joe as a client,” said Ms. Kristel. “I was then and continue to be impressed by his integrity and kind and generous spirit. Throughout his storied career, Joe has positively impacted the clients and organizations we serve. I am honored to carry forward his founding commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and humbled to continue his remarkable legacy.”
In 1993, Mr. McCormack opened McCormack & Associates in Los Angeles with a single client, the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). At a time when people living with HIV/AIDS and the LGBTQ community were awakening to activism, Mr. McCormack’s announcement was covered by the Associated Press, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.
Serving Emerging Non-Profits
Over the next five years, McCormack & Associates built a practice serving emerging AIDS policy, research, and client service organizations nationally. This included the public health departments of Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, as well as advocacy organizations in Boston and Washington, D.C. Mr. McCormack assembled an advisory board that included the publisher of The Advocate, the chair and executive director of AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), and the executive director of the Los Angeles LGBT Center. “During this time, growing LGBTQ advocacy and service organizations, initially run by volunteers, also needed professional leadership to sustain their growth and success, and they turned to McCormack & Associates to recruit their CEOs and C-suite executives,” Mr. McCormack said.
Previously Mr. McCormack had been a partner with McCormack & Farrow, an Orange County, CA-based retained search practice with clients in the financial services, healthcare, and technology industries. Earlier, he was a search consultant with Arthur Young Executive Resource Consultants, Billington, Fox & Ellis, and Paul R. Ray in New York and Los Angeles.
McCormack+Kristel and WB&B Recruit CEO for Lambda Legal
McCormack+Kristel and WB&B, an executive recruitment firm focused on diversity and inclusion, have together led in the placement of Kevin Jennings as the new CEO of New York-based Lambda Legal, a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work.
Ms. Kristel joined McCormack & Associates in 2013 and became a partner in 2018. Broadening its practice to include social justice and philanthropic organizations, the firm’s clients include the ACLU, AIDS United, Amnesty International, the California Endowment, Compassion & Choices, the Dr. Susan Love Foundation, Just Detention International, the Lili’uokalani Trust, Los Angeles LGBT Center, NRDC, Tides, YWCA, and numerous other progressive organizations, as well as colleges and universities including the Claremont Colleges, Kalamazoo College, Roosevelt University, Southern Methodist University, UCLA, and Washington State University.
Ms. Kristel is the former executive director of In The Life Media (ITLM), a non-profit organization producing social change media to raise awareness of issues related to gender, HIV/AIDS and LGBT rights. She joined ITLM in 2002 in the position of production manager. In 2006, following a succession of promotions, she was appointed executive director.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media