November 4, 2022 – ZRG Partners recently completed a pro bono search for Center for Community Solutions (CCS), a San Diego-based non-profit dedicated to ending relationship and sexual violence, assisting in the recruitment of Cori Austin as the organization’s new chief executive officer. Robin Toft, Lisa McCann, and Sarah Cueto led the search. Ms. Austin, who has served as chief operating officer of CCS for the last two years, will continue as COO until she transitions to her new role in February. She will succeed Verna Griffin-Tabor, who has served as CEO of CCS for the last 25 years. The CCS board of directors led an extensive nationwide CEO search process and unanimously selected Ms. Austin. “We are thrilled that Cori will take the helm and have full confidence in her ability to lead, ensure stability, and take CCS to new heights,” said Tracy Skaddan, board president. “Her commitment to the mission and survivors is inspiring.”
“We completed the search pro bono to non-profit CCS, since ZRG is deeply committed to ending sexual violence, both in the workplace and at home,” said Ms. Toft. “Cori’s background is deeply rooted in mission-focused roles building programs, strengthening teams, and advancing organizational culture for impact,” said Ms. Cueto. “She has 20-plus years in senior leadership and executive roles and 25 years of professional experience focused on ending domestic, sexual, and family violence. Cori is an impressive change-agent who is deeply passionate about the space and dedicated to making meaningful advances for the community that CCS serves.”
“Cori Austin is a passionate and dedicated leader who cares deeply about our mission to end relationship and sexual violence,” said Ms. Griffin-Tabor. “I cannot think of a better person to serve as CEO, and I have complete faith that she will lead CCS into the next chapter with grace and strength.”
Ms. Austin has worked in the relationship and sexual violence prevention field for over two decades, including 12 years at CCS. She has also served in numerous, elected non-profit leadership positions including on the board of directors for the California Partnership to End Domestic Violence, on the steering committee for the San Mateo County Continuum of Care, and as a member of a Citizen Review Panel under the California Office of Child Abuse Prevention. Her professional accomplishments include strategic partnerships with community leaders to develop a county-wide response to family homelessness and providing training and technical assistance to non-profits focused on the development of trauma informed practices. Ms. Austin was also core to CCS expanding services in San Diego’s North County.
CCS provides trauma-informed, wrap-around services to empower survivors as they heal and recover from trauma. The non-profit is facilitating and spearheading a unique and special kind of work. In 2021 alone, CCS served more than 17,000 adults and children to heal and prevent relationship and sexual violence.
ZRG, founded in 1999, is a progressive mid-sized global executive search firm. With the financial backing of private equity investor RFE Investment Partners, ZRG is among the fastest growing firms in the search industry. It provides a full suite of executive, middle-management, and customized search solutions through its offices in North America, Europe, South America, and Asia. The firm finds leaders across a broad spectrum of business markets, including aerospace, consumer, education, healthcare services and solutions, industrial, life sciences, non-profit, private equity and venture capital, and technology.
Ms. Toft is the chairman and founder of Toft Group Executive Search, which ZRG acquired in 2019. She combines a deep knowledge of the life science industry with a passion. In over a decade in the executive search industry, Ms. Toft has placed members of boards of directors, CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CCOs, CMOs, CTOs, and other senior management positions in North American companies in biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, medical devices, life science tools, and digital health. A champion of diverse executive teams, Ms. Toft has built a reputation for recruiting women and minorities into top roles.
Ms. McCann is a managing director for ZRG Partners and works nationally with customers at the intersection between high tech and biotech. She specializes in placing diverse (by age, gender, and race) CEO, executive, and board level candidates. Ms. McCann brings more than 25 years of search experience to the team, having managed her own, independently held executive search firm as well as leading in-house, corporate recruiting functions for high tech companies. She has extensive experience working with venture backed, private equity owned and public companies in life sciences, biotech, digital health and technology. Ms. McCann has executed over 500 executive-level searches throughout her career.
Ms. Cueto is a principal for ZRG Partners and has worked exclusively in life sciences for her entire career in executive search. She excels at C-suite level search and building out leadership teams within her client companies across a broad span of functional areas. Ms. Cueto specializes in commercial roles, including CBO/CCO/SVP, R&D, as well as physician recruitment. Her expertise is placing leadership within emerging biotech organizations at times of rapid growth, and her passion lies in identifying and placing diverse talent.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media