ZRG Partners Places CEO of Catalina Island Conservancy

June 22, 2023 – ZRG Partners, a leading search firm backed by private equity firm RFE Investment Partners, has placed Whitney Latorre as president and chief executive officer of the Catalina Island Conservancy in California. The search was led by managing director Diane Charness, partnering with Christina Sampaio-Forman, vice president, executive search of Sucherman, a ZRG company. Ms. Latorre will begin her new role in July.

“ZRG and its team are excited to congratulate Whitney Latorre on her placement as president and CEO of the Catalina Island Conservancy,” said the search firm in an online post.

Ms. Latorre’s appointment culminates an extensive search for a new leader of the non-profit organization, which is dedicated to the responsible stewardship of Santa Catalina Island through conservation, education, and recreation. “With a passion for telling stories that matter, Latorre brings unique experience as an internationally recognized storyteller and educator, and as a dynamic innovator and leader to Catalina Island Conservancy,” said the non-profit.

She joins the organization from National Geographic, part of The Walt Disney Company, where she was vice president and executive director of visuals. Ms. Latorre directed the organization’s award-winning visual content, twice recognized as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; collaborated on initiatives to increase the organization’s digital audience and engagement; spearheaded innovative projects in new media; and championed collaborations with For Freedoms, NASA, Rolex, and other stakeholders.

A New Chapter

“We are confident that Whitney Latorre’s arrival will invigorate our team, inspire innovative strategies, and help us achieve even greater success and recognition in our vital work,” said Will Hagenah, chair of the board of directors and acting president and CEO of the Catalina Island Conservancy.

Ms. Latorre’s appointment marks a new chapter for the organization as it embarks on several major initiatives to conserve the island’s biodiversity and unique ecosystem, promote sustainable tourism, and expand its reach. Her experience in media and communications is expected to be instrumental in achieving the organization’s strategic goals and engaging with the broader community.

Related: ZRG Partners Assists Center for Community Solutions with CEO Search

Founded in 1972, the mission of the Catalina Island Conservancy is to be a responsible steward of its lands through a balance of conservation, education and recreation. Through its ongoing efforts, the conservancy stewards approximately 42,000 acres of land, 50 miles of rugged shoreline, an airport, and more than 200 miles of roads. Twenty miles from the mainland, the island is a treasure trove of historical and archeological sites, and numerous rare and endangered animals and plants.

Veteran Recruiters

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.

Shelli Herman and Associates Recruits CFO for Catalina Island Conservancy 

Los Angeles-based Shelli Herman and Associates placed Charmian Hauck as the Catalina Island Conservancy’s chief financial officer. Ms. Hauck has more than 30 years of experience in the field of accounting and finance, including 20 years in the non-profit sector. In the world of corporate finance, she has managed accounting departments from $5 million to $500 million companies across a variety of industries. While working in the non-profit sector for the last 20 years, she has led the finance departments of various non-profits including more than a decade with the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor.

Ms. Charness, social impact practice leader, specializes in partnering with leading organizations in education, healthcare, government, and those advocating for the arts, research, and sustainability. She serves as a strategic partner to institutions seeking to cross-populate leadership teams who inspire innovation and operational excellence in both the public and private sectors. Having served over 100 non-profit, governmental, and industry clients throughout the U.S. and beyond, Ms. Charness facilitates consensus around organizational design and leadership development, working with boards and leadership on C-suite and senior management talent selection. She’s been recognized as one of the top 40 Education recruiters in the U.S. by Hunt Scanlon two years in a row, and as a top 60 non-profit recruiter.

Ms. Sampaio-Forman is a media and entertainment industry veteran with over two decades of experience in content development, production, talent recruitment, and business management. With deep relationships across the industry, including with network executives, producers, agents and talent, she leads high-profile executive searches for leading media, entertainment and digital brands. During her tenure at Sucherman, Ms. Sampaio-Forman has played a core role in more than 60 successful placements across television and film development, production, business affairs, and marketing. She is responsible for recruiting executives who then ascend in the organization, including network entertainment heads and C-suite executives.

Related: ZRG Partners Places CEO for HomeRise

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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