Cook Silverman is a retained search firm focused on senior management positions for nonprofit organizations including development, marketing/communications, and executive directors, predominantly in California. Cook Silverman is the result of an alliance between Pamela Cook and Victoria Silverman. Our client base represents a broad span of organizations, including independent schools, universities, and faith-based organizations, as well as those serving conservation, health care, social service, museums, science, and culture.

We are committed to providing ethical and exceptional service to every organization.  Because we have deep roots in California we know nonprofits and professionals in hundreds of organizations in California and beyond.

Hiring organizations must move nimbly in the current market.  Many candidates receive multiple offers and strong candidates rarely remain in the market for long.  Flexibility, alignment, and realism are our keys to securing strong candidates.





Cook Silverman brings more than 80 years of nonprofit experience, including all aspects of advancement work and management.  Cook Silverman has the track record, deep knowledge of fundraising, advancement and management, and connections to the nonprofit sector to make us the most effective firm in the business.

We provide exceptional customer service and tailor our search services to each client's specific needs.  In every search, Victoria Silverman and/or Pamela Cook assists the client with each phase of the search and interviews and evaluates every candidate we present. 

To ensure the highest quality work, we are focused.  We provide expertise in identifying, evaluating, and securing candidates.  Because we work exclusively on nonprofit advancement and management positions, we know the status of the market, the potential pool of candidates and the best ways to effectively reach them. We have efficient systems and techniques that help minimize overhead costs. 

We engage in initial conversations with our clients to understand the opportunities and challenges of each search. We assist in analyzing needs, preparing job descriptions, and developing salary targets.  Through our vast network, we identify candidates, discuss the position, create detailed written assessments of the top candidates to be presented and help with background checks, references and advise on salary negotiations.

Our team includes individuals who have served as executive directors, advancement, development, and other senior positions in the nonprofit arena. We have unique knowledge and ability to reach out to and evaluate the skill sets of nonprofit professionals. We find and present candidates who best match the nonprofit’s needs.





 Pam, Vitoria, Robert and Andrea

Pam, Victoria, Robert and Andrea



Victoria is the Managing Founder of Cook Silverman Search. Previously, she was the founder and principal of VLS Strategies, a nonprofit consulting firm. Victoria has worked in the philanthropic sector for more than thirty years. 

Throughout her career, Victoria has worked in senior fundraising, advancement and management positions in higher education, arts, biotech, and environment sectors at Stanford University, Washington University in St. Louis, the University of California, and the American Film Institute, among others. She has worked with heads of state, CEOs of major corporations, scientists, Hollywood celebrities, and leaders of industry. 

In 2002, Victoria launched her private practice, VLS Strategies in order to accommodate the requests of friends and business relationships. VLS Strategies' consultancy practice focused on advising development and nonprofit management, start-up companies, and small businesses.  

Victoria is a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis (BA) and attended St. Louis University School of Law. She has been a "heavy hitter" speaker for the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and has served on fundraising advisory committees for several nonprofit organizations.

Victoria is listed in Who’s Who of American Women, Who’s Who of America and Who’s Who of International Business, since the 1990s. She has served as an AIRI conference presenter, a member of the Rodef Sholom Board of Directors, a YMCA volunteer, a member of the Development Executives Roundtable, and a former member of the Reed Union School District advisory council. Victoria is currently a member of the board of directors of the Golden Gate Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and a new member of the board of San Francisco Classical Voice. She is the extremely proud mother of two amazing young women.



Pamela is a Co-Founder of Cook Silverman Search. Pam was the founder and principal of Pamela Cook Development Search. She has conducted searches for nonprofit development professionals since 2000.

Pam has thirty years experience in philanthropy. Pam has worked as community relations manager for The Clorox Company, and in senior development positions at Stanford University School of Engineering, the California Academy of Sciences, the University of Virginia, and the United Way of Silicon Valley.

Pam was president of the board of the Golden Gate Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. She served on the boards of the SEMI Foundation and Fulbright Association and the West Coast Regional Advisory Board of the Institute of International Education. She was a Big Sister for ten years.

A graduate of Duke University (BA), University of Virginia (MA), and a Fulbright Scholar at the Australian National University, Pam received a certificate in corporate community relations from Boston College. She has also completed the Stanford Advanced Management College, the Coro Community Leaders Program, Leadership Oakland, and the Environmental Forum of Marin.

Pam was named as the 2003 Hank Rosso Outstanding Fundraising Executive by the Golden Gate Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Executives and Northern California Grantmakers. Pam is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals.



Robert serves as our business manager. Robert holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of California, San Diego and attended the Anderson Graduate School of Management at the University of California, Los Angeles. He has thirty years of experience in executive management, culminating in a position as President of a $2.5 billion business. Throughout his career, Robert has recruited and trained many senior managers. In his free time, Robert serves as a volunteer mentor for organizations advancing the growth and development of boys and men in Northern California.



Andrea is a search consultant for us. She is the founder and principal of Philanthropy Consulting Group, with more than twenty-five years of professional, consulting, and volunteer experience. She held development positions with the California Academy of Sciences, Coro Foundation, Sierra Club , and the Art Institute of Chicago.  Andrea attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas where she earned a BBA from the Cox School of Business and an MLA from the Simmons School of Education and Human Development. She has served on reunion, alumni and capital campaign committees for SMU, is a former board member of the Bravo! Club of the San Francisco Opera, and has volunteered through the Junior League of San Francisco and other organizations.






I love my new position with Sempervirens Fund, and Victoria was instrumental in helping me land it. She was inspiring, knowledgeable and informative every step of the way. I was not the easiest candidate to deal with, after several negative experiences with other recruiters, but Victoria’s sunny persistence led me successfully along! I cannot recommend Victoria highly enough – and Robert, their Business Manager, handled all the final details with aplomb!  Seek Victoria when you are in the market for a great new position!
— Barbara Lamb Hall, M.S., Associate Director of Development, Sempervirens Fund
I had the immense pleasure of working with Cook Silverman Search many years ago, and when Cystic Fibrosis Research, Inc. was at a strategic point where we needed to hire our very first highly-skilled development manager, I immediately went to the Board for their approval on hiring Cook Silverman Search. I worked closely with Victoria, and was enormously satisfied with her depth of knowledge surrounding all areas of fundraising, and the priorities and challenges in hiring a first-time position for a growing nonprofit of our size in Silicon Valley. Our search was conducted flawlessly, and we were provided with consistent and immediate updates on potential candidates. We could not be more pleased with our new development manager as his skills and personality were all we had hoped for in this vital new position.
— Sue Landgraf, Executive Director, Cystic Fibrosis Research, Inc.
This has been a great process, and I have been very pleased with the strong range of candidates presented by Victoria. In addition, the depth of assessment and vetting provided was really helpful in our decision-making.
— Alison Mudditt, Director, University of California Press
As an experienced head of school, I know full well that it is impossible to lead a school alone. The Head must have outstanding professionals with deep expertise in fundraising and school finance on the administrative team, and these key individuals must be able to collaborate, initiate, and innovate with strong skills and an ethical backbone. Not once, but twice, Pamela Cook Development Search has partnered with Hamlin to identify leaders in advancement. Both the search process and the outcomes were exceptional, and our school has thrived.
— Wanda Holland Greene, Head of School, The Hamlin School
Pam was referred to us by our Board chair. Her process is very straightforward and efficient. The first step was to finalize the job description, which she helped refine for more impact, and then the search started. After a few weeks, Pam presented a number of candidates to us and set up initial interviews. She had already interviewed the candidates and provided a comprehensive write up on each one. After each interview she checked in and continued to answer any questions or concerns we had. She was also very helpful when it came to making the final decision, which was ours to make, but we definitely benefited from Pam’s experience. Once we had a short list of candidates, Pam’s team secured references and background checks and then we were ready to make an offer. We were very happy with the entire process and would definitely recommend Pam and her team to other nonprofits and will certainly use her again if the need arises.
— Karen Cowe, Chief Executive Officer, Ten Strands
From the very beginning, Pam and her colleagues demonstrated a profound commitment to understanding for the agency’s needs and then set about to bring forward only the strongest candidates.
— Mark A. Ryle, LCSW, Chief Executive Officer, Project Open Hand
I’ve always enjoyed participating in searches with Cook Silverman, and I think of Pamela and Victoria as the most plugged in team in the Bay Area fundraising scene. If you are trying to navigate a transition, or searching for a new opportunity, Cook Silverman will provide candid advice on next steps. They have a depth and breadth of connections in our field and can help determine which open and upcoming searches may be a match for you. They are honest in sharing what the opportunities and challenges are in each role, and will give helpful feedback on how your strengths and experience line up with what the employer is looking for. In both of the searches that I participated in, I felt prepared for every meeting and interview. It is always a pleasure to work with Cook Silverman.
— Lizzie Jean Cole, Director of Development, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, University of California, Davis
Victoria is an extremely talented, articulate, and creative fundraiser and manager who truly understands the resource development process in complex, high-profile, and challenging non-profit organizations. She exemplifies professionalism and enthusiasm and is seen as a leader who brings out the best in others but always keeps her focus on the “end game”. Those who work with her find her warm, approachable style a real plus, but it is her intelligence and determination to maximize effectiveness and increase institutional resources that have been of greatest value to the organizations that have been fortunate enough to work with her. It has been a great personal and professional pleasure working with Victoria over a number of years.
— Patricia Stirling, Cardaronella Stirling Associates
I believe hiring a senior development professional is a very difficult task and chose to work with Cook Silverman when we were recently in need of a Chief Development Officer. I was pleased with the process and the candidate we hired. I am grateful to Pam and her team for finding us the exact right person!
— Linda E. Farley, Ed.D. CEO, Girl Scouts Heart of Central California
Pamela Cook knows her stuff. She knows the field of fundraising and the network of fundraisers; her knowledge is broad and her expertise is deep. For any search for a fundraiser in Northern California, she is the go-to consultant.
— Frank H. Wu, Former Chancellor & Dean, University of California Hastings College of the Law
Victoria is the consummate professional. I have worked with her in various capacities through the past 20 years. She always is poised and articulate, including in her interactions with legislators, congresspersons, senators and other government officials. She is a strategic and focused businesswoman.
— Vincent Versage, Founder and Principal, The National Group, Washington, D.C.
I’ve worked with Pam and her team on multiple searches over the course of the past five years or so. I’ve always been impressed with their responsiveness and efficiency, and above all, their ability to deliver strong development candidates. They are especially in touch with current hiring trends in the Bay Area which has helped us stay competitive as an employer.
— Jeff Shilling, Associate Vice Chancellor, Philanthropy, UC Santa Cruz
Victoria provided exceptional fundraising counseling, board development and strategic consulting services. Victoria was an invaluable resource and a reliable and effective adviser. I highly recommend her and look forward to working with her again.
— Karen Stevenson, Nonprofit Consultant