Cook Silverman is a retained search firm focused on senior development positions for nonprofit organizations, predominantly in Northern California. Cook Silverman is the result of an alliance between Pamela Cook of Pamela Cook Development Search and Victoria Silverman of VLS Strategies. 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 development work and management. Pamela Cook has been in the search and recruitment business since 2000 and has completed nearly 250 successful searches. Victoria Silverman has hired and managed more than 100 staff during her career. Cook Silverman has the track record, deep knowledge of fundraising, and strong 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, Pamela Cook and/or Victoria Silverman 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 work on development searches, predominantly in Northern California. We provide expertise in identifying, evaluating, and securing candidates. Because we work exclusively on development 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 salary negotiations.
Our team includes individuals who have served as executive directors, development directors, and other senior positions in development and therefore have unique knowledge and ability to reach out to and evaluate skill sets of development professionals. We find and present candidates who best match the nonprofit’s needs.
Victoria is a Co-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 SchoolsRule Volunteer Strategist, 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. She is the extremely proud mother of two amazing young women.
Pamela Cook, ACFRE
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 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 interviews candidates 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.