Toft Group Executive Search Implements Invenias to Support Growth Trajectory

Invenias, the leading cloud-based platform for executive and strategic hiring, has announced today that California based Toft Group Executive Search, part of the IESF Global Network of executive search firms, has deployed its platform in order to support its impressive growth trajectory. Toft Group, which focuses exclusively on building leadership teams for Life Sciences and Healthcare companies, required a system that would provide it with the operational confidence to scale, whilst sticking to their milestone-focused process that gives clients committed timelines.

Robin Toft, President and CEO of Toft Group comments: “As a company we specialize in a very specific sector – that makes it all the more imperative that we’re a data-driven organization, continually speaking with candidates, monitoring opportunities and nurturing our pipeline. Invenias has equipped us with the ability to work as dynamically with data as our clients do.”

“The right insights and timely access to data is also imperative for providing a solid foundation on which our company can grow. The more efficiencies we can derive through better data, both in terms of access and quality, the more searches we can manage. We have experienced beyond market growth year-over-year since our inception, and needed a system that was up to the challenge. We found that in Invenias.”

Toft founded the company after working in Life Sciences for more than 20 years. While working within industry, she was often frustrated by the lack of statistical data or transparency into the process that executive search agencies provided. As a result, Toft Group uses a defined methodology that encompasses comprehensive and routine client statistical reporting, giving clients full insight into the status of each search. With their previous system, creating these reports required an inordinate amount of consultant and administrative time. Now with Invenias, the data can be retrieved and collated at a push of a button, giving consultants back their most precious commodity – time.

Toft continues: “To ensure there is no redundancy across the company, we adopt a team-based approach. This means I am as likely to be running a report as anyone else who was previously facing the same frustrations. Now, I too am free from the burden of multiple entry points. Additionally, the Invenias team worked with me to create tailored reports with which I can now run my business. The ease with which I can now pull the information I need, and use my new found time to far better effect, is simply amazing.”

The experienced migrations team at Invenias was able to successfully move the data from their previous system. This allowed Toft Group to streamline and better leverage the history and relationships they have established and they are now more confident that the database is a more accurate and usable business asset.

David Grundy, CEO, Invenias, commented: “Invenias has been designed to make it as easy as possible for executive search companies to optimize their data and navigate it in a way that delivers tangible business value. If we can give a CEO their time back – as we have with Toft Group – that for me is the ultimate endorsement of our platform because it means we are helping to drive growth and success.”

About Invenias

Invenias® is a privately owned software company that enables executive search firms, specialist recruitment companies and enterprise recruitment organizations to effectively deliver better assignments, build stronger relationships with clients and candidates and transform the productivity of their operations with easy to use cloud-based desktop and mobile applications. Incorporated in 2005, Invenias serves thousands of users in over thirty countries across the globe. Invenias is headquartered in Reading, United Kingdom, with additional offices in the US and Malaysia. For more information, please visit

About Toft Group Executive Search

Toft Group Executive Search is “Changing the Future of Medicine, One Relationship at a Time” and we take pride in the fact that our work helps our clients accelerate getting novel products to market. We are a global retained executive search firm that is 100% dedicated to Life Sciences & Healthcare industries. Our customers include biotech, pharmaceutical, medical device, digital health, and diagnostic companies. With offices in San Francisco, San Diego and Boston, we assist a wide range of local, national and international companies – from venture backed start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations.

Perception vs. Reality: The 4 Disconnects Preventing Gender Equality in Life Sciences

There is no question about it – diversity has a positive impact in the workplace. When we focus specifically on gender equality, reports from McKinsey & CompanyCatalyst, and Ernst & Young (EY) show a correlation between greater female representation and a company’s improved performance.

However, despite the extensive data supporting such improved performance, increased advocacy from public and private groups, and a greater commitment from companies nationwide to create a more balanced landscape, the latest data shows it will take over 117 years to close the gender gap – 38 years longer than what was reported in 2014.

Why, with so many efforts, is there still such a disparity? Research from EY highlights 4 main disconnects holding back gender equality in Life Sciences.

1. Reality Disconnect: Business leaders assume we are far closer to solving gender equality, although they have made little progress within their own companies

47% of EY survey respondents indicated they develop women and men equally in existing leadership programs, and have no intent to change them.

2. Data Disconnect: Companies are not accurately measuring how women are progressing to senior level roles

Only 39% of the life sciences companies surveyed measure their progress on improving gender equality in their leadership teams. This includes understanding how many women are on leadership teams, employee engagement, retention, number of applicants for senior positions, and pay.

3. Pipeline Disconnect: Companies are not creating pipelines that develop females into potential leaders

Although hiring and retention remain top of mind for senior leaders in Life Sciences, only 27% of women say their companies are very effective at identifying future female leaders. Only 19% of women believe their companies are effectively promoting women into leadership positions.

4. Perception & Perspective Disconnect: Men and women fundamentally see gender inequality in very different ways. When asked about the most common barriers that limit women, answers between men and women varied significantly.

Source: EY Think gender equality has nothing to do with performance in Life Sciences? Think again.

Companies seek executives with the ability to engage people and to create a collaborative Team environment. These leaders are able to identify and leverage unique strengths in others, and can align a Team to accomplish a common goal.


What can you do as a business leader to implement better gender equality?

1. Assess Your Company

Evaluate the potential gaps or areas for change within your own company: from initial hiring, to retention and development, to promotion of senior leaders.

Carefully and continually assess your company culture and environment. This means looking at day-to-day activities, such as how meetings are conducted, how men and women typically interact, etc. to understand the dynamics that are present within you company.

Survey both male and female employees for their candid perspective to understand where they feel your company may be falling short. Ask for tangible ways they would like to see the company evolve as a whole, and what they would benefit from individually.

2. Create an Action Plan

Assemble a team that involves senior leadership, Human Resources, employees from all levels and departments, and perhaps even outside consultants who are responsible for creating an action plan based on employee feedback. This plan may include, but is not limited to, revamping training programs, hiring processes, corporate policies, employee benefits, mentoring partnerships, and developmental opportunities.

Essentially, treat this action plan as any other company initiative by dedicating time, resources and a budget. Establish deadlines with measurable benchmarks and clear goals. Evaluate success regularly, and continuously evolve your action plan to include employee feedback.

3. Replace the Disconnect with Transparency & Communication

Moving forward as a company requires top-down transparency about where things stand, and a priority to shift. Leaders are responsible for creating an open dialogue with employees about workplace equality, communicating equality as a priority, setting expectations, and soliciting their ideas and suggestions for improving.

These actions are key eliminating the gender disconnects that will continuously hold companies back. They are what differentiate the companies who claim to value gender equality, from those who actually evolve and benefit from attracting more impressive talent, increased retention, and higher performance.


What can women do to overcome the gender gap?

Robin Toft, Founder & CEO of Toft Group Executive Search, says the best advice is for women to take control of their careers. Per Robin, “Until gender equality is the norm, women must step out of their comfort zone, raise their voice, and take charge of their career path.”

She adds there are 3 critical ways women can own their career path, starting now:

1. Actively Network

“There are a growing number of network groups, in Life Sciences and High Tech, focused on connecting women in a variety of different ways. I highly encourage women to seek out these groups for events and resources to help women build relationships that will advance their careers.”

2. Find a Mentor

Whether it is through these networking groups or your personal network, Robin says it is critical to seek mentorship. This could be from one person or ideally multiple people whom you respect, have a good relationship with, and who are open to providing guidance.

“I actively sought out both male and female mentors who supported me on a path to success. I certainly would not have been able to overcome hurdles without their mentorship,” comments Robin. “As a result, Toft Group is deeply committed to paying it forward by helping women, business leaders and companies benefit from greater gender equality. We believe that the more people who are empowered without limitation, the more we will accelerate the Life Sciences community toward equality.”

3. Know your Value

Robin believes it is the candidate’s responsibility to understand their ideal career progression and where they would like to be in 10 years. Once fully aware, a female employee needs to ask for career development opportunities, rather than waiting to be recognized.

“When in doubt of how to build your resume and accomplishments to earn the next level, I advise female candidates consult one or more executive search professionals placing candidates at your level in your field. At Toft Group, we continually spend time with candidates and provide this guidance to everyone who asks, but we have observed over 10+ years that those requesting career planning assistance are typically male.”

Robin is considered a trailblazer for gender equality in the executive ranks of the Life Science industry. Prior to establishing Toft Group, Robin held senior executive positions in Life Science organizations at a time when such roles were largely male dominated. She attributes her success and career development to setting personal goals, knowing and leveraging her value, and building her network of relationships throughout her career.

Toft Group is working aggressively to launch new programs and resources that will be designed to propel the Life Sciences sector as an industry leader in gender equality. For more information about these exciting initiatives and how you can get involved, contact us.

What Executive Recruiters Look for When Filling Top Leadership Positions in Life Sciences

Candidates want to know what will help them stand out from the crowd, and ultimately land a top C-level position.  Similarly, clients want to understand what qualities they should look for to ensure the candidate will not only be successful, but the right fit for their organization as it grows over time.

When we conduct an executive level search for our Life Sciences or Digital Health customers, we use a comprehensive process and all candidates are evaluated based on multiple dimensions: Technical Expertise, Specific Experience, Cultural Fit, and Career Track Record.

Toft Group Executive Search has identified several critical key traits that are common among the most sought after VP and CEO-level candidates.  These are often the “soft skills”, or cognitive and personality characteristics, which employers are consistently looking for in their executives:

1. Ability to Build Trusted Partnerships

In an increasingly complicated and uncertain world, it is critical for executive leaders to know how to build trust. Trust is the leading component driving every relationship both internally and externally.

Recruiters will need to fully and clearly understand an executive’s track record for building and maintaining trusted relationships throughout his/ her career. These relationships extend from the top down, and are ideally maintained across the industry as they progress their career. The relationship a candidate has with her/his manager (and past managers) is just as important as peer relationships and the relationships with employee’s s/he has managed.

There will always be personality differences to consider, however a strong candidate will be able to demonstrate the ability to work well with diverse executive teams and organizations. Building trusted partnerships with a spectrum of different types of people is also a sign of high emotional intelligence – a key leadership quality.


2. Solid Character

One of the most complicated components to a candidate assessment is the character portion of the evaluation. Our process goes well beyond simply evaluating the candidate’s detailed career progression and proven track record of accomplishments. We strive to understand how a candidate performs under stress and during challenging situations. The ability to display unwavering leadership in the face of adversity, make strategic and difficult decisions, and maintain core values in the face of uncertainty are key characteristics one must have to land any leadership role.


3. Humility and Self-Awareness

No candidate or individual is perfect. Executives who are capable of admitting their weaknesses tend to rely more on the strengths of others, and value different perspectives and opinions. The ability to recognize one’s weaknesses not only allows leaders to be more open to new ideas and ways of doing things, but they see other people as invaluable and an important key to their own success.

It is our experience that most early stage companies view humility as one of their core values and most important qualities, and consistently seek this attribute in their executive level hires.


4. Ability to Create a Collaborative and Engaging Culture

While recruiting executives, it is not simply about seeking candidates that fit with the current culture. We more frequently look for leaders who have the ability to improve upon the current culture.

Companies seek executives with the ability to engage people and to create a collaborative Team environment. These leaders are able to identify and leverage unique strengths in others, and can align a Team to accomplish a common goal.


5. A Greater Purpose

Consumers and employees are consistently demanding more from companies. Companies, in turn, are becoming less interested in the employees who just want a “9 to 5” job. They are seeking out employees and leaders who approach their jobs as entrepreneurs, who are personally invested in the company and have a sense of ownership in the company’s mission.

Today’s executive leaders must be able to see how the company can serve a purpose greater than simply focusing on corporate profit. Leaders who “see a bigger picture” are typically more likely to be innovative, able to lead and influence others with their vision, and form stronger relationships with their employees.

In summary, executive recruiters all seek candidates who meet a checklist of technical skills and experience based on specific job requirements. However, Toft Group “finalists” – those candidates who stand out and ultimately land the job – are always those who also possess “soft skills” related to emotional intelligence, collaboration, thinking beyond the bottom line, and have the ability to lead and persevere through challenging times.

For more information on our process, or to start your next search, contact Toft Group.

Toft Group Recap: 35th Annual JP Morgan Healthcare Conference 2017

The 2017 JP Morgan Conference in San Francisco, California was once again full of exciting new product reveals, industry deals, discussions on the impact of a new presidential administration, and an increasingly stronger movement toward value-based care. Here’s a recap of our top 3 takeaways:

1. 100 Life Sciences and Healthcare Companies Sign Open Letter for Gender Diversity

Over one hundred prominent Life Science and Healthcare executives signed an open letter to increase efforts for greater gender diversity in the workplace. The letter is a commitment by leading executives to make gender diversity and inclusion a top priority, recognizing its importance in creating businesses that thrive. It is also an effort to be conscious of the “unconscious biases” that hinder equality in the workplace, and includes specific action initiatives companies can implement.

As an executive search firm committed to gender equality in the Life Sciences and Digital Health workplace, Toft Group is operating the forefront of this initiative.  Most all of our customers are making this a top priority when hiring at the executive level.

2. National Healthcare Policy

The future of the Affordable Care Act remains uncertain. But what is almost guaranteed is that the shift from fee-for-service to value-based healthcare will continue. It is clear that 2017 will be a year where healthcare executives prioritize clearly defining a strong value-proposition for existing products and those in the pipeline. This will require industry leaders to evaluate and think differently about their product strategy, development processes, talent pool, organizational structure, and partnerships.

3. Drug Pricing

Drug pricing remained a major focus of the meeting. The topic was further polarized when President Donald Trump criticized drug companies for manufacturing the vast majority of drugs offshore. President Trump also indicated that new bidding procedures may be on the horizon.

Industry executives continued to defend drug pricing as a risk of return given the length of time, uncertainty, and level of innovation required to develop breakthrough drugs. The issue, of course, is confounded when new drugs must compete with low-cost generic therapies.

Just after the conference, the pharmaceutical industry launched a new multi-million dollar campaign, #GoBoldly. The campaign aims to refine the drug industry’s reputation by highlighting the significant advancements in research which develop breakthrough medications that save lives.

For more industry insights, subscribe to our Toft Group newsletter.

Toft Group Executive Search Expands Team with Michael Young Based in San Diego

“Mr. Young brings an incredibly dynamic background to Toft Group that includes over 14 years as a Pre-Clinical Research Scientist, and a successful track record of recruiting at leading firms,” commented Robin Toft, President & CEO of Toft Group. “He will be an outstanding addition to our world-class team as we continue to meet a growing demand for highly-skilled leadership in Life Sciences.”

Mr. Young joins Toft Group from National Search Associates (NSA), where he served as Director of Business Development and Sales. Prior to NSA, Michael also served as an Executive Search Consultant with The Newport Group, and was Business Development and Recruiter with Kelly Services, a leading worldwide scientific staffing provider. During his years as a Pre-Clinical Research Scientist, Mr. Young developed/ designed several small molecule and biologics through in vivo and bench assay screens. He began his career as an R&D Scientist with a focus on Immunology and Metabolic disease. Mr. Young spent 12 years with The Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation (GNF), where many of his projects are now into Clinical Testing within the Novartis pipeline.

About Toft Group Executive Search

Toft Group Executive Search is “Changing the Future of Medicine, One Relationship at a Time” and we take pride in the fact that our work helps our clients accelerate getting novel products to market. Named a Top 150 Fastest Growing Private Company and a Top 50 Executive Search Firm in Life Sciences, we are a global retained executive search firm that is 100% dedicated to life sciences & healthcare industries.  Our customers include biotech, pharmaceutical, medical device, digital health, and diagnostic companies. With offices in San Francisco, San Diego and Boston, we assist a wide range of local, national and international companies – from venture backed start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations.

How Executive Recruiters Identify Top Talent

The first few months of 2017 have gotten off to quite a start! The JP Morgan Conference, held in January, was perhaps the most eventful yet. The transition of a new presidential committee elevated the ongoing topic of drug pricing and the future of healthcare policy. Click here for a recap of highlights.

The conference captured the key issues facing life science companies that are likely to significantly impact recruiting in 2017, prompting our clients and candidates to ask for the “must have” traits in successful C-level executives. In this issue, we reveal How Executive Recruiters Identify Top Talent.

We are also excited to announce we are growing! Lucy Lu has joined our team as Senior Vice President based in San Francisco with an incredible passion and focus for building leadership teams. Feel free to learn more about Lucy and connect with her on LinkedIn.

Despite what issues may lie ahead, we anticipate 2017 to be a remarkable year for advancing healthcare and life sciences. We are more confident than ever that our growing network is ready to lead companies through the obstacles and deliver innovative, life-changing products to patients in need. We want to thank you for being a part of it.


Robin Toft

President & Chief Engagement Officer, Toft Group Executive Search