Robin Toft, the Founder and CEO of Toft Group, a leading executive search firm based in San Francisco, accomplished something rare: in the American Business Awards for 2020, Toft won Gold in the three major individual categories of Lifetime Achievement, Maverick of the Year and Woman of the Year.
Toft is a legend in her field and in many cases, outside of it as well. That field is executive search fully devoted to the life sciences, healthcare and biotech. As COVID-19 spreads around the globe, Toft is at the forefront of placing key talent researching a cure; as she has said, “my phone is ringing off the hook.”
Toft founded her company ten years ago, in 2010, before which she worked full-time biotech, where she became a “superstar.” At Roche Diagnostics, Toft launched the first global initiative for access to HIV viral load testing; at ViroLogic, Inc., she launched and commercialized first HIV/AIDS genotype and phenotype tests to guide doctors in selecting correct drug combinations; as a result, HIV became a chronic disease and no longer a fatal one.
To know this disruptive leader is to know something else crucial: Toft is positive always. Call; email; meet one-on-one: the optimism is ironclad. And you may want to know this, too: Robin Toft is a colon cancer survivor; and a survivor of the California wildfires, where she lost everything, her home included.
Through it all, Toft’s focus has been steadfast on diversity since she knows it translates into return on investment. Companies with diverse leadership teams have been proven to be more innovative and profitable; and are more attractive to senior-level talent. Toft has focused on placing women in positions of power that have been held by men because, up until now, men frequently do not have female executives in the networks they rely on to fill top jobs.
In 2019, Toft Group had a remarkable 98% women on boards placement rate, five times the national average; and when it came to placing women in senior positions, the C-suite included, the company had a 48% rate at a time where the highest average offered is 29% (the lowest is 13%).
Over the years, as Toft interviewed and placed hundreds of women into executive roles, she knew something important that had been left unspoken: most women are miserable in their jobs and lack a clear direction for the future. “As a successful woman myself, it’s hard to see such high levels of career dissatisfaction.” As a result, Toft has personally coached thousands of women free-of-charge – to help them set goals; have the perseverance and tenacity to meet them; and to understand the importance of balancing and enjoying their lives.
In 2019, Robin Toft put it all down in a groundbreaking book titled WE CAN, The Executive Woman’s Guide to Career Advancement, an intentional and powerful platform for change. Like Toft herself, the book goes where others fear to tread: female indecisiveness and doubt; the great need for discipline, for a plan, for a map of one’s progression and for confidence; the power to create opportunities; to practice self-care and self-talk. And that men play a role, too. And, yes, women are not – nor should they be – “mini-men.”
WE CAN was honored with Silver for Best Business Book in the American Business Awards for 2020 and was also named to the Top 100 CEO books of all time by Book Authority. Toft also won silver for Entrepreneur of the Year – Business and Professional Services.
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Since the publication of WE CAN, Toft has become a “name” on the keynote speaking circuit including corporations Qualcomm and Illumina; conferences including the top three for women in science; next generation female leaders and board members; the most prestigious in medicine including the Precision Medicine World Conference; MIT Alumni Network, among universities; and Athena International, the global non-profit leading the way in building a pipeline of women leaders in underrepresented areas, notably technology and medicine.
It’s no wonder then that thousands of executives outside of Toft’s search candidates now seek one-on-one mentoring with Toft (there is a waiting list) and that WE CAN, as of 2020, is a start-up company aimed at helping women – and men – grow from the “outside IN.”
As Toft says, “Placing top talent during the COVID-19 crisis has been extremely rewarding. My big dream in building Toft Group was to change the future of medicine, one relationship at a time and we have delivered upon that mission. After 20 years as an executive in biotech and ten years building my own search company, I’ve learned to set goals, to reach them and to be happy. Teaching women – and men – to dream big and achieve their dreams is my mission for the next 20.”
For more on Robin Toft visit thetoftgroup.com; for information on Toft’s keynote speaking including topics, visit robintoft.com or wecan.works; to purchase the book WE CAN, go to https://www.amazon.com/WE-CAN-Executive-Womans-Advancement/dp/1949635031