Robin Toft, Chairman & Founder of Toft Group Executive Search, Most Inspiring WomenLeaders of 2021 Profile

Robin Toft
Chairman & Founder of Toft Group Executive Search

Robin Toft, Chairman & Founder of Toft Group Executive Search Most Inspiring WomenLeaders of 2021

“Advancing excellence in life science”

Robin Toft has always been the type of person who believes “ if you set your mind to it, you can do it!” As a cancer survivor fifteen years ago, she resigned from her executive role with a vision for “changing the future of medicine, one relationship at a time.” she realized that women were an under-utilized resource, so she bet her company on them! Today, she knows that next-gen women are the answer to the industry and nationwide talent crisis in Life Sciences and Technology. After interviewing thousands of executives, Robin Toft has discovered that a person's career is rarely a straight path. She stated that her career had three chapters and that she is currently in the fourth. Robin Toft spent the first ten years of her career in a clinical laboratory fundamental job, and the next ten years excelling in sales while improving her relationship-building talents. Then, at the age of 45, she was diagnosed with colon cancer in the ER, a career-defining event. She recognized the internalized stress of her current role as a contributor right away, therefore she resigned from her executive position at the time.

Robin Toft immediately aimed to develop Toft Group Executive Search in order to have a positive impact on how cancer is handled in her life by identifying the greatest women - and men - for the jobs. Toft Group developed quickly from $0 to $10 million in sales before being acquired by ZRG Partners, the world's fastest-growing search agency, in November 2019. The next ten years for Robin Toft will be focused on promoting women in their careers so that the Toft Group can address the talent shortage, bring life-saving products to market faster, and enhance healthcare.

Robin Toft says, Creating a powerful, well-differentiated, beautiful brand with significant consumer value was one of my personal challenges. Unlike the competitive executive search businesses, which were predominantly slow and managed by middle-aged white men, I solely bet on two things: "quick and female." I told my clients that we will supply top female Life Science and Technology employees more quickly than other companies. I hired a mostly female team and instructed them to meet executive women first, which was unheard of at the time. Our common goal was to get referrals by delivering exceptional service with high integrity, two qualities that have been our key sales advantage to this day.

“There’s a struggle for talent in the life sciences. To find and keep the best, you must look in the right places for those who are both a technical and cultural fit, and be diligent about providing career progression. We follow the same rules for our own company.”

Executive Search by Toft Group was a game-changer. Rather than "filling tickets," as is common in the industry, they took the long view and developed long-term connections with top female talent. While others focused on "those who are looking," Toft Group went after "those who aren't": experts in their professions who had no desire to change careers.

Robin also says, There is nothing but opportunity for young women in the Life Sciences and Technology industry today, even if you’re graduating college as a “generalist” today. WE CAN, The Executive Woman’s Guide to Career Advancement is a powerful platform for change. A book that advises where others fear to tread women's indecision and doubt; the need for discipline, for a plan, for a map of one's progression; to practice one's confidence; to create opportunities; to practice self-care. “Building the plane while flying it” if you will. I was the main person running operations, responsible for the top-line revenues to the bottom-line profit, and in parallel trying to find and attract talent and develop them into exceptional search professionals. “Be positive and accept challenges as opportunities. After 20 years in biotech and 10 years with my own search company, I’ve learned to set goals, achieve them, and – most importantly – be happy. Teaching that to executives both women and men is my mission for the rest of my career.” IEWL


Toft Group Executive Search


Robin Toft
Chairman & Founder of Toft Group Executive Search


Toft Group Executive Search is a global retained executive search firm that is 100% dedicated to life sciences and healthcare industries, including biotech, pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostic companies, and digital health.With offices in San Francisco, San Diego and Boston, our client list spans a wide range of local, national and international companies - from venture-backed start-ups to Fortune 500 corporations.

Inspiring Women Leaders Special Magazine