An Executive Search Firm Serving the Nonprofit Community



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, and Robert



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.

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Victoria’s Director of Advancement search resulted in one of the most successful placements I’ve ever seen for this position. The candidate, now Vice President of Advancement, has opened doors not seen before by this agency, increasing fundraised dollars, forging a strong strategic partnership with the CEO and building a strong team for development and marketing.

Working with Victoria was great. She brought us multiple candidates and was highly communicative throughout.

Betsy Pace
Member of the Board
Peninsula Family Service

It is not every day that you come across a professional services firm that goes deeper than the expected. Cook Silverman is that type of firm. Victoria led her team to really look at what combination of talents were needed and desired by the Museum to help us hit the ground running in our fundraising efforts. We are thrilled with our new Deputy Director and Chief Development Officer. The integration of this experienced professional into our organization has enhanced our culture of philanthropy. The process was seamless, thorough, and complete. What was that something extra? The thoughtful conversations and insightful resources that ultimately contribute to making us compassionate and effective leaders.

Linda Harrison
Former Executive Director
Museum of the African Diaspora

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
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

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 Farley, Ed.D.
Chief Executive Officer
Girl Scouts Heart of Central California

Cook Silverman was the exceptional partner Goodwill needed for our recent Vice President of Development search. We could not have strategically recruited for this critical position in our nonprofit social enterprise without Victoria’s capacity to evaluate our short- and long- term business needs. This, coupled with her deep understanding of our mission and culture, resulted in an impressive selection of uniquely qualified candidates.

William Rogers
President and Chief Executive Officer
Goodwill of San Francisco, San Mateo and Marin

You can contract with anyone to hire your next Development professional, but Victoria Silverman is in a class by herself. She not only has experience as a Development Officer, she knows the nuanced, hard to see key traits that make for a great development professional. When you’re interviewed by Victoria you know you’re dealing with someone who truly knows and respects our profession.

Armando Zumaya
Vice President of Development
Goodwill San Francisco San Mateo and Marin

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

I have had the good fortune to work with Victoria and be supported by her guidance, and her own life’s work, in informing my decisions. For years Pamela Cook was one of the leading placement firms for nonprofits, and especially development professionals. Now Victoria has stepped in and brought another perspective to the table, with her own path, focus, and extraordinary success as a fundraiser herself. Together Cook Silverman should be your singular resource for finding the right person at the right time.

James Leventhal
Deputy Director & Chief Development Officer
Museum of the African Diaspora

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
Stirling Associates

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 Ryle, LCSW
Former Chief Executive Officer
Project Open Hand