San Diego’s Connect Begins Search for New Innovation Leader

Xconomy San Diego — 

Connect, the San Diego nonprofit supporting local innovation and entrepreneurship, has hired an executive search firm to help the organization recruit a new leader following the death of Connect CEO Duane Roth.

Roth, who led Connect for nearly nine years, suffered a traumatic head injury in a July 21 bicycling accident in the mountains east of San Diego. He was hospitalized at the UC San Diego Medical Center in Hillcrest, but never recovered from his injuries. He died Aug. 3. He was 63.

In a statement Friday, Connect said it has hired Carrie Stone, a San Diego executive recruiter and consultant, to help recruit an experienced and visionary CEO and to help chart Connect’s next phase of growth and community contribution.

Stone actually has been on the job for the past six weeks or so, according to Tyler Orion, a Connect board member who has been serving as Connect’s interim CEO. Stone has spent much of that time developing a list of specifications that define the job, “by meeting with the search committee and a lot of the stakeholders who are involved with Connect,” Orion said.

At the same time, Orion voiced sentiments that were recently expressed by Duane Roth’s brother Ted, an investment banker and Connect board member. “We’re really not looking for someone to replace Duane,” she said. “We’re looking for the next leader of Connect.”

Connect’s CEO oversees a staff of 19 and is responsible for carrying out the nonprofit’s mission and financial objectives. The CEO is responsible for leading Connect’s strategic planning process, and developing an annual operating plan to advance San Diego’s entrepreneur-driven innovation economy while keeping the nonprofit in good financial health.

In the statement from Connect, chairman Paul Laikind said, “With a strong foundation and legacy in place, the next-generation leader has an opportunity to make a significant impact in the San Diego economy and community.”

The criteria Connect is seeking in its next leader include:

—A track record of at least 10 to 15 years showing progressive entrepreneurial leadership in the high tech or life science industries with verifiable funding and business success.

—Experience as a life science or high tech CEO, COO, or general manager is highly desirable.

—Highly self-motivated, proactive leader with strong influence, advocacy, persuasion and negotiation skills.

—Proven success as a fund-raiser and “Chief Sales Officer.”

—Exceptional leadership skills working collaboratively with internal and external stakeholders, partners, boards, and teams, effectively communicating opportunities and strategies; obtaining input and consensus; assessment and implementation of new business and partner relationships.

—Experience, networks, and a full comprehension of the ecosystem surrounding early stage company formation.

“We’re encouraging our board and our business members to reach out to people and send them our way if they might be interested,” Orion said. “We’re looking for somebody very special.”

For the time being, Orion said Connect plans to look first in the greater San Diego region. “If we can’t find somebody in a reasonable amount of time, then we might expand our search beyond San Diego.”

Qualified candidates are encouraged to contact Melissa Garchie at 858-964-1300 or


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One response to “San Diego’s Connect Begins Search for New Innovation Leader”

  1. Bernadette Bach says:

    Connects board has chosen a highly experienced C level recruiter who understands the unique needs of an organization like Connect. I am confident Carrie Stone will find the ideal candidate to carry out Duane Roth and the boards vision for Connect.