Elinvar is an Executive Search and Leadership Development firm located in the historic Caveness house in Raleigh, NC. Our focus is working with the boards of organizations that are focused on community development with three primary areas of expertise - economic development, education and health.

The clients we serve include foundations, nonprofits, higher education institutions, professional associations, and closely held businesses located in North Carolina and the Southeast.

Leadership Solutions

Elinvar's Integrated Leadership Solutions address the full range of leadership challenges that organizations face as they grow and adapt to rapidly changing conditions. Elinvar's approach to search includes support for the entire leadership transition. The outcomes of our work can be seen in the transformations that occur and the resulting amplification of the impact our clients are achieving.

Diversity, equity and Inclusion

Our search process is designed to uncover existing diverse candidates in any talent pool. In addition to looking for diverse candidates with traditional backgrounds, we also identify candidates with relevant, transferable experience. Because we are actively engaged in networks and organizations that represent diverse groups, we are able to connect with our candidates in an authentic and effective manner.

Our results speak for themselves. All of our clients have highly qualified diverse candidates to interview and consider. More importantly, 33% of our placements are leaders who are people of color or from the LGBTQ community. When female placements are included in this calculation our diverse placement percent is 76%,

30+ YEARS in Business

Elinvar celebrated our 30th anniversary of recruiting leaders for mission critical executive and senior leadership positions in 2017. We are excited to continue our work 2018 and are proud of the impact the leaders our clients have hired are having on North Carolina and our communities.

For the last ten years we have also provided highly credentialed experts in leadership coaching and organizational development to boards and leaders in their organizations.

Featured Leadership Opportunities

Elinvar has been retained for the below search and we invite you to click on the link to go to the full position description and instructions for applying.

Freedom School Partners, Charlotte, NC,
Executive Director Search has launched! Please follow the below link for details:



“Our mission is simple — to change the world by accelerating the progress of mission driven leaders and organizations.”
— Elinvar

What We Do

Elinvar works with each client to provide the appropriate leadership solution to their organization. Our Executive Search services include Retained Search as well as select components of the retained search process that augment the internal resources of your organization.

Our leadership development practice provides support for Boards and for individual leaders. Board retreats, strategic planning, board development, succession planning, executive coaching and support for new leaders are all available through Elinvar.

Why We do it

Like our clients, we care deeply about making a positive difference through our work. We know the profound difference effective leaders make in the organizations they lead and the communities they serve because we have had the privilege of witnessing their accomplishments first hand.    

The boards and senior executives that engage Elinvar are courageous leaders who share our impatience to have impact and create sustainable change for the people they serve. Direct service, advocacy, funding and educating missions are all important. Building a for profit business that balances the needs of employees with the needs of customers and shareholders requires a special kind of leader. The right leader at the right time is the ingredient that creates the transformation for which all sectors are yearning.

How we serve you

No two organizations are alike; however, there are commonalities in our clients that have informed our approach to serving you. As experts in leadership, Elinvar brings an appreciation for the complexities that your organization is navigating and the many different people who may be impacted by our work with you.

With this holistic approach to our work together - either in finding a new leader, preparing for a leadership transition, or developing your board - Elinvar anticipates the unexpected and is prepared to help you through any challenges that present themselves during our work together. We have a team based service approach that is unique in our industry and embraced by Elinvar clients because we leverage all of our experience to create effective solutions.

Elinvar clients are committed to hiring leaders that reflect the diversity of the people they serve. We have purposefully and proactively developed a robust network of relationships and a deliberate process that results in slates of highly qualified diverse candidates and placements.

“I am a true believer in Elinvar’s process - the team creates a positive space for organizations to find the best people and for individuals to find the right fit.”
— Kristy Teskey, former President, John M. Belk Endowment

Our Services

Elinvar’s service offerings have been thoughtfully developed based on what we have learned is effective and impactful.

The span of our offerings is designed to give you one organization that, as your trusted advisor, has a solution for any leadership need.



Retained Search

An unrivaled track record of success in working with search committees, boards and senior leaders to successfully identify their next leader is why you were referred to Elinvar.

We know that because a leader is successful leading in one organization does not mean automatic success in leading yours.

Our approach to retained search is to spend enough time with you to learn your culture and expectations of the next leader and to develop the trusting relationship needed to effectively partner during the leadership transition.

We begin with an in-depth review of the organization to learn all that we can about what the next leader will encounter when they step into their new leadership role.

We work with you to help clarify and create a clear agreement as to what is desired in the new leader. Elinvar represents each client in an accurate and professional manner with sensitivity toward staff, funders and other stakeholders that are vital to you during a leadership transition.

We leverage the specific experiences and diverse talents of every Elinvar team member. This approach creates amazing results for our clients and a great experience for every candidate we meet.

We work to make the process as smooth and time efficient as possible for you. In addition, we:

  • Leverage your network with ours;
  • Provide a transparent process for you;
  • Protect the confidentiality of candidates;
  • Provide a transition service that begins before the launch of the search and continues through the assimilation of the new leader.

Please contact us at 919-622-5141 or patti@elinvar.com to learn more about how we can work together.  

“We now have an excellent Executive Director, due in large part to Elinvar’s efforts.”
— Dan Gerlach, Golden Leaf Foundation & NCNG Board Member

CEO Selection Options

Not all organizations need a full search or have the budget to support one. For that reason, Elinvar has developed a menu of services that our clients find valuable when selecting a new leader.

For smaller nonprofits or critical positions reporting to the CEO, Elinvar clients find that engaging us for specific parts of our search process is a beneficial approach to leveraging our expertise, working with a smaller budget and assuring them of making a great hiring decision.

We can be engaged to help in the following areas:

  • Transition Support
  • Job Benchmarking
  • New Leader Selection
  • New Leader Assimilation
  • Candidate Evaluation

Every engagement is designed based on the specific needs of your organization.

Please contact us at 919-622-5141 or patti@elinvar.com to learn more about how we can work together.  


Board Development

The boards of philanthropic organizations are under immense pressure. CEO turnover is accelerating, funding models are changing, and society’s needs are mounting. With that in mind, Elinvar’s work with over 50 nonprofit and foundation boards has informed the services we provide.

Elinvar embraces a collaborative approach by combining our facilitation skills and expertise with the great knowledge possessed by the board members of our client organizations. Our work together includes:

  • Board development & succession planning
  • CEO succession planning
  • Board retreat facilitation
  • Board governance
  • Board performance
  • CEO performance
  • Organization assessment
  • Strategic planning

Please contact us at 919-622-5141 or patti@elinvar.com to learn more about how we can work together.  

“Elinvar is in a unique position to advise on critical issues nonprofit board members face. Elinvar provided our attorneys serving on area boards with key insights and strategies for improving board effectiveness.”
— Anne Croteau, Partner, McGuire Woods Law Firm

Leadership Development

Leadership is a subject that has been studied for centuries and there are many definitions of what successful leadership looks like. At Elinvar, we believe that effective leaders achieve results and have enthusiastic followers.

Elinvar has assembled a cohort of the best executive coaches, organization consultants and trainers in the Triangle area to form our Alliance Partners. We work with our clients to determine the best fit for their project, provide options for executive coach selection, and manage the entire process. 

Examples of our work in this area include:

  • Executive coaching
  • Team effectiveness
  • Leadership retreats
  • Conflict resolution
  • Executive team alignment
  • New leader assimilation
  • Diversity Training
  • Presentation skills

Please contact us at 919-622-5141 or patti@elinvar.com to learn more about how we can work together.  


“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. For indeed, that’s all who ever have.”
— Margaret Meade

Our Team


As Elinvar's leader since 1995, Patti has built the Elinvar organization around her belief that great results stem from effective leadership and great leadership happens when leaders are working in an environment that supports them. "It is with exceptional leaders at the helm that organizations are able to create value for all of their stakeholders."

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Gerri Williams, Strategic Search Partner

We are excited to bring Gerri’s accomplishments, extensive network, and strategic approach to Elinvar clients in our nonprofit and education practice areas. When Gerri is part of the Elinvar search project, her experience as a past Elinvar candidate also informs and enhances her ability to bring passive candidates into the process.

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Kelley O’Brien,
Strategic Search Partner

Kelley’s broad range of experience in the nonprofit sector, combined with her leadership achievements in higher education, make her a versatile and invaluable asset to Elinvar’s clients. Kelley has never met a stranger! This attribute enables her to identify and attract top candidates for our clients.

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Michael Horswell, Strategic Advisor

As Elinvar’s Strategic Advisor, Michael’s experience in higher education administration brings key insights and helpful contacts to enhance Elinvar’s work in identifying great leaders for our College and University searches.


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Margaret VanDeCar, Business Manager & Researcher

Margaret brings her passion for making the world a better place to every aspect of her work at Elinvar. Our clients and candidates appreciate her warm greeting and sincere efforts to make them feel at home when they come to our office. This is just a small part of her job as she keeps the wheels turning behind the scenes and there is nothing she can't do to help us better serve our clients.

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Elinvar Alliance Partners

Our Alliance Partners include top executive coaches and organization development professionals who possess advanced education, certifications, training, business experience, and a minimum of 10 years of executive coaching or consulting experience. Our Alliance Partners are based in North Carolina and we look forward to introducing you to the consultant that is best suited for your specific need. 

Alliance Partner Directory



Contact Us

Call us at 919-622-5141 or send an email to patti@elinvar.com.  

We look forward to hearing from you.

Click Here to see a map of our location.


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