McCormack+Kristel, the nation’s first diversity focused, openly LGBTQ-owned executive search firm, is currently featured in the prestigious Forbes list of America’s Best Executive Recruiting Firms. This is the first time the venerated search firm has been included in the annual list.

Forbes notes: “Corporate America’s highest levels of leadership have not been untouched by the Great Resignation. When businesses are navigating macroeconomic challenges on a near-monthly basis, placing the right talent is more important than ever before. It was against this backdrop that Forbes partnered with market research company Statista to determine our annual ranking of America’s Best Executive Recruiting Firms—the top 150 firms specialized in filling positions with salaries of at least $100,000.”

Joe McCormack, the trailblazing founder of McCormack+Kristel, also announced that after 29 years, he will retire from the firm this summer. Managing Partner Michelle Kristel will continue to run the firm’s national practice.

“Founding and running our firm has been the most important work of my career,” said Joe McCormack. “During the past 29 years, I have been fortunate to work with outstanding organizations and help them build management teams that reflect the diversity of the communities they serve. I am very proud to have helped so many leaders realize their dreams, and I am fully confident that Michelle and our growing team will take McCormack + Kristel to new levels of success and impact in the decades ahead.”

“Nearly twenty years ago, I first met Joe as a client,” said Michelle Kristel. “I was then and continue to be impressed by his integrity and kind and generous spirit. Throughout his storied career, Joe has positively impacted the clients and organizations we serve. I am honored to carry forward his founding commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and humbled to continue his remarkable legacy.”

In 1993, Joe McCormack opened McCormack & Associates in Los Angeles with a single client, the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). At a time when people living with HIV/AIDS and the LGBTQ community were awakening to activism, McCormack’s groundbreaking announcement was covered by the Associated Press, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

Over the next five years, McCormack & Associates built a practice serving emerging AIDS policy, research, and client service organizations nationally. This included the public health departments of Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York, as well as advocacy organizations in Boston and Washington, DC. McCormack assembled an Advisory Board that included the Publisher of The Advocate, the Chair and Executive Director of AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), and the Executive Director of the Los Angeles LGBT Center, the largest organization of its kind in the world. During this time, growing LGBTQ advocacy and service organizations, initially run by volunteers, also needed professional leadership to sustain their growth and success, and they turned to McCormack & Associates to recruit their CEOs and C-suite executives.

Previously, McCormack had been a Partner with McCormack & Farrow, an Orange County-based retained search practice with clients in the financial services, health care and technology industries. Earlier, McCormack was a search consultant with Arthur Young Executive Resource Consultants, Billington, Fox & Ellis, and Paul R. Ray in New York and Los Angeles.

Michelle Kristel joined McCormack & Associates in 2013 and became a Partner in 2018. Broadening its practice to include social justice and philanthropic organizations, the firm’s clients include the ACLU, AIDS United, Amnesty International, the California Endowment, Compassion & Choices, the Dr. Susan Love Foundation, Just Detention International, the Lili’uokalani Trust, Los Angeles LGBT Center, NRDC, Tides, YWCA and numerous other progressive organizations, as well as colleges and universities including the Claremont Colleges, Kalamazoo College, Roosevelt University, Southern Methodist University, UCLA, and Washington State University.