Ivy Advisors is a specialized retained search firm dedicated to connecting physicians and scientists with roles in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.  Ivy Advisors provides exclusive executive search services to pharma/biotech clients seeking M.D.s, Ph.D.s and other highly skilled executives for critical positions in research, clinical development, clinical operations, medical affairs, regulatory affairs, technical operations, safety, quality and other R&D functions core to the biopharmaceutical industry.


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Our Story

Since 2004, founder Kara Coluccio Bern has been recruiting medical, scientific and technical executives to some of the premier biotech and biopharmaceutical companies in the world.  She has successfully recruited countless senior executives to leadership roles across functions including CMOs, CSOs, pre-clinical, translational and clinical research, clinical operations, technical operations, medical affairs, regulatory affairs, non-clinical research and pharmacology, safety, quality and business development.  Kara brings an affinity for the unique considerations in recruiting people with the highly coveted and specific training and skills that drive the innovation and success of the drug development industry today.  

Since forming Ivy Advisors in 2013, Kara has built a robust, retained executive search practice based on a loyal, repeat client base and word-of-mouth referrals.  Kara is proud to have taken part in multiple recruitments and team building for repeat clients.  Kara embeds into a client’s culture and becomes fluent in communicating its unique scientific, clinical and corporate strategy to prospective candidates.  As a result, she has become a trusted advisor to CEOs, Boards of Directors and other executive hiring managers. 

As an independent recruiter with contract research support, Kara moves quickly and nimbly to find the right candidate for each client.  She screens all candidates personally, without the bureaucracy or leveraged models of larger firms.   Kara runs efficient and organized processes – she has trained at some of the life sciences industry’s most well-regarded boutique and white-glove search firms.  Prior to founding Ivy Advisors, Kara spent nine years in executive search with Russell Reynolds Associates and Catalyst Advisors, respectively, always focused on the life sciences industry. 

Kara takes a science-centric approach to recruiting.  She learns each client's scientific points of differentiation and can put this into current and historical context in the life sciences market to explain roles to candidates.  This specialized approach enables her to meet clients’ and candidates’ high expectations for matching rarified talent with specific roles in this highly specialized industry.  Additionally, Kara has been recognized as a top performer.  At Russell Reynolds Associates, Kara was the only recruiter worldwide promoted twice in one promotion cycle, while also being selected to lead the firm’s cross-industry research group for the firm’s largest office, New York/Stanford. 

Kara's previous professional experience includes healthcare public relations with Porter Novelli in New York, where she supported U.S. and global accounts for Amgen/Wyeth (ENBREL®) and Merck/Schering Plough (VYTORIN®).  Prior to that, Kara was with the Washington, D.C.-based health policy think tank AcademyHealth, managing a multi-million dollar Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grant portfolio to rural health networks and developed health policy seminars as a contractor to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Kara has also worked with the PhRMA’s International Affairs division, Harvard Pilgrim Health Care's Ethics Advisory Board, Tufts Health Plan's Government Affairs division and Brigham and Women's Hospital's Marketing and Planning Department.

Kara received her B.A., cum laude, in the History and Sociology of Science from the University of Pennsylvania and her M.B.E., Master's in Bioethics, from the University of Pennsylvania Medical School.