Summative Welcomes Boston’s George Hotter as Advisor

By: Hannah Sears

George HotterSummative welcomed George Hotter as an advisor this month. He was born in New York and has spent the last 20+ years leading human resources and talent acquisition for fast growing technology companies. He has interviewed and hired thousands of candidates around the world and completed more than 50 successful executive placements. I sat down with George and asked him a few questions about himself, his experience in executive recruiting, and what he hopes to deliver to Summative and our clients.

Hannah: Hi George, welcome to team Summative! Why don’t you tell us a little about yourself?

George: I’m a native New Yorker and began my career working at the United Sates Military Academy at West Point.  In the mid-1990s I moved to the high tech mecca of Boston and eventually joined BBN Technologies in Cambridge. BBN was a fascinating company, essentially an R&D “think tank” for the government that helped create what we know now as the Internet.  After GTE acquired BBN, I left and went to a small private venture start up. We hired 500+ people and acquired two European companies in three years.

As with most high flying tech companies at the time, the dot com bubble began to burst. I could see it was “beginning of the end” as market opportunities quickly vanished. I decided to join BBN’s former VP of Sales, Mike Duffy, who had stepped in as CEO at OpenPages.  OpenPages was a mid-sized software company that needed to evolve from a point product into an enterprise solution, and all that entails.  There were many challenges along that journey that gave me valuable insight into the types of executives required to re-launch, scale, and even position a company for exit. Ultimately, we built OpenPages into a valuable business that was acquired by IBM.  Since the acquisition, I’ve played a key role in recruiting global sales, product development, and services talent into IBM’s cloud, security, big data, and analytics businesses.

(While George is too modest to say so, his executive leadership skills were crucial to the successful re-launch of OpenPages. When the bubble burst and their target market evaporated, it was through the hard work of the executive team—including George—that OpenPages was able to identify a new market opportunity that they defined and dominated, until their successful acquisition by IBM.)

Hannah: What brought you to Summative?

George: I’ve worked with Peggy, as her client, for 10+ years. I have always found her focus and ability to hone in on exactly what a company needs, along with her intuition and ability to engage top candidates, to be very effective. I also found the resulting hires to be better “fits” for the organization. Summative truly understands the type of people needed to help companies grow and evolve.

Boxing Gloves shutterstock_248542996Hannah: Summative believes integrity, straightforwardness, and trustworthiness are essential to recruiting competitive executive candidates. What do you think?

George: These values are absolutely critical. There’s a fine line between selling an opportunity as opposed to presenting a compelling one. At the executive level, the risk is high for both candidate and company. If there is a mismatch it’s detrimental to both sides. Building rapport and trust is critical for both the candidate and for the client. You must be candid and trustworthy to convince a candidate to have a conversation about an opportunity or to have a CEO listen to your feedback. To me, it’s all about matching the right candidate with the right opportunity at the right time. For an effective two-way conversation, integrity and honesty are the foundation for a successful relationship.

Hannah: What do you think are the greatest challenges facing fast growing technology companies today in their quest to attract executives that can make a material impact?

George: When you find the right person, everyone needs to move quickly and decisively to get that person on board. It’s not just about process or numbers. It’s about moving fast to drive to closure, shutting out competing opportunities in the process.

Hannah: How would you advise Summative’s clients to address this?

George: It’s all about building trust.  The client needs to trust that they have identified an A+ player and they need to trust themselves to move fast.

Hannah: What’s the most common misconception people have on first meeting you?

George: I can be very intense and focused, but people quickly discover I’m also very open and collaborative. While I want to succeed and achieve my goals, I can also laugh at myself and have fun in the process.

Hannah: What do you like to do for fun?

George: I find work to be fun and engaging. I also have two active teenage sons that keep me busy with school and sports. Between community events, ski trips, 5Ks, and fun with friends and family, I try to spend as much time as I can with my boys. Earlier in my life, I earned a black belt degree in one style of martial arts and a brown belt in another. But, when I started my family, I got away from that. On my 40th birthday, I decided to go into a boxing gym and learn something new. Boxing reinforced the need to be confident, relaxed, and, at the same time, incredibly focused and intense. Family, friends, and boxing keep me grounded.

Hannah: I’m sensing a very competitive theme here—in work and in the things you do for fun. Can you comment on that?

George: People find out how goal oriented I am and how dedicated I am to achieving those goals. I know how to win—recruitment and talent acquisition is about setting and achieving a goal.  You must have the belief, confidence, and competitive drive to be successful. Coupled with my competitive drive is a level of sincerity of truly wanting to help and meet expectations. In the end, I’m here because I care and enjoy putting people into roles in which they will thrive and have an ability to make a material impact on a business.

Hannah: If you could interview one person, who would it be?

George: Stephen Hawking. He’s one of the most interesting minds of our generation. What intrigues me about him is the way he is able to think so differently from you and me. He thinks about things that are beyond normal comprehension, yet has the confidence to devise a theory to solve that problem. Here’s someone with a debilitating disease but never gave up on his quest. I’m fascinated by people who never let anything prevent them from accomplishing their goals.




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