Interview with Halo Top President and COO Doug Bouton (COL ’07)

What has been the most rewarding moment of your career?

If I had to choose, I think the fact that we employee more than 100 people right now. It’s very rewarding to create great jobs for great people.

What do you wish you had done earlier in your career?

Unfortunately, my “career” has largely been Halo Top so not sure I would’ve done anything differently. I went to law school out of college and practiced law for a year or so before Halo Top. My legal background helped tremendously with the founding of and raising money for Halo Top so can’t say I even regret that aspect of my short career.

What trends do you see in your profession or industry?

There are plenty of trends in the food industry. When Halo Top started, it was in the middle of the healthy eating trend that continues to this day, which Greek yogurt largely spearheaded. In that sense, we’ve been fortunate to have the right product, right time – aligning with food/beverage trends like low-calorie, high-protein, and low-sugar. As far other trends, non-dairy/vegan is a big one that will last for a long time. I suspect things like gluten-free are more fad than trend and will pass but time will tell.

What is the hardest thing you have ever done professionally? 

The first few years of Halo Top were really tough, really stressful. I would’ve been easy for my business partner and me to give up. Persevering through those 3-4 years, in hindsight, was probably the hardest thing that I’ve done professionally. I’m also most proud of what we’ve done and what we’ve accomplished because I know personally just how hard and precarious it was. We could just as easily not be here today, Halo Top wouldn’t exist, and I would be personally bankrupt if we didn’t catch a bunch of lucky breaks and keep on keeping on.

What is the best career advice you have ever received? 

If you’re not happy, stop talking about it and make a change.

How has Georgetown shaped you?

Georgetown has shaped me in more ways than I can count. I think the two most important ways in which it shaped me are:

  1. critical thinking (especially as it relates to self-reflection)
  2. holistic education

Georgetown was the first time that I was really challenged to critically think about all of my beliefs and opinions, and the importance of critical thinking – in business and in life – cannot be understated in my opinion. Georgetown also emphasized the importance of a holistic education – focusing on activities, relationships, and social education beyond the classroom.

What was your favorite professor or class at Georgetown?

Professor McKeown – Problem of God

What is your favorite Georgetown memory?

House parties, Georgetown Day activities, 2007 Final 4 trip to Atlanta, pretty much all of my theology classes. Too many to count.

Who is a source of inspiration and strength to you in your life and why?

The easy answer is my parents. The values they taught me, the work ethic they instilled in me, and the love and support they have given me are the main reason why I am who I am and have accomplished what I have accomplished.

What is on your desk right now?

Papers, clutter, and more crap than I care to admit.

Who is your favorite author? 

Don’t really have one. I read anything – biographies and other non-fiction, fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, etc. Literally anything.

What are your words to live by?

Pick just about any Drake lyric.

Put Away the Phone. Leave Your Office and Start Meeting the People Who Do the Work. 

Guest Post by: John Keyser ( C’59)

This is an article recently published by TNLT, which circulates worthy articles relating to talent development and human resources. TNLT and its editor, John Zappe, are important resources for its industry and are sources of ongoing worthy information.

Realize that as leaders, we are signal senders. What signal does it send to our people when we stay on the executive floor or wing or are regularly behind closed doors or glued to our smartphones?

We must realize that when we are constantly caught up with meetings and focused on our computers and smartphones, we are leaving little or no time to be with our people, the people doing the work of our compa­nies. We are sending the signal that we do not feel they are particularly important to us.

Sue Mahanor, when she began with Berkley Life Sciences, heading up their East Coast operations, was to be in the company’s New Jersey office several days a week. Private offices were at a premium, so Sue immediately asked that she just be given a cubicle near her team members. This was perfect for Sue as she believes in the benefit of taking yourself down a peg. And she said the interaction and learning among she and her team members has been invaluable.

Sue is also a believer in taking time daily to step back, breathe deeply, and reflect. She, like most of us, could spend all day responding to emails. But we are so much better if we can find that peace of mind, rather than be focused on checking off tasks, to think about where we want our business to go and how we can best help make that happen. Let’s realize that our people are also our clients — our internal clients! We must focus on the people doing the work of our companies and producing our results!

Highly effective leaders genuinely care about their people, their ideas, and their success, and they let their people know that they care. They are present — with them!

Our leadership presence, how we are perceived and received by others, is founded on our attitude and our character — even how we act when no one is watching. It’s about our positive energy, being there for others and helping them, and being a giver. It’s about being genuine and comfortable in our own skin. Keeping our composure, remaining calm, letting our team members, all of them, sense that we have confi­dence in them as well as ourselves — this is leadership presence.

Let’s always send the signal, “When we do our best together, we will all succeed.”

The best way to be present is in conversation. How do we make time for more conversations? Here are some suggestions:

Meetings — Attend only the meetings in which our attendance is essential. Improve the efficiency of meetings. Set objectives and an agenda. Get those to our attendees well in advance, and manage the time of the meetings. Ask those in these meetings how we can have fewer and more efficient meetings. They will know, especially if they realize we are serious in our inquiry.

Productivity — Delegate work and responsibilities that we do not have to do per­sonally, which gives others opportunities to learn and grow and frees up our time to speak with our people. Get help designing a customized productivity improvement plan for our emails, based on our personal schedules, energy flow, and preferences.

Listen — Realize that the most effective open door policy is getting out of our offices and walking the halls for at least some time every day.  Make conversations a top priority, especially one-on-one conversations. Listen patiently, wanting to understand and learn from everyone. Realize that the best ideas are bottom-up ideas.

Appreciation — Appreciate that leadership is how we help people feel about themselves. We must recognize that the bulk of the work of the company is being done outside the executive wing, on the other floors, and not by the CEO and other senior people.

When you get out of meetings and start walking around, talking to people, will you know how? Here are some things to ask:

  • How are you doing?
  • What are you hearing from our clients?
  • What improvements could be made in our business?
  • How can I help you?
  • What do you think should be our priorities?
  • What advice do you have for me?

They will appreciate our asking for their ideas. People want to feel heard and that their ideas matter to us. We’ll gain a wealth of valuable insight.

Another call to action is to think about our purpose in business, for all of us, whether CEOs, other senior executives, or up-and-comers. Let’s recognize that we should, above all, be a great teammate — and let’s think about what that looks like. It surely means being present, as it does genuinely caring about and helping others learn, grow, and succeed.

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Georgetown’s Connection Platform Launches Alumni Networking

Guest Post by: Matt Kelly (C’08, MBA’17), Associate Director, Alumni Career Services

Since its founding in 2013, Hoya Gateway has been a program committed to building powerful networking connections among Hoyas.  The program, managed through Alumni Career Services, has primarily focused on students connecting with alumni through an online platform.  To date, over 4,300 connections have been initiated on this platform, making it the premier place for students to go to network with Georgetown alumni.  This success is directly attributable to the dedication of alumni volunteers, who created profiles on the platform and committed to being responsive and generous with their time and expertise.

The program has recently taken the next step in its mission to serve the Georgetown community by launching “Alumni-to-Alumni” networking.  This means that the dedicated alumni volunteers on the online platform now have the ability to find and reach out to each other! So what does this mean for the program?  And what can alumni expect to see on the platform itself?

Commitment to Engagement

We’ve all had the experience of reaching out to someone and never hearing back from that person.  Whether it was a phone call, email, or even LinkedIn message; it can be incredibly disheartening not to hear back.  From the start, Hoya Gateway has stood out to Georgetown students because of the dedication of the alumni on the system.  A student using the Hoya Gateway platform is 40% more likely to hear back from an alumnus/a than if that student reached out through LinkedIn’s InMail.

Now that we’ve added the capability for alumni to reach out to each other, we will continue to strive to make sure that responsiveness and engagement are the hallmarks of the program.  From new Privacy and Availability features to text message notifications so you never miss a message; the platform is set up to build a robust community of Hoyas helping Hoyas!

Providing Recommendations

When we originally built the Hoya Gateway platform, we asked students about what would be most helpful in a platform.  One of the top things we heard was that students were having a hard time combing through databases and directories to find someone who was of interest to them.  To help them find someone who matches their interests, we created a “Recommended For You” section on the Hoya Gateway platform. By taking a short quiz, students can be presented with three alumni volunteers that would be ideal professionals to network with.  Of course, the student can also choose to browse all our volunteers whenever they like.

As we have launched alumni networking, we have also incorporated this “Recommended For You” section into the functionality.  Whether you are looking for a career change, thinking about going back to school, or simply interested in connecting with other Hoyas; we hope you find this feature useful!

Want to Join?

With Hoya Gateway’s expansion, we hope to provide even more value to the Georgetown community while maintaining the core of what makes the program so successful.  Interested in learning more and joining our community? Visit to get started.  Creating a profile takes 5 minutes!  Once on the page, be sure to check out the “Resources” section for walk through videos on everything from setting your Privacy to completing an updated profile.

Feel free to reach out to with any questions!


The Number One Thing You Need to Get Started on Becoming Part-Time Entrepreneur

Guest Post by: Patrick J. McGinnis, a venture capitalist and private equity investor who founded Dirigo Advisors, after a decade on Wall Street, to provide strategic advice to investors, entrepreneurs, and fast-growing businesses. He is the author of the new book THE 10% ENTREPRENEUR: Live Your Startup Dream Without Quitting Your Day Job.

In less than a generation, two clear and unrelenting trends have transformed the workplace.

First, traditional careers have lost a lot of their luster. Corporate roles are notoriously less reliable and less lucrative than they were in the past. Even once highly prestigious paths like law, finance, and medicine, have lost their appeal thanks to falling pay, layoffs, and an unwillingness by many companies and industries to change with the times.

Second, even as many traditional careers and companies remain stuck in the past, transformational change is afoot when it comes to how we work and live. In less than a generation, our society has been transformed by technology – it is now deeply woven into the fabric of our personal and professional lives. As such, it is ubiquitous, it is cheap, and it is only getting cheaper.

When you’re carrying around a smartphone, it’s almost too easy to forget the considerable investment you needed to make to run your own business just ten years ago. Building a website represented a considerable investment and telecommunications were expensive. Now, thanks to companies like Squarespace, Skype, and Google, you can basically put yourself in business with an investment of a few hours and a few dollars. The basic infrastructure you to get going, from email to storage in the cloud, is basically free. Once you’re up and running, you can then promote a business with a very minimal investment thanks to social media.

The falling price of technology, coupled with widespread connectivity is a game changer for anyone who has dreamed of doing something entrepreneurial. It’s never been cheaper and easier to start and manage a business, technology focused or otherwise. You need little more than a laptop, an Internet connection, and a smartphone to run the day-to-day operations of a small business. You also probably need very little money or to hire full-time employees to get started. Most importantly you don’t need to punch a clock from 9 to 5. You can make the rules, working when you’re like and from wherever you’d like.

You Can Become an Entrepreneur on Your Own Terms

The decline in the price of starting businesses, coupled with the falling appeal of traditional careers means that a growing number of professionals are opting to become part-time entrepreneurs. Rather than shouldering the considerable risks of leaving their jobs to launch new ventures, they enjoy the best of both worlds. They can try new ideas and perhaps even fail, but they do so without jeopardizing all of the rewards that have come with years of success and hard work in their careers. By spending at least 10% of their time, and if possible their money, working on new ventures, either as an investor, an advisor, or a founder, they can build lasting value – and diversification – for themselves. They are 10% Entrepreneurs.

It comes down to a change in mindset. Full-time entrepreneurship is a terrific path for some, but it’s not obligatory. If you’re looking to pick up skills that will help you at your day job or even put you on a path to the next step in your career, there’s another option. Why not take a more sustainable path by integrating entrepreneurial opportunities into your current career? It’s a simple, yet somewhat radical idea: you don’t have to be an entrepreneur, but you can be entrepreneurial.


This new mind-set is based on a completely new set of rules: just because you work at an established company and receive a steady pay check doesn’t mean that you cannot join the ranks of the innovators and the disruptors. As a 10% Entrepreneur, you will search out and engage with projects, drawing on all of the skills and relationships you have built over the course of your educational and professional lives. By leveraging your base of experience and your network, you will develop new skills. Plus, you will be the owner of everything you create, no matter what happens in your day job.

10% Entrepreneurship is All About Mindset

If you’ve never really viewed yourself as an entrepreneur – even a part-time entrepreneur – changing your mindset can take time. When I meet people who are looking for more in the careers, whether in the form of diversification, upside, or satisfaction, I’m often surprised at how quickly they discard the idea of integrating part-time ventures into their lives. Their reasons are remarkably uniform: “I’m too busy,” or “I don’t have any good ideas,” or even “I’m afraid.”

One of the hardest things about exploring new ventures is the temptation to feel outgunned. You might ask yourself why should you, of all people, think that you can start something new if you’ve never done it before. Sure, you’ve got experience and relationships, but it’s natural to feel a little (or a lot) intimidated. when you’re putting yourself out there rather than representing a corporate brand on a business card. As a 10% Entrepreneur, you will need to put yourself out there. You will constantly be pitching to people, telling them what you can bring to the table, seeking to establish credibility based on your past experiences, your relationships, and your vision. It can be intimidating or even downright scary.

I get it. When I took part in my first few projects as a 10% Entrepreneur, I felt like I was walking around in a dark room in search of a light switch. Now 5 years and 20 projects later, I have built a valuable portfolio of investments in startups, real estate, and even a theater production in London. Each endeavor brings new experiences and challenges that assure me that I’m on the right path.

As little as a decade ago, there were plenty of other barriers to worry about if you wanted to start a new venture, but in their absence, mindset is now, in a fundamental sense, the new constraint to entrepreneurship. The challenge today is to to have the courage build something that is sustainable and that will create value, both financial and personal, over the course of your career. So if you’re convinced that part-time entrepreneurship is for you, remember that it’s mindset that will take you you from daydream to action. Also, remember that you really have very little to lose – when you are investing just 10% of your time and capital, what’s the worst that can happen? Even if you fail, you’ll have learned something. And when you succeed, you’ll see the world from a new and far more entrepreneurial perspective.