About Us

Based on the Atlantic Coast in Wilmington, North Carolina, Hawthorne Search has been a leading player in the recruitment of leading-edge talent, across multiple industries with a focus on game changing senior leaders.

President, Robert Hawthorne, and his team of practice leaders, recruiters and researchers work with companies paving the way in SaaS, Data & Software talent for the past decade.

EVP, Jill Pantano has led the company’s Retail practice for the last 14 years, partnering closely with Amazon on the roll out of AmazonFashion, Amazon Private Brands and Alexa.

The firm’s core philosophy is “information-based recruiting.” In essence, the firm‘s members immerse themselves in the industries they cover by reading trade publications, e-newsletters, attend conferences, work through social media groups and anything else that enables them to increase their market awareness.

It is only after our team learns everything we can about your company and industry position that we feel comfortable enough to act on your organization’s behalf, reaching out to everyone in the industry in an effort to secure the best available talent for your critical role.

Our Team

Recruiting is competitive. Our team is composed of athletic-minded people who combine high drive and empathy to find the best possible fits for our clients.
Robert Hawthorne
Robert Hawthorne

The client comes first – with over a decade of national and international search experience behind him, these are words that Robert puts into practice on a daily basis. For years, he has worked within several core industry markets, gaining a reputation for helping his clients fill the most difficult of search projects within tight timelines, while offering strategic insights into the employment markets within those industries.

Robert and his team were first onto the scene of local search, working with directories, online search engines, and data publishers who sought to take the search engine experience to the local marketplace. A frequent speaker at conferences on local search, Robert and his team have worked extensively in sales, business development, marketing, e-commerce, and on high level company leadership assignments.

In addition, Robert has worked for over a decade in the travel and travel technology markets working with leading industry suppliers, online technology providers and travel web sites across the globe. Working with information based companies, both online and offline for many years, has provided Robert the confidence of industry difference makers who have no interest in putting their resumes out on public boards. He often works one on one with high level candidates who ensure that HES will provide the privacy and confidentiality they require.

He maintains relationships with key industry thought leaders like The Kelsey Group, Interactive Advertising Bureau, National Business Travel Association, Infocommerce Group, Association of Directory Publishers and Association of Directory Marketing, attending and contributing to notable industry functions.

Robert is a graduate of the University of Florida with a degree in English and also attended Northern Illinois University College of Law. When not working, he can be found competing in tennis, road races, golf, or playing competitive scrabble. He resides in Wilmington, North Carolina with his wife Katharine, daughter Morgan, and son Maxwell.

Katharine Hawthorne

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Katharine Hawthorne

A Clemson University grad, Katharine started her career after college in sales and corporate communications at The Weather Channel. From there she worked for Starz Entertainment/Lionsgate Company leading the point of sale, marketing, and communication strategies for clients in the northeast. Most recently she was a Customer Success Manager at nCino where she managed 20 Financial Institutions. Having worked closely with executive-level contacts at several Fortune 500 and publicly traded companies, Katharine excels at understanding the correlation between building strong, meaningful relationships with clients and finding candidates with the right skillsets that align with company goals and strategies.

Cathy Bagley
Cathy Bagley

Experience, integrity, and professionalism. That is what you will get when working with Cathy. She brings over 20 years of experience recruiting top talent for clients that range from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. By understanding her client’s skillset needs, she also strives to understand the corporate culture to make the best fit possible. Prior to joining Hawthorne Search, she had her own recruiting practice. Cathy currently works with clients in the SaaS, Digital Marketing, and Agency verticals, and has placed candidates in roles ranging from Sales to C-Suite.

Her attention to detail, reliability, and entrepreneurial spirit is a tribute to her success.

A comment made by a candidate who then turned into a client was: ‘…can strongly recommend Cathy to source top talent for you and your business! Very professional and structured approach for both candidate and hiring partner.’

In her downtime she enjoys boating, traveling, and working out. She earned her B.S. degree in English and Management at Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C. She was raised in Gainesville, Florida, and is an avid Florida Gators fan!

Matt Derry


Matt Derry

Matt Derry has over 6 years of recruiting experience focused on sourcing top-quality candidates for hard-to-fill niche roles across various industries. Matt graduated from college with an accounting degree and after spending 10 years working in public accounting he began his recruiting career focusing primarily on the accounting and finance industries before joining Hawthorne search where he has broadened his knowledge of various other industries.

He has led searches for Fortune500 companies, and high-growth SaaS startup technology companies, as well as placed key members within the private equity space.

Tina Kahler
Tina Kahler
Tina Kahler

Tina Kahler is a Recruitment Specialist with over 25 years of experience in intense recruiting efforts across numerous industries. Tina’s recruiting expertise includes Corporate, Technical, Agency, Sales, Management, and C-level placements. Tina’s knowledge of targeting an area’s market and employee base makes her invaluable in the recruiting industry. Tina has prior experience in the advertising and public relations field, both in national and international markets. Tina’s strong and diverse background, and personal and professional abilities aid her in strong talent connections and exceeding client expectations.

Tina graduated from Western Illinois University with a B.A. in Communications, Arts & Sciences, and a double minor in Journalism and Dance. Originally from Greece, Tina enjoys the beach, travel, dancing, time with her family, and makes a mean Moussaka!

Scott Fitzgerald

Hawthorne - Scott Fitzgerald

Scott Fitzgerald

As a trusted advisor in business strategy and growth, Scott has extensive experience working with companies across a variety of industries, including technology, finance, healthcare, and manufacturing. Scott specializes in helping businesses achieve their long-term goals through comprehensive planning, effective execution, and ongoing support. His approach is rooted in building strong relationships with clients, understanding their unique challenges, and developing customized solutions that deliver measurable results.

Over the years, Scott has helped numerous global organizations improve their performance, streamline operations, and increase profitability. Whether it’s launching new products, expanding into new markets, or implementing technology solutions, Scott has a proven track record of delivering successful outcomes. Scott believes in taking a collaborative approach, working closely with clients to understand their needs and goals, and leveraging his expertise to help them achieve sustainable growth.

Scott’s passion for helping businesses succeed is matched by his commitment to building lasting relationships. Scott takes pride in the trust and confidence that his clients have placed in him, and he is dedicated to supporting their ongoing success. Whether you’re a small start-up or a large enterprise, Scott’s here to help you navigate the complex landscape of business growth and achieve your long-term objectives. 

Penny Lobred

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Penny Lobred

Penny is detail-focused and has extensive experience in project management, operations, and relationship management.  As a Certified Life Coach, Penny helps her clients discover how they find the intersection of their personal values and career objectives.  This knowledge, coupled with her background on the client side, makes her a valuable asset to any team and gives her great perspective for top talent and the organizations in need of more of it.

Her background includes progressive management roles within the financial services and software industries.

 She is passionate about volunteering in her community and enjoys spending her downtime with her husband and family, walking her dog on the beach, and cheering on her Auburn Tigers!

Hawthorne Executive Search maintains a 90% success rate on retained searches and an 80% success rate on exclusive contingency search by doing the following.
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