The Executive Recruitment Industry Was Broken. That is Why Keynote Search Exists.

Our CEO, James Baker speaks on the executive search and recruitment industry and the Keynote Search difference.

The Keynote Search Story

In a market saturated by placement agencies that are focused on completing a hiring transaction, Keynote Search answers the question organizations are really asking: How do we find, fit, retain and achieve the peak performance of exceptional talent? Executive Search and Recruitment alone solves one problem – finding people. It doesn’t solve the bigger challenges of productivity, engagement and performance. That is why we not only find the best candidates but we help them succeed and reach their peak performance through our post-placement integration program to increase productivity and performance through 9 structured sessions in the first 90 days.

Keynote Search was built to address the weaknesses in traditional executive search and recruitment. Co-Founders James and Donna Baker relocated to Ottawa from London, England as part of a team to launch a global recruitment business in Ottawa. After achieving incredible success and spending more than a decade in the industry, they viewed the industry as broken. They were often at odds with the metric driven, non-human approach to the business. Recruitment and the people involved had become commoditized. This simply did not work for the Bakers, and thus Keynote Search was born!

They believe the emphasis should be on the people and this shared ideology is central to how Keynote Search came to be. We are dedicated to humanizing recruitment while enhancing our productivity and effectiveness with technology in order to focus on helping organizations succeed.

Holistic Approach

Keynote provides a holistic solution to talent acquisition and performance with the support mechanism required to accelerate integration, results, development, and retention.

Recruitment Re-engineered

We have re-engineered recruitment with the best processes around post placement support, executive coaching, team dynamics, engagement and development.

Executive Search

Keynote Search provides executive search solutions for small, mid-sized and large companies as well as non-profit organizations and crown corporations.

Celebrating 6 Years of Success!

We are proud to have celebrated our 6 year anniversary in September 2021! Learn more about our executive search and recruitment solutions.

Why Keynote Search?

The Keynote Search difference

Every Organization is Unique with Unique Talent Requirements

The key to finding the right executives on behalf of our clients is to gain alignment with all stakeholders, understand the organization and its values while defining the core aspect of the role. We do not rely on outdated databases. We perform every search project from scratch and unique to the key criteria for the role and organization.

We Think Like Marketers

We take a modern, data-driven approach to finding and recruiting top talent compared to most in our industry. By undertaking an organizational analysis of our clients, conducting market research and multiple stakeholder consultations, we are able to thoroughly understand your business and cultivate compelling marketing strategies to reach qualified candidates. We leverage our expertise to not only market your role in a highly-personalized and targeted fashion, but also utilize effective and appropriate channels to attract qualified candidates.

Post-Placement Support Included with Every Placement.

We have created a collaborative and proprietary Post-Placement Integration Program to support the successful long-term performance of new executives.

Executive Coaching

Through listening, probing and interpretation, our experienced coach will help to provide clarity to the key issues that arise for both your new executive and your organization. By providing a sounding board, issues can be surfaced and a pragmatic approach to solving them is created.

9 Structured Sessions

From pre-start date steps to create alignment, key insights, and expectations through to covering self-awareness, style, strategy alignment, networks and connections, key objectives, early wins, continued alignment, ongoing objectives and follow-ups at 6 and 12 months.

Unique to the Industry

Our work is not done once a successful candidate is chosen. We support all of our executive placements with industry leading practices for quicker integration, accelerated results and meaningful long-term contributions. A structured process with a focus on providing objective support and advice for the successful integration of your new executive.

Meet our Co-Founder Donna Baker

Donna Baker leads our executive search practice and possesses over 15 years of experience in executive search and recruitment, with proven success with C-Suite roles. She has won numerous awards including a Forty Under 40 award and receiving Businesswoman of the Year in 2018 from the Women’s Business Network. Learn more about Donna and her career.

Our Executive Recruitment Team

Our executive search services are executed by our hand-picked and experienced team of industry experts, using industry leading techniques and process. View our team member bios and learn more about their individual experience, roles, and career success.


We are proud to work with some exceptional companies in a wide variety of industries.

It is so easy to get lost in the business, to the point where working on the business is sacrificed. Our experience with Keynote allowed us to achieve our goals without sacrifice. Their professionalism, knowledge and understanding of the market combined with the time taken to understand our objectives, made our expansion seamless. Their process took all of the guess work out of our hands which gave us the ability to move forward efficiently and effortlessly.”

Matt Carr

I was lucky enough to work with the Keynote team on several occasions. I appreciate the work they do and do very well. They find hundreds of potential candidates that can do the job, present the top candidates that they have thoroughly evaluated to fit within our company, and help to onboard and ensure their long-term success. I would strongly recommend using them to find the best person that will succeed.

Andrew Emmans

Keynote took a keen interest in all facets of our organization to ensure they had a grasp on how a potential candidate could provide executive leadership, value and fit within our culture. They went above and beyond to market the opportunity to a targeted group of individuals that they had screened in-depth to ensure that an extremely impressive short-list of candidates was presented for review by the Board’s Executive Search Committee.

Ian Sherman
Chair - Board of Directors - Ottawa Board of Trade