Keynote Group Celebrates 4 Years of Success!

Keynote Group Celebrates 4 Years of Success!

Keynote Group is proud to be celebrating our 4 year anniversary this September. It has been an exciting and rewarding journey for Co-founders Donna and James Baker.

The Story of Keynote: 4 Years in the Making

The Beginning

James and Donna Baker embarked on an entrepreneurial journey in September of 2015 after previously leaving their roles with other firms in the executive search and recruitment industry.

Originally from England, James and Donna relocated to Canada in 2006 as part of a team to launch a global recruitment business in Ottawa. After spending more than a decade in the industry, they decided to found Keynote Group as a solution to what they saw as a broken recruitment industry.

Keynote Group was built to address the weaknesses in the traditional executive search and recruitment process. The Bakers believed that the recruitment industry as a whole and the people involved had become commoditized. The ideology of putting the emphasis back on the people is central to how the business came to be.

“We are dedicated to humanizing recruitment while enhancing our productivity and effectiveness with leading-edge technology in order to focus on helping organizations succeed.” - Donna Baker, Co-Founder & Managing Partner.

Fun Facts

Why the Name Keynote Group?

We wanted to put a focus on the absolute best people and enabling businesses to succeed because of their people. When you look at a room of experts, there is one person they all turn to for thought leadership, the Keynote.

Why the Colour Orange?

Orange combines the energy of red and the happiness of yellow. It represents enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation. Orange is symbolic of strength and endurance. Everything we want to be as a company and it also embodies what we want to find in candidates that we place on behalf of our clients - strong employees that endure a long tenure.

Our 5 F'ing Values

Our company has been built and continues to live by 5 values. Fun, Fair, Flexible, Focused & Fierce. When we make decisions as a company we always ensure that the decision we come to fits with our 5 f*ing values. We strive to better ourselves and our clients everyday.

The Keynote Companies

Keynote Search

Keynote Search is our flagship service that offers executive search solutions. KS finds more people that you are looking for, screens them more effectively and supports their success with dedicated executive coaching. Our executive search solutions are also backed by an industry-leading 12 month success guarantee.

Keynote Recruiter

Keynote Recruiter is our flexible on-demand hourly recruitment service. KR provides recruitment process outsourcing that scales with growth, available on-demand and customized to suit any businesses needs. Scalable and affordable hourly recruitment services.


KAIT is an automated onboarding tool that is backed by artificial intelligence to ensure complete alignment between new hires and their managers. KAIT collects data during the onboarding process and is designed to identify gaps and trends over time in communication, trust, training, and engagement to ensure a smoother transition for new employees as well as a better onboarding experience for the hiring manager.

Awards & Milestones


  • Keynote Group is co-founded by James & Donna Baker and launched in September 2015
  • First engagement was a Senior Resource at Tweed, Canopy Growth Corp



  • Keynote opens its first office at Workaway at Lady Ellen Place in Ottawa, Ontario
  • James Baker recognized as “Young Entrepreneur of the Year” from the West Ottawa Board of Trade Excellence Awards
  • Keynote was named “Best New Business Award” from the West Ottawa Board of Trade
  • Keynote receives the “Family Enterprise of the Year” from the Family Enterprise Xchange
  • Keynote receives an “Employee’s Choice Award” from Employment Ontario
  • Keynote supports Fight for the Cure for the first time, an event they participate in annually to support the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation

  • Keynote successfully delivers first CEO search project for Pallium Canada
  • James Baker joins the Board of West Ottawa Board of Trade
  • Keynote begins the creation of KAIT (Keynote Artificial Intelligence Technology)


  • Keynote moved into its current office space at 66 Lisgar St. Ottawa, Ontario
  • Keynote is named Ottawa's #1 Fastest Growing Company presented by the Ottawa Business Journal

  • James & Donna Baker receive “Immigrant Entrepreneur of the Year” from the City of Ottawa

  • Keynote appoints first Chief Leadership Officer, Forbes author and speaker, Craig Dowden, to deepen executive coaching and onboarding services
  • Keynote is a recipient of the “Employee’s Choice Awards” from the Ottawa Business Journal
  • Keynote receives "Best Business" award at the Orleans Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards

  • James Baker joins Board for newly formed Ottawa Board of Trade Board of Directors
  • Keynote receives the “Innovation Award” from Startup Canada
  • Keynote hires first Chief Operating Officer, Brad Ezard to manage rapid growth


  • Keynote hires first VP of Marketing adding Kyle Turk, nationally recognized and awarded Professional Services marketer, to the team
  • Donna & James Baker officially become Canadian Citizens

Looking Ahead to the Next 4 Years

  • Expansion into new markets, with a focus on Toronto, Boston and Vancouver
  • Secure international partnerships to facilitate more international executive placements
  • Be recognized as the leading executive search firm in Ottawa, Ontario
  • Expand our community involvement to further strengthen our local ties to the city that we live in
  • Reduce coffee intake to 2 cups per person a day

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