Member Spotlight: Susan Keast

Welcome, Susan. Thank you for joining us. Could you please tell us a little bit about yourself?

For sure! So my background is in human resources, specifically in recruiting. I’ve been working in HR for over 25 years. About seven or eight years ago, I started my own business called Resources Inc., which focuses on recruiting for various industries and job types in the Vaughan and Muskoka areas. Additionally, I recently took on a contract role in primary care recruiting, specifically for physicians and nurse practitioners in the Muskoka area. I’ve grown my business through Co-op students, and one of my former Co-op students now runs Resources Inc. while I focus on primary care recruitment. It’s been a fascinating journey!

What made you decide to pursue your own business?

Originally, I started my own business because I wanted more control over my schedule. I had some experiences in previous work environments that made me question the core ethics of some individuals. It didn’t align with my values, and I felt uncomfortable with certain aspects. So, in good conscience, I decided to step into my own world and create a business that resonated better with me. I had dabbled in entrepreneurship before, but this time, I was determined to make it work. And I haven’t looked back since!

How did you fund your business initially?

The nice part about my business is that the overhead costs were fairly low since I worked remotely, even before it became the norm for many people. So, initially, my main investment was my time. I did have some expenses related to advertising and sourcing candidates, but the overhead was minimal. As the business grew, I reinvested back into it with different placements I made. I also changed our model, where clients now pay for our services, allowing us to enhance the business and offer a 30-day guarantee. Additionally, I obtained a couple of grants through the Co-op program at Georgetown College, which helped fund the growth of my business. It’s been a combination of reinvestment and strategic funding.

What piece of advice can you offer others who would like to follow in your footsteps?

I would say, be tenacious. The nature of recruiting requires persistence, so be willing to explore every opportunity that comes your way. Sometimes, great opportunities can end up in your email inbox unexpectedly. Stay open to those possibilities. I’ve offered help and resources to many people who are starting their own businesses, but surprisingly, very few have reached out to take advantage of those opportunities. So, my advice is to actively seek out and embrace every chance to learn and grow. In the last few years, especially with the impact of COVID, there have been numerous opportunities to support small and minority-owned businesses. Don’t hesitate to seize those opportunities and keep an open mind.

What has kept you driven and motivated, even during the challenging parts of your entrepreneurship journey?

Being self-driven and motivated has been a significant factor for me. I was already working remotely before it became more common, and that arrangement worked extremely well for me. But beyond that, what keeps me going is continuous learning. I recently made the switch to primary care recruiting, which was a whole new world for me. The learning aspect has been incredibly exciting. I’ve always believed that learning is stimulating and helps me be better in my business. Additionally, mentoring and providing opportunities for my Co-op students has been rewarding. Seeing them grow and succeed motivates me to keep pushing forward.

How would you like to see your business grow in the future?

The way my business is currently growing is through bringing in more people like my former Co-op student, who is now the office manager and general manager of the business. This growth happened organically, and I believe there are other talented individuals out there who can contribute to the business in similar ways. So, I would like to be open to those additional opportunities and continue to provide learning experiences and opportunities to more people. It’s about fostering collaboration and expanding our team.

What does success look like to you?

Success is more than just financial gain to me. While it’s essential to have a certain level of income to support the business and pay the bills, true success lies in providing interesting opportunities and treating others with equity, respect, and dignity. I’m proud of the diverse perspectives my Co-op students have brought to the business. Mentoring and sharing my years of experience is another aspect of success for me. I strive to treat others the way I would want to be treated. Going the extra mile, like buying my department manager a new computer, reflects my commitment to living my core values and making a positive difference.

What is an achievement you are very proud of?

One achievement I’m particularly proud of is earning my certification as a Certified Human Resource Leader (CHRL). About seven or eight years ago, I decided to pursue this certification, even though I didn’t have all the education requirements at the time. I spent an entire summer studying for the exam, and it was a lot of work. But I knew I held the necessary skills, and obtaining the certification removed a barrier that was holding me back. Passing the exam and getting those letters behind my name was a significant accomplishment for me.

What made you sign up for the Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce?

I joined the Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce because their core beliefs align perfectly with my own. The focus on equity, inclusion, respect, and dignity resonated strongly with me. I discovered the chamber through a women’s leadership institute course, and it felt like the right place to connect with like-minded individuals. The chamber’s advocacy work for female and small business owners is essential, and I wanted to be part of that collective voice for positive change.

What are the top benefits you’ve gained from becoming a member of the Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce?

Being a member of the Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce has provided me with a supportive network of women who understand the challenges and successes of entrepreneurship. The collaborative environment is empowering and inspiring. I’ve received valuable resources, advice, and ideas from fellow members, which have helped me navigate the highs and lows of running my business. The chamber keeps me informed about various opportunities, such as grants and learning programs, that are beneficial for my business. It’s an incredible resource and community that I highly value.

Is there a message you’d like to share with other women entrepreneurs?

My message to fellow women entrepreneurs is to stick with it and remain persistent. Entrepreneurship is rewarding, and once you experience the freedom and fulfillment it brings, it’s challenging to go back to anything else. Even during the tough times, remember why you started and the core values that drive you. Network with other entrepreneurs because collaboration and support can make a significant difference. And never stop learning—expand your knowledge and seek opportunities to grow. Believe in yourself, stay tenacious, and surround yourself with like-minded individuals who uplift and inspire you.

How can people reach out to you, Susan?

You can reach out to me by texting 705-644-9516 or emailing me at I welcome further conversations and would be happy to connect with anyone who wants to reach out.

This interview has been edited for clarity and length

Connect with Susan Keast

Watch The Interview On CanWCC’s YouTube Channel

Leave a Comment