Cameron Laker

Forty Under 40 winner 2014:  CEO, Mindfield, Age 35

Cameron Laker admits to being a little green when he entered the corporate world in 2005 and founded his recruitment agency, Mindfield.

“[I had] lots of energy, but not a lot of thought behind what I was doing,” Laker recalled.

“I created a lot of chaos.”

Just 26 years old at the time, the British Columbia Institute of Technology graduate was itching to use a combination of psychometrics and technology to target the right talent for businesses at a much more economical rate. He had previously worked as a recruitment director across university campuses and came to believe the industry model was “broken.”

“I couldn’t understand why companies would go pay $20,000 to get someone headhunted,” Laker said.

Mindfield was bootstrapped from the outset, starting off with just a business card and a BlackBerry. But Laker said the tight business model meant the company never had to seek any equity financing.

And over the past nine years, the CEO has seen the company grow from a five-person operation to a team of 75 people that has helped facilitate the hiring of 50,000 Canadians.

The company’s revenue reached more than $5 million in 2013 and is expected to hit at least $8 million by the end of 2014’s fiscal year.

Laker said part of the key to success at such a young age was recognizing he had to take the opportunity to soak up every ounce of experience and knowledge he could get from mentors like Mindfield co-founder Jade Bourelle.

Today, he provides mentorship and is renting out extra office space as an innovation hub for recruitment-related startups.

Laker pointed out the youth angle was extremely valuable when snagging some of Mindfield’s initial major clients.

“When I first pitched Mr. Lube, we were pitching on how we were going to use Myspace to attract talent for them,” Laker said.

“Do you trust the 50-year-old dude who walks in there talking about Myspace, or do you trust the 26-year-old using it every day?”