John Baker

John Baker



President and CEO, Desire to Learn

John founded Desire2Learn in 1999, at the age of twenty-two, while attending the University of Waterloo. He saw that online digital tools could open the door to entirely new, more effective models of learning that could be used by students and employees around the world. John understood that prosperity in our increasingly complex society depends on growing the knowledge of high-school and college graduates, and keeping the knowledge of private- and public-sector employees up-todate.

Desire2Learn’s software helps make this happen by fine-tuning teaching to each learner’s strengths and weaknesses, and make the learning experience more personal, adaptive, and accessible. A major benefit is that learners and educators time is used much more productively.  John is frequently asked to share his vision of 21st century education at conferences around the world.

With John’s leadership, Desire2Learn has grown to more than 800 employees with offices around the world. The company has been the recipient of numerous awards, including Canada’s Top 100 Employers for Young People; 2012 Microsoft US Public Sector Partner of the Year; Platinum Learning Impact Award, IMS Global Learning Consortium; 2012 Business of the Year,  Greater Kitchener- Waterloo Chamber of Commerce; Best 50 Small and Medium Employers in Canada; Top 15 Employers, Waterloo Region; Deloitte 50 Best Managed Companies 2012.

From the outset, John’s youth and spirit created a unique culture and work environment in the company. He champions open minds and open hearts, believes the office should be fun, and actively nurtures creativity. Team members are experts in what they do, are passionate about education, and celebrate the company’s collaborative nature. Employees are encouraged to bring their dogs to work or teach yoga in the boardroom during lunch. 

A strong believer in community involvement, John devotes both his personal and business efforts to supporting young entrepreneurs who are developing and applying technology to improve society worldwide. He was appointed to the Governing Council of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Chair of the Board of Communitech, and is a board member of Canada’s National Ballet School and other organizations. 

John graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honours B.A.Sc. in Systems Design Engineering, with First Class Honours and an option in Management Sciences.