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“Digital Ambassador” reboots career to connect with start-ups

A man who embraced digital technology to build an international business employing around 750 staff will tell an audience at Humber Business Week of his delight at being able to reboot his career and return to the world of start-ups.

David Keel, branded by others as Hull’s “Digital Ambassador”, will also tell members and guests of Hull Business Women’s Breakfast Club of the benefits which have resulted from the evolution of the area’s digital industry into a genuine digital community.

He will be joined by Catriona McAulay, Daniel Groom and Temitayo Ogundimu – three graduates from RB’s Future Leadership Programme – who will explore how new technology is shaping a more agile and collaborative working environment, as well as creating new opportunities to develop innovative solutions to meet consumers’ needs now and in the future.

David said:

It is exhilarating to think that I grew a business from nothing to 750 staff around the world, most of them from Hull. But what is more exciting is that I was asked to become a director and then chair of C4Di, which has taken me back to the start-up days. Can I afford to employ someone? Have I got enough work to keep them busy for the next six months or a year?

David also admits to being an accidental consultant, who was drawn into the role when he left Trident in 2017 and set up Keel Innovative Digital (KeelID).

He said:

I never intended to be a consultant but when I left Trident I received so many approaches from people asking me to talk to them. I don’t want to be working full-time. I am very hands-on as chair of C4Di.

The initial invitation to join the board of C4Di prompted him to do the homework which revealed interesting facts about the region’s business community and about the gaps which he hopes to address with the help of the Breakfast Club and other organisations.

He said:

I recognised that Hull had a thriving digital industry but not a community. There were many businesses all over Hull doing amazing things digitally but not talking to each other, so I used C4Di to bring them together.

We run the digital awards which has become an important part of the calendar in Hull. The business awards have been going for 20 years and get 400 people. We’ve been going three years and get 350 people.

Hull’s digital businesses touch people’s lives daily, locally, nationally and globally. Every business is digital and it is ridiculous trying to pretend otherwise. Taking away the gas, electric, water and roads would not have as much effect on a business as taking away internet connectivity.

Pat Coyle, Chair of Hull Businesswomen’s Breakfast Club, said:

We are very grateful to The Deep for hosting our fourth consecutive Humber Business Week event, which this year invites members and guests to look at how the workplace is changing as a result of technology with the theme of ‘Tomorrow’s World Today’.

David Keel’s insight is drawn from his experience of leading an international company into the digital age and now supporting start-ups and will be relevant to all, from large and small businesses. With the presenters from RB, we can look at the impact of millennials in the workplace with three young people who are making their mark in a programme devised by RB to drive the global success of some of the world’s biggest brands.

The event will take place at The Deep on Thursday 7 June. Freya Cross, Business and Corporate Manager at The Deep, said:

Technology is essential to any business and is certainly at the heart of the activities of many of our tenants and The Deep itself. The event promises to present a fascinating insight into how businesses can use technology effectively and into how they can fall behind if they don’t keep pace with their competitors.

For details of the event and to book your place please visit the Eventbrite booking page at

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