We’re experts, friendly, fast-moving—and focused on your success
Connected and comprehensive. Agile and action-oriented. Strategic and savvy.
There are many ways to describe Knock on Wood, but our ultimate goal is always rooted in your success. Whether promoting your programs, marketing your services, boosting your public profile, or helping you raise funds—we’ll tailor a strategic solution to meet your needs in any context and for any occasion.
Our expert team provides a complete range of marketing and communications services including:
- Integrated marketing communications
- Digital Strategy, Website Design, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Social Media Marketing Digital Advertising and Content Management
- Media Relations and Influencer Engagement
- Experiential Marketing (Special Events and Activations)
- Community Relations
- Creative Development
- Media planning and buying
National, strategic, and bilingual partnerships
For projects that reach beyond the National Capital Region, Knock on Wood uses strategic partnerships with associate agencies in cities across Canada. We have executed local and national projects and campaigns in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, and Halifax. We also access a pool of talented communications professionals fluent in both official languages to provide fully bilingual services when required.
ABOUT OUR TEAM
Karen Wood, Founder, President
Expertise: Strategic Communications, Partnership Development, Integrated Campaigns
A team is only as good as its leader. With more than 20 years’ experience within the communications spectrum from branding to marcom, from creating integrated campaigns to resolving corporate PR issues; to developing social/digital platforms and finessing communications strategies to working her magic with generous sponsorships and glam events, Karen does it all. Trusted advisor and superior connector with perhaps the most formidable network in the National Capital Region, Karen is the outstanding leader of Knock on Wood. Stakeholders, suppliers, clients, colleagues and we, the staff, are very pleased she is.
When not in the office you’ll find Karen: entertaining friends poolside or puttering in her garden
What you didn’t know about Karen? She was in the Naval Reserve Summer Student program when she was 17.
Fav food: Red wine and Pad Thai
Kita Szpak, Communications Strategist
Expertise: Media Relations, Writing, Strategic Communications
Quick on her feet – she’s run Boston – Kita is the consummate storyteller. Whether pitching an idea, promoting a client or creating an ad, Kita uses words in conversation and on paper to leverage the idea, the person or situation in the most effective and accurate way possible. We especially love her quick turn-around, especially on deadlines. Words are to Kita what doughnuts are to Homer Simpson and good thing too! Otherwise she couldn’t fit into her yoga pants.
When not in the office, you’ll find Kita: running outside
What you didn’t know about Kita? She’s got a twin brother.
Fav food: Toasted bagels
Robin Duetta, Event Strategist
Expertise: Experiential Marketing, Culinary Programming, Community Building, Fundraising
Robin Duetta is the creator and producer of many successful chef-centric events including Taste for HOPE for Shepherds of Good Hope, Carrefor’s Feast of Fields (produced in association with Canadian Organic Growers Association), Culinary programming for the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival, Fall Harvest Garden Party for Ottawa Humane Society and the Ottawa Home Show Foodie Market. Robin works with KOW to develop experiential strategies for clients that involve food and drink such as “taste of the Neighbourhood” promotions for real estate developers and culinary programming for various client events.
When not in the office, you’ll find Robin: at one of Ottawa’s great restaurants
What you didn’t know about Robin? He played in a Pipe Band for 12 years
Fav food: Anything cooked by one of his Chef friends
Mandi Lunan, Social Media Specialist
Expertise: Digital Strategy, Social Media, Food and Beverage Marketing.
With over a decade of real-life experience in the Ottawa food industry, Mandi has coached, consulted, trained and written business plans for various clients. Adept at curating content and copywriting, Mandi’s strategic digital skills and hands-on approach help KOWPR clients build their brands, manage their reputations, drive event attendance and maximize sales.
When not in the office you’ll find Mandi: At The Manx Pub with a pint of Darkness and a fantasy novel.
What you didn’t know about Mandi: She’s also held jobs as a vegan baker, DJ, tarot card reader, bass player and burlesque dancer.
Fav food: The Belmont’s Doubles and Wei’s Noodle Houses’ hot and sour soup
Meryem Faraoui, Bilingual Publicist
Expertise: Social Media, Communications, Events
Coming to us from Paris, France, Meryem is a world traveller who studied communications and management in Australia before spending time as the digital editor and social media manager for various publications in France. Her area of expertise is communications on social media but she also loves picking up the phone to chat with journalists and editors about story ideas. Meryem has a love for new technologies and she is always on point with the latest trends.
When not in the office you’ll find Meryem: strolling around downtown Ottawa or Montreal discovering new local cafés.
What you didn’t know about Meryem? Recently married, she is on a big adventure with her husband, also from France – discovering Canada!
Fav food: Mexican food, yummy !!
Sarvanshu Ahluwalia, Digital Strategist
Expertise: E-Marketing, WordPress Development
What’s easier? Pronouncing Sarvanshu Ahluwalia or reading through his computer and Web work experience and skills: PC platforms; Microsoft Office; Google: Adwords & Adwords Editor, Analytics, Webmaster Tools, Keyword Research Tool, Google Docs; Facebook Advertising, Facebook Power Editor, Facebook Insights; SEOmoz Tools; Ahrefs Tools; Long Tail Pro; HubSpot, WordPress and Blogger; Social media management dashboards – HubSpot, HootSuite, Buffer; Social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn. Sarv has 7+ years of experience in social media, e-marketing and web-development. Glad you’re on the KOW team and that you let us call you “Sarv”.
When not in the office, you’ll find Sarv: exploring within… “Sarvanshu finding Sarvanshu” since my mom always tells me, “You are very special to me”, so I keep trying new things to find that special ‘Sarvanshu’.
What you didn’t know about Sarv? What happens to and in ‘Sarvanshu’ stays in Sarv…unless I am in Vegas mode.
Fav food: My mom’s home cooking
Whitney Zelmer, Event Manager
Expertise: Event Management: Planning, Logistics, Marketing
Her years of experience in the event world began right here at Knock on Wood in 2003. Coordinating launch events for brands, businesses and live shows, Whitney honed her skills in the events arena by jumping into each event with enthusiasm and attention to detail. She has spearheaded over 50 B2B events per year for the Ottawa Business Journal and manages catering and logistics for events of all sizes for Thyme & Again Creative Catering including Canada’s Table – a dinner for 1000 guests outside Parliament Hil.
When not in the office, you’ll find Whitney: painting in the studio or taking long walks along the canal
What you didn’t know about Whitney? She spent a year living in Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Fav food: Chocolate ice cream. Not just any kind – must be Hagen Daz, Ben & Jerry’s or Baskin & Robbins, Chocolate Mousse Royale.
Andy Foster, Graphic Designer
Expertise: Branding, Print design, project management
Jody Maffett, Graphic Designer
Expertise: Print design, branding
Jody has extensive experience in a wide variety of sectors including – but not limited to – high tech, medical, retail, non-profit and education. With her unique combination of strong skills in both the creative and editorial worlds, we know Jody can give us 100% whether it’s with a left or right brain focus. Add a “calm under pressure” demeanor combined with outstanding negotiating skills and problem-solving ability, and you’ve got a star team player for Knock on Wood.
When not in the office, you’ll find Jody: at the family cottage near Perth, puttering in the garden and chasing chipmunks away. She hopes to retire there someday and be the “cranky old lady who lives on the hill”.
What you didn’t know about Jody: She’s mostly deaf – but always says, “If that’s the worst thing I have to deal with, I’m lucky.” This comes in handy when she wants to ignore people – particularly her three children.
Fav food: Roast beef dinner – with the famous “Maffett” Lumpy Gravy