Meet the Staff

 

Photo of Donna Gillespie

Donna Gillespie
Chief Executive Officer
613-544-2725 ext. 7270

Donna is an experienced leader who has managed a variety of small and medium enterprises in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. She has overseen significant community economic development initiatives in investment attraction, strategic planning, brand development, and corporate restructuring.

Under her leadership as CEO, Kingston realized the highest levels of new foreign direct investment in the city’s history with the establishment of Portuguese fruit processer Frulact and Chinese infant formula manufacturer Feihe. Donna is a Board Member of Tourism Kingston and an Advisor to the Kingston Accommodation Partners.

Donna has been involved with community associations and organizations in Kingston for over 25 years including Downtown Kingston! Business Improvement Association, Kingston Arts Council, Kingston Symphony Association, and the United Way of KFL&A. Currently, she volunteers her time as a Board Director of the Kingston Kid’s Triathlon, Thousand Island Playhouse, and Theatre Kingston.

 

Photo of Shelley Hirstwood

Shelley Hirstwood
Business Development Officer
Attraction & Aftercare

613-544-2725 ext. 7232

Shelley focuses on Business Attraction and Aftercare support by seeking potential business opportunities and foreign direct investment to encourage businesses to relocate to Kingston. She coordinates those opportunities with government, realtors, site selectors and stakeholders to facilitate site selection and business development for businesses that are interested in relocating to Kingston.

Prior to joining Kingston EcDev team, Shelley spent the past 13 years working as an Economic Development Manager in Gravelbourg, SK and Gananoque, ON.  Her work has focused on investment attraction, business retention and expansion and community development.

Shelley graduated with Bachelor of Science from Trent University, has an Economic Development Certificate from the University of Waterloo, Training for Small Business Counsellors from Acadia University, and completed the Queen’s Executive Program at Queen’s University. Shelley is the past president for Ontario East Economic Development Commission for the term of 2018 - 2020 and has been sitting on the Board of Directors for seven years.

Photo of Ian Murdoch

Ian Murdoch
Business Development Officer
Business Growth & Retention

613-544-2725 ext. 7248

Ian’s primary focus in his role is to provide support for the continued expansion and sustainability of local businesses.  Prior to joining the Kingston EcDev team, Ian spent 13 years as a Senior Client Manager with a local engineering consulting firm. He worked closely with local and national clients consisting of owners/managers of multi-tenant residential assets, commercial/industrial portfolios, manufacturing and healthcare facilities, safety professionals, and educational/institutional stakeholders. This experience lends very well to his current portfolio and duties with Kingston EcDev; as he is accustomed to the high pressure and complex scenarios faced by many expanding and growing businesses. 

Throughout his 20 years of experience, Ian spent his career building local professional partnerships through various roles within the construction industry, the Canadian Forces Housing Agency (CFHA), and supporting and assisting in the growth of local professional engineering teams. He earned his degree in Civil Engineering Technology from St. Lawrence College in Kingston. Ian volunteers his time as a Director at the Board of Directors for the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC).

Photo of Andrew Bacchus

Andrew Bacchus
Business Development Officer
Emerging Sectors

613-544-2725 ext. 7242

Andrew works with companies that are developing new technologies and products, supports their venture through research, piloting, and attracting demonstration projects from different sectors such as energy, cleantech, artificial intelligence, and advanced materials.

Andrew has been active in the economic development field for 10 years and is currently a director on the Board of Directors of SWITCH – an organization dedicated to improving the environmental and economic sustainability of Southeastern Ontario.

Born in Toronto, Ontario, Andrew received his Master’s Degree in Local Economic Development from the University of Waterloo. Prior to that, he graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Economic Development from the University of Ottawa.

Photo of Kirk Smallridge

Kirk Smallridge
Operations and Communications Officer and
Corporate Secretary to the Board of Directors

613-544-2725 ext. 7223

Kirk serves as the corporate secretary to the Board of Directors in addition to his role as the operations officer. He is responsible for providing administrative support to the CEO and Board of Directors as well as assist with all corporate communications and office management.

Kirk is a graduate from the General Business program offered at St. Lawrence College. Before joining the organization, he worked at St. Lawrence College as a peer tutor and a business mentor for a year. Prior to that, he has a vast experience in customer relation and retail working as a Team Leader and Sales Associate with Adidas Group for 6 years. Kirk volunteered as a coach at Kingston Clippers Soccer Club for two years.

Photo of Claire Bouvier

Claire Bouvier
Small Business Advisor
613-544-2725 ext. 7222

Claire is a Kingston-based influencer and serial entrepreneur. She believes that life should be about dedicating moments of your day to building and supporting meaningful relationships in your community.

Claire has a background in teaching, music, eco fashion, art directing, and photography. She has dedicated the last decade to helping women reach their full potential through creativity, photography, and entrepreneurship. Claire’s goal is to help entrepreneurs with their passions by encouraging them to celebrate their creative and professional selves.

Claire enjoys traveling the world, photography, and public speaking to help others gain confidence in their talents so they can live the life they most desire.

Photo of Chris Morris

Chris Morris
Digital Main Street Advisor
613-539-8438

Chris is an experienced event manager, copywriter and marketer. Working around the globe from Kingston, he has organized successful festivals, delivered strong social media strategies, along with highly effective e-commerce and lead generation websites, marketing plans, blogs, and much more. He is also the entertainment and culture editor for the Kingstonist.  In his spare time, he is a busy local musician and event planner.

Chris brings a wealth of knowledge on the Digital Main Street grant. He works with downtown and main street businesses to assist them with obtaining a digital transformation grant as part of the province-wide Digital Main Street project. He is also available for one-on-one consultations on all things digital for small business: websites, social media, operations (point of sale, cloud-based systems, etc.), digital marketing, SEO, and more.

Photo of Nour Mazloum

Nour Mazloum
Communications & Events Assistant
613-544-2725 ext. 7225

Nour was hired as a recent graduate through the Queen’s Career Apprenticeship: Kingston program. She assists in the development, writing and production of business collaterals, media strategies, and organizing events.

Nour graduated from Queen’s University with a Bachelor of Arts Honours in Philosophy and Political Studies and is currently a contributing writer for the Kingstonist. During the summer, she volunteers her time to teach running at the Running Room.

Prior to her role at Kingston EcDev, Nour worked as a Project Intern at Queen’s University and as a Communications Associate for Queen’s IT Services. Nour was the Chair of the Policy Committee at Sexual Assault Centre Kingston and had been on its Board of Directors for two years and was also a Director and Secretary on the Sustainable Kingston Board.

Photo of Sylvia McDermott

Sylvia McDermott
Intern
613-544-2725 ext. 7261

Sylvia has been working for Kingston EcDev for two years, she provides administrative support and assists in the preparation of business correspondence, internal and external reports, agendas and itineraries, and special events.

Sylvia is currently attending Queen’s University and is pursuing a Bachelor of Physical and Health Education. Sylvia has been working for two years at Kingston Panthers Rugby Club and a volunteer coach for Kingston Collegiate & Vocational Institute (KCVI) Rowing team.

Workshops + EventsView All

Feb 25

A business plan is a critical tool for outlining the strategy and developing the tactics to manage your business.

Feb 27

Starting a small business? Learn how Kingston Economic Development can help!

Feb 27

Networking event for newcomers and new employees in Kingston!

Mar 3

There is a great deal to consider when you’re building a new website or redesigning an existing one.

Mar 4

You don't need a big budget to get noticed on the web - you just need creativity!

Mar 10

Social Media for Business – Advanced
Ideal for businesses who already have social media presence