Meet the Staff


Photo of Donna Gillespie

Donna Gillespie
Chief Executive Officer
613-544-2725 ext. 7270
[email protected]

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
[email protected]

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
[email protected]

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
[email protected]

Andrew works with the partners in the Kingston innovation ecosystem supporting companies that are developing new technologies and products, and supports ventures through: research, piloting, and demonstration projects from different sectors in health, cleantech, defence, AI, and advanced materials. He is also leading the Kingston-Syracuse Pathway, and would be great to connect with if your company is seeking entry into Upstate New York.

Andrew has been active in the economic development field for 11 years.

A Kingstonian-Torontonian, Andrew holds additional positions with the: Tourism Kingston Working Group, Senate at the Princess Wales Own Regiment, and he volunteers with Youth Diversion. He is a former Board member of, and now active on the Hydrogen Working Group with SWITCH Ontario – an organization dedicated to improving the environmental and economic sustainability of Southeastern Ontario.

Andrew received his Master’s Degree in Local Economic Development from the University of Waterloo. Prior to that, he graduated with a Honours degree in International Development, and Globalization with a minor in Psychology.

Photo of Claire Bouvier

Claire Bouvier
Small Business Advisor
613-544-2725 ext. 7222
[email protected]

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.


Norman Musengimana
Business Development Manager
Small Business & Entrepreneurship
613-544-2725 ext. 7222
[email protected]

Norman is an experienced small business and start-up advisor, and a start-up entrepreneur.  A recent graduate from the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.

Norman enjoys helping and supporting potential entrepreneurs, early-stage entrepreneurs, and small and medium businesses owners. His previous experience involved working on business plans, feasibility studies, facilitating business workshops, organizing business plan competitions, and small business advisory.

Born in Rwanda, Norman has had the opportunity to live and work in more than seven countries in three different continents. He enjoys travelling by road, so that he can have the opportunity to meet and connect with new people in their communities.

Photo of Kirk Smallridge

Kirk Smallridge
Operations and Communications Officer and
Corporate Secretary to the Board of Directors
613-544-2725 ext. 7223
[email protected]

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 Nour Mazloum

Nour Mazloum
Communications & Events Officer
613-544-2725 ext. 7225
[email protected]

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. 

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.

Chris Morris

Chris Morris
Digital Business Advisor
[email protected]

Chris Morris joined Kingston EcDev in the fall of 2019 advising Kingston businesses on the Digital Main Street program, and advising on digital marketing. He is available for one-on-one consultations on all things digital for small business: websites, social media, SEO, search engine marketing, operations (point of sale, cloud-based systems, etc.), Google products, and more. 

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  In his spare time, he is a busy local musician and event planner.

Photo of Sylvia McDermott

Sylvia McDermott
Project Coordinator
613-544-2725 ext. 7261
[email protected]

Sylvia has been working for Kingston EcDev for three years. She manages the WE-CAN project, provides administrative support, assists in the preparation of business correspondence, internal and external reports, agendas and itineraries, as well as the execution of special events.

Sylvia recently graduated from Queen’s University with a Bachelor Degree in Physical and Health Education. Sylvia has been working for two years at Kingston Panthers Rugby Club and is a volunteer coach for the Kingston Collegiate & Vocational Institute (KCVI) Rowing team.

Workshops + EventsView All

Mar 3

How to plan, create, and optimize your digital marketing.

Mar 4

This workshop is for those who are already running an ecommerce business.

Mar 4

In an increasing digital world, influencer marketing has seen a significant rise in the last number of years.

Mar 4

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

Mar 10

Simple tips and tricks so your brand can be found more easily on Google.