Former Kanata North BIA director Jenna Sudds to run for city council

Sudds will square off against former Ottawa Champions president David Gourlay for seat currently held by veteran politician Marianne Wilkinson.
Jenna Sudds

Another familiar name is poised to enter the race for councillor in Kanata North, setting the stage for what could be one of the most fiercely contested campaigns in this fall’s municipal election.

Former Kanata North BIA executive director Jenna Sudds will formally announce Tuesday morning that she is running for a seat in the ward currently represented by Marianne Wilkinson, sources told OBJ on Monday.

The 39-year-old Sudds, who helped launch the Kanata North Business Association in 2013, will add additional star power to a race that already includes former Ottawa Champions president David Gourlay.

Gourlay launched his candidacy in late February with a list of backers that includes former Ottawa Senators president Cyril Leeder as his campaign co-chair. But Sudds is sure to bring her own team of high-profile supporters to the race.

Wilkinson, the incumbent councillor, is scheduled to host a breakfast event with Sudds on Tuesday morning.

When reached by OBJ Monday, the veteran politician declined to comment on specific candidates for the council seat. However, following Gourlay’s announcement in February, Wilkinson told CFRA that she has a preferred candidate in mind whom she was planning to endorse.

Building a BIA

A 2015 Forty Under 40 recipient, Sudds built the Kanata North BIA into one of the region’s most prominent business groups in her four years on the job.

The organization is now the city’s third-largest BIA, with more than 550 members, and has carved out a significant local profile thanks to a string of successful promotional campaigns centred around the “Serious tech lives here” slogan. Many observers have held up the BIA as an example of a successful economic development organization and a booster to its tech community.

Sudds left the BIA last fall to head up a new national non-profit entity called the CIO Strategy Council that includes chief information officers from various industries and levels of government and aims to share best practices on Canada’s emerging digital economy. Sources say she plans to continue in that role while campaigning for council.

Married with three young children, Sudds was an economist in the federal government before joining the Kanata North BIA. A resident of the ward since 2002, she’s been an active volunteer with organizations such as the Kanata Food Cupboard, Ottawa Community Housing and the Ottawa Network for Education.

The municipal election is scheduled for Oct. 22.