Donna Gillespie, CEO at Kingston Economic Development, receives provincial award


Donna Gillespie, CEO at Kingston Economic Development, was recently honoured with the Joseph A. Montgomery Economic Development Achievement Award.

The award, presented by the Economic Developers Council of Ontario (EDCO), pays tribute to Joseph A. Montgomery, a Niagara Falls entrepreneur who was a driving force behind the establishment of EDCO and the Economic Development Association of Canada.

According to a news release, Gillespie was instrumental in bringing Canada Royal Milk to Kingston in 2016, representing the largest foreign direct investment in agriculture business in Ontario and Canada at the time. Her influence extends across other initiatives, from spearheading the Kingston Film Office and the creation of the first Kingston Arts Awards of Excellence, to her role in establishing the Kingston-Syracuse Pathway. She is one of the founding members of the Great Lakes Economic Development Council.

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“Economic developers have a great opportunity to have a positive impact on their communities supporting entrepreneurs, attracting new investment and creating an environment for business success,” said Gillespie in the release. “I’m tremendously grateful to have strong leadership on the board and a rockstar team to support me along the way.”

Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson said he has worked with Gillespie for almost a decade.

“Witnessing the remarkable transformation in our local economy and within the economic development office has been truly inspiring,” said Paterson. “Donna is a team player and collaborator; her ability to unite talented individuals towards overarching community goals is admirable.”

Anne Vivian-Scott, chair of the board at Kingston Economic Development, thanked Gillespie for helping to make Kingston a wonderful place to grow a business.

“Not only did Donna rebuild this organization with integrity and discipline, but also she has led the organization through a significant strategic refocusing effort that has aligned Kingston with one of the most significant changes to our economy in generations.”

There have been three other recipients of the award since 2017.

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