Kingston’s own Donna Gillespie, CEO of Kingston Economic Development Corporation (EcDev), has been named the Ontario East Economic Development Officer of the Year.
The award, bestowed by the Ontario East Economic Development Commission (Ontario East) was announced at the opening ceremonies of the Ontario East Municipal Conference (OEMC) being held online Wednesday, Oct. 20 and Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021. The award is sponsored by ResearchFDI, one of Canada’s leading investment attraction agencies, founded by Bruce Takefman, who was a member of the awards selection committee, according to a release from Kingston EcDev.
“Ontario East is pleased to recognize Donna for her efforts to promote her community and the region as a premier business location. We congratulate Donna on this important recognition and appreciate her support for our organization and the economic development profession,” said Chris King, President of the Ontario East Economic Development Commission and CEO of the Quinte Economic Development Commission, in a statement.
According to Kingston EcDev, Gillespie has a 20+ year career in economic development and investment attraction. She has supported projects totalling more than $250 million for the local region in recent years, and “met the challenges of COVID-19 to the business community head-on with various promotional campaigns and is recognized for her leadership, mentoring skills, accessibility and for being an inspiration to her team and community in economic development,” Kingston EcDev said. Gillespie is also a past member of the Ontario East board of directors.
Gillespie was nominated for the honour by her staff at Kingston EcDev “for her tireless efforts and outstanding leadership in economic development, not only in the past year, but also for the past two decade.” She was presented with the award at an OEMC regional reception ceremony, which took place at the Delta Hotels by Marriott Kingston Waterfront beginning at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021.
“It has been my privilege to work with Donna over the past few years and to witness her extraordinary commitment to the Kingston business community. She brings an innovative pragmatism to her role and has worked tirelessly to support the Kingston business community to survive and thrive throughout the pandemic, while still remaining focused on investment attraction and business growth,” Gillian Watters, Board Chair for Kingston EcDev said in a statement.
“Donna’s leadership has been inspirational to her staff and to her community. This award is so well deserved.”