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About Us

Syntax is an Ottawa-based nationally recognized full-service agency.

We are a team of creative storytellers, expert communicators, and inspired marketers who work tirelessly to meet the ever-changing needs of our diverse clients. Our unique ability to combine creative, multifaceted campaigns with the strategic engagement of your ideal audience allows our integrated strategies to build awareness, amplify your brand, and drive your business. Led by CEO and entrepreneur Jennifer Stewart, we are a team of experts who are passionate about our work and our clients. From idea to impact, we are the right solution.


Our Team

Jennifer Stewart
Founder and CEO

Jennifer is an accomplished leader in Canadian business, government, and public affairs. She is renowned as an expert in this field, often being called upon by national media for commentary. Additionally, Jennifer has twice been named one of the “Top 25 People in the Capital” by Ottawa Life Magazine, one of Ottawa’s “Top Forty Under Forty” by the Ottawa Business Journal and the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce, and was a finalist for Ottawa’s “Established Female Entrepreneur of the Year.”

Jennifer has actively taken on many business and community affairs roles, including President & CEO of the Canadian Energy Marketers Association (CEMA), Chair of the Board of the Canadian Transportation Alliance, Co-Host and Co-Founder of The Honest Talk podcast, Chair of the Village of Carp Business Improvement Association (City of Ottawa), Board Member of the Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa Foundation, Member of the Board of Trustees for The Women in Technology Scholarship of Willis College, and Member of the Leadership Council of the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation.

Jennifer Madigan
Chief Operating Officer

A communications and media relations professional with a long history in the TV and online news industry, Jennifer has a Bachelor of Journalism with combined Honours in Sociology from Carleton University. Over nearly 15 years in TV news, Jennifer worked as a reporter, videographer, and producer locally, and later as the Executive Producer of The West Block with Tom Clark on Global News.

During the years, Jennifer has gained a great understanding of the media maze and possesses a keen ability to spot and solve problems during a crisis. She also knows how to tell a story with impact. Jennifer uses these skills to help clients effectively shape and communicate their narratives. Jennifer provides strategic communications advice, crisis communications and media relations support, as well as media training for a list of clients including Crown corporations, national associations, and non-governmental organizations.

Jake Enwright
Executive Vice President

Jake is a public affairs strategist with 13 years of government and public relations experience. Previously working in the fast-paced, highly visible setting of Parliament Hill, Jake has a proven track record of success managing communications for large organizations that earn significant media attention and has held senior roles advising cabinet ministers and corporate leaders. Jake’s areas of specialization include strategic communications, media relations, crisis communications, government relations, and ghostwriting.

Jake continues to be actively involved in federal politics and previously served as the Deputy Chief of Staff to the former Leader of the Official Opposition, Erin O’Toole. Jake also worked as a senior advisor and media spokesperson for former Conservative Leader Rona Ambrose, and the former Minister of Industry James Moore. He has been consistently recognized by the Hill Times as one of the top political staffers in federal politics and is often asked to contribute political commentary for national media outlets.

Catherine Clark
Strategic Counsel – Associate

Catherine Clark is a nationally respected broadcaster, emcee, and co-founder of The Honest Talk, a popular podcast featuring frank discussions with notable women, sponsored by RBC, as well as Host of The Company We Keep, a new podcast which looks at Canadian history through the eyes of the spouses, partners, children, and advisors of the political leaders who shaped our country.

Catherine is also the President of Catherine Clark Communications and Special Advisor to Syntax Strategic, providing communications counsel to individuals and corporations. Deeply committed to community service, Catherine writes the Giving Back column for Ottawa at Home Magazine, sits on the Board of Governors of The Ottawa Hospital and the Board of Directors of Hydro Ottawa Holding Inc.

Dr. Katharine Smart
Pediatrician, Medical Leader, Passionate Advocate

Dr. Katharine Smart is an experienced medical leader and advocate who constantly challenges the status quo in medicine. A pediatrician in Canada’s north, her work focuses on innovative and collaborative partnerships between community and government to serve marginalized children in rural and remote areas. An outspoken advocate against misinformation, Dr. Smart regularly uses her voice to bring evidence and facts to the forefront of health communication.

Dr. Smart is the past president of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), where in 2021 she became the 10th woman to serve in the organization’s 155-year history. A fierce and authentic leader, she has become a recognized and respected medical voice in Canada. Dr. Smart has been recognized as one of Canada’s 100 Most Powerful Women, with the Medical Post’s Changemaker Media Engagement Award and the Waterfalls Global Award. In recognition of her advocacy for primary care and family medicine, she received an honourary membership from the College of Family Physicians of Canada. She has held many leadership positions including president of the Yukon Medical Association and sits on the board of Ronald McDonald House charities.

Dr. Smart is a passionate communicator and sought-after media expert, keynote speaker, panelist, and podcast guest. She is the host of SPARK: Conversations by Children’s Healthcare Canada.

Geneviève Painchaud
Strategic Counsel – Associate

Originally from Québec City, Geneviève is a seasoned, fully bilingual communications professional with experience working in some of the country’s leading industry associations and private sector organizations in senior strategic, marketing, and sales roles. She has taught at Collège La Cité and some of her marketing projects have earned national and international IABC awards. She has a broad level of involvement at the governance level. Geneviève devotes a lot of her time as a director on several boards and is very involved in her community.

Devon Larock
Vice President of Finance and Business Operations

Devon manages financial strategy, budget, and forecasting while enhancing business processes to foster growth and profitability at Syntax Strategic. Her background in psychology adds a unique twist to Devon’s role as Finance VP. With her insights into human behaviour, she is adept at fostering teamwork and understanding the dynamics within the company. In addition, Devon’s empathetic nature proves invaluable in handling challenging negotiations or resolving conflicts, ensuring seamless operations at Syntax.

Jonelle Istead
Principal

A fundraising and business development leader with a passion for strategic communications, Jonelle brings to Syntax a 20-year track record of creating key messages and fundraising campaigns that resonate with various audiences.

Over the course of her career, Jonelle has worked in federal politics, business development, communications, and philanthropy. Most recently, she has played leadership roles at the BGC Ottawa (formerly Boys and Girls Club of Ottawa), Canadian Dermatology Association, Canadian Nurses Foundation, and Bishop Strachan School in Toronto, where she spearheaded a successful $30-million campaign. Jonelle has a degree in Political Science with a specialization in Non-Profit Studies from the University of Waterloo.

George Soule
Principal

A trusted strategist and communications expert in English and French, George has spent over two decades in advocacy, the labour movement, and serving government and opposition leaders, both federally and provincially. After joining former NDP Leader Jack Layton’s media relations team, George quickly became a key advisor and spokesperson for Layton and each of the subsequent federal New Democrat leaders.

For two years, George also served as Chief of Staff to the Official Opposition in Saskatchewan. As Director of Digital Strategy and advisor to former Alberta Premier Rachel Notley, he built and managed a digital team and strategy that saw Notley’s online following and engagement grow to the largest of any of Canada’s premiers at the time.

Specializing in issues management, strategic and crisis communications, speech writing, and government relations, George continues to advise elected representatives at all levels of government. He maintains strong relationships with journalists across the country and contributes commentary to national and provincial media outlets.

Liane Mamo
Senior Director of Marketing and Creative Content

With a focus on brand and strategy and a background in design, Liane is passionate about storytelling and communicating. At Syntax, she is responsible for developing and executing effective marketing campaigns, events, and conferences.

A creative thinker and effective marketing and communications expert, Liane has over 15 years of experience in brand marketing roles. She has worked with several national brands creating local and national marketing campaigns and partnership plans from concept to execution. Liane spent 11 seasons working for the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club. In addition to her marketing and partnership experience, she has managed several marquee events for the NHL and Ottawa Senators including the Stanley Cup Finals, NHL All Star Game, Heritage Classic, and the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships.

Dana Telfer
Director of Marketing and Events

Dana is a marketing and communications professional with over 20 years of experience developing and executing unique marketing campaigns and events. She is a passionate and creative marketing strategist who has worked alongside some of the most successful and recognizable brands. Dana has extensive experience in strategic event planning and execution, with a creative vision for capturing audiences. She is a results-driven team player committed to delivering high-quality work.

Prior to joining Team Syntax, Dana worked at the Ottawa Senators Hockey Club where she was the Manager of Brand Integration. There, she developed and executed strategic marketing initiatives and led numerous customer acquisition and customer experience initiatives.

Megan Shaw
Director of Brand Marketing and Media Relations

Megan is a marketing and communications specialist with a background in journalism and brand management. For nearly 15 years she worked in newsrooms across the country, most recently as a reporter and TV news anchor in Ottawa. Throughout her career, Megan has covered everything from breaking news to current events and politics.

She specializes in media relations, promotions, content creation, and brand strategies. Megan holds a Master of Journalism degree from Carleton University, as well as an honours BA from the University of Windsor in English & Communication, Media, Film Studies (CMF). She also attended the Broadcast Journalism program at Seneca College. Megan speaks English and French.

A picture in black and white of Lindsay Campbell, a Syntax strategist
Lindsay Campbell
Director of Strategic Communications

Lindsay comes to Syntax with experience in media and communications both inside and outside of the political sphere. She’s had a career as a journalist, where she’s written primarily on food, agriculture and the environment for outlets like the Globe and Mail, Maclean’s, the Narwhal, Nunatsiaq News, Modern Farmer and Civil Eats—a subsidiary publication of TIME Magazine.

Outside of journalism, Lindsay worked on Parliament Hill as a communications and media relations assistant for a Member of Parliament. She was charged with writing all speeches, policy correspondence and press releases. She created a social media strategy to boost the member’s online presence into the top 20 percentile of all MPs. Lindsay also has familiarity with the non-profit and think-tank world, having held communications and public relations roles with the Canadian Institute of Child Health and Northern Policy Institute.

As a graduate from Carleton University, she holds a Bachelor of Journalism with a minor in law. Within her graduating class, she was awarded the Karen Birchard Memorial Scholarship for excelling in the area of science journalism.

Jon Dugal
Director of Government Relations

Jon specializes in advancing public policy goals with the federal and Atlantic governments through integrated public affairs campaigns. With almost 10 years of experience in public affairs consulting, Jon provides strategic advice to clients in a variety of sectors, including cannabis, health and pharmacy, technology, charitable and not-for-profit, and transport.

Prior to joining Syntax, Jon helped launch Diplomat Consulting, where he led public affairs and government relations for a broad range of clients and oversaw the development of a first-of-its-kind report on the future potential of the cannabis industry, titled What Cannabis Can Be.

Beyond public affairs and government relations, Jon has been heavily involved in politics. He’s worked with the Liberal Party of Canada, served as a campaign advisor to a former premier of New Brunswick, and is active as a Table Officer with the PEI Liberal Party.

Headshot of Kate Cornick
Kate Cornick
Director of Media and Public Affairs

For more than a decade, Kate has worked as a journalist and communications specialist in both the public and private sectors. Now, she brings her passion for storytelling, communication expertise, and experience in relationship management to consistently deliver compelling stories, products, and guidance to Syntax clients. Before joining the Syntax team, Kate was a producer at CBC’s The Current — one of the most listened-to radio programs in Canada — where she dove into complex issues and conflicts, delivering segments on stories of national and international significance.

Over her six years at CBC, Kate worked across national current affairs radio and local news, leading the production of a two-time award-winning digital interactive news feature. She also spent two years at Canada’s Department of National Defence, specializing in external and internal communications.

Kate holds a Master of Journalism degree from Carleton University and an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Ottawa.

Victoria McGlone
Head of Business Development

A senior business leader in the Canadian hi-tech sector, Victoria’s sales career spans 20+ years, in which she has contributed to the growth, execution, and exits of multiple technology companies in Ottawa. Victoria is the CEO and Founder of Three Cliffs Inc, a growth consulting agency in Ottawa, and the creator of The AE Playbook™ – the world’s fastest-growing training course for B2B salespeople. She works with start-ups and scale-ups in the technology sector to generate new revenue opportunities, plan for scale, and prepare them for accelerated growth.

Prior to joining Syntax, Victoria was Head of Revenue at PiiComm, Chief Operating Officer of the Kanata North Business Association, and Director of Global Sales at Veem and InitLive. She battled breast cancer in 2023 and is passionate about supporting other families at all stages of their diagnosis. Originally from Wales, Victoria holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Information Technology and a Master’s in Business Law from the University of Swansea.

Kayla Bryant
Senior Digital Media Strategist and Graphic Designer

Kayla is an experienced and skilled senior digital media strategist who has worked on a variety of multimedia projects ranging from corporate branding and custom illustrations to social media content, print advertisements, and more. In the past 13 years, Kayla has gained a wide range of experience working with many different industries and has done work for hundreds of clients in the petroleum, health, not-for-profit, and travel sectors, and more.

With five years’ experience in print, she is very knowledgeable about how to see a project to the end. She also brings hand-drawn illustration, photography, and animation skills to the table. In addition to creating logos and signage for Whitewater Region and the Village of Carp, Kayla has worked collaboratively on design for Inspiring Healthy Futures, the Ottawa Regional Cancer Foundation, and many others.

Vanessa Sorgard
Senior Digital Media Strategist and Graphic Designer

Vanessa has close to 20 years of experience in desktop publishing, graphic design, and art direction. She has worked on a variety of multimedia projects including marketing campaigns, print collateral, news page layout and design, signage, corporate branding, and more.

Vanessa began her career in local media and has since developed brand identities for many businesses and professionals in the health and fitness industry. Before joining Syntax, she was a senior designer and creative supervisor for Costco Wholesale Canada. In her 10 years with Costco, Vanessa was responsible for the design and development of high-end print products including brochures, magazines, packaging, and training manuals.

Justin Fronda
Animator and Graphic Designer

Justin, a multimedia and web design expert, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Information Technology from the Philippines. After swiftly transitioning into web design post-diploma, he honed his skills for five years before pursuing a diploma in Interactive Media Design in Canada.

Justin’s versatile skill set encompasses graphic, motion, and web design, evident in his significant contributions to an immigration firm where he managed social media presence and crafted marketing materials. His dedication to quality is evident in his successful track record across diverse projects and platforms.

Stacey Baker
Senior Graphic Designer, Print and Digital Media

A graphic design professional with 20 years of experience managing full-scale print and digital projects from their creative stages to completion, Stacey prides herself on providing clean, polished, cohesive work and meeting tight timelines in a kind and courteous manner.

Stacey is a graduate of the Graphic Design & Communications program at George Brown College and a recent graduate of video motion graphics through the accredited School of Motion. Over the past two decades, she has worked as an independent contractor for clients in retail, food and beverage, internal corporate communications, print and digital advertising, and branding.

Paula Boon
Copy Editor and Quality Assurance Specialist

Paula applies her keen eye and broad knowledge of the English language to developmental edits and proofreading for a wide variety of print and digital products such as reports, websites, presentations, and social media copy. She also provides background research for a number of Syntax projects.

A writer, editor, and researcher with extensive experience, Paula honed her skills through seven years as a copy editor for an award-winning community newspaper and spent more than two decades as an independent contractor for clients in print media, business, government, academia, the non-profit sector, and the arts.

Farhana Cynthia
Digital Marketing Strategist

A digital marketing professional with more than eight years of experience with national and international organizations in the public and private sectors, Farhana specializes in digital branding, advertising, content development, and copywriting. For several years, she has applied her expert knowledge of Google Ads, keyword research, social media ad targeting, and search engine optimization to achieve exceptional results for Syntax clients. Farhana is also an expert in developing digital strategies, monitoring campaigns, optimizing performance, and analyzing data. Prior to joining Syntax, Farhana worked for two leading telecom companies in Bangladesh that serve over five million customers as Loyalty and Partnership Manager and Brand Specialist. There, she successfully developed brand strategies and launched multiple 360-degree customer-centric campaigns.

Farhana has an undergraduate degree in Business Administration with specialization in Marketing from North South University in Dhaka, Bangladesh. She also has a postgraduate degree in Marketing Management and Digital Communication Management from Fanshawe College, London, ON

Jennifer Brigden
Senior Content Advisor

Jennifer is an award-winning writer and communications specialist with more than 15 years’ experience working at a mix of marketing firms, magazines, and national non-profits, including the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and Canada World Youth.

A hard-working and dedicated creative, Jennifer has written every possible type of content: websites, radio spots, TV commercials, brochures, magazine articles, pitches, letters, speeches, annual reports, and lots and lots of social media content. She is an expert at developing concepts and brand work, and she knows from experience there is nothing like growing an idea from an inkling into an ambitious campaign.

Vanessa Baillie
Operations Manager

Vanessa is a meticulous, task-driven executive assistant with more than 25 years of administrative experience in managing client-centric office operations. She is equipped with an exceptional ability to facilitate all aspects of internal and external communications, and to support day-to-day administrative, financial, and operational functions by working collaboratively with her colleagues. She has a proven talent for aligning business objectives with comprehensive administrative knowledge to achieve maximum operational impacts, conserve time, and boost efficiency.

Prior to joining Syntax, Vanessa was Director of Operations at the Kanata North Business Association. She also owned and operated a local virtual assistant business where she assisted VPs at Bell Canada and department heads at both The Ottawa Hospital and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

Jamie Contarini
Finance and Operations Support

With a decade of dedicated service in accounts receivable, Jamie brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her role at Syntax. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated a passion for financial analysis, problem-solving, and leveraging technology to streamline processes. She also uses her excellent interpersonal skills to build strong relationships with clients, vendors, and team members.

Jamie’s adeptness at data management and insightful reporting is central to her approach, enabling her to uncover valuable insights and drive informed decision-making. The Syntax team appreciates her meticulous attention to detail, collaborative approach, and commitment to excellence in support of the firm’s financial and operational objectives.

Mackenzie Houston
Senior Strategist

Mackenzie brings to the Syntax team over six years of experience in creating communication strategies, developing marketing plans, managing events, and creating lasting partnerships. She has worked with various clients, locally and nationally, within the health, recreation, non-profit, tourism, and entertainment industries. With a keen eye for details, Mackenzie thinks about the big picture and identifies processes to execute any project with maximum effectiveness.

A graduate of the University of Mary in Bismarck, North Dakota, Mackenzie holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication, Public Relations and two minors in Marketing and Advertising. She completed her education as a scholar athlete and received the Beverly Huschka Communication Leadership award as a junior.

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