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Government Relations
and Public Affairs

Helping you put your message in front of the right people.

Government relations can be frustrating and time-consuming, and Syntax Strategic has a proven track record helping clients resolve complex government relations and regulatory issues.

Syntax provides a range of government relations services at the federal, provincial, and municipal levels. Our team of experts provides clients with insight and intelligence, building lasting relationships with government stakeholders that can be leveraged for strategic purposes.

Our team also provides public affairs services to clients who want to complement their government relations approach with public relations tactics. Working with our media relations and digital practice experts, we help clients surround their government audience with a consistent and persuasive message using organic, earned, and paid communications.

Syntax’s Government Relations and Public Affairs team members have worked for all major Canadian political parties and have experience at the corporate and not-for-profit levels engaging with government stakeholders.

Meet 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.

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 several 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.

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.

Jonelle Istead

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

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.

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.

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