Our People

Kimanda Jarzebiak

With over 23 years as a communications and government relations consultant, Kimanda leads Ascent’s public affairs practice. After holding positions in conflict resolution at the BC Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, and as an Assistant to a BC Member of Parliament, Kimanda joined a crisis communications consulting firm in 1994. Since then, she has provided communications and government relations assistance to a range of organizations, from international coalitions to provincial health care associations. She has a strong track-record of success, particularly working with non-corporate entities, such as the BC Cancer Foundation, the Law Society of BC, the City of Dawson Creek, Genome British Columbia, the Rick Hansen Institute, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research, the Vancouver Prostate Centre, the Canadian Men’s Health Foundation, and the BC Tech Association. 

An experienced campaign manager, with a 90 percent win record, she often instructs at the Canadian Women’s Voters Congress campaign school, a non-partisan effort to bring more women to public office. Through their auspices, she has provided mentorship to a number of newly-elected BC MLAs, from all parties. She has also been a guest lecturer in the University of Victoria’s Masters in Public Administration program, specifically related to the intersection of political imperatives and the public policy process.

In her spare time, Kimanda spends time travelling, exploring and teaching climbing. She is a certified climbing instructor, a member of the Association of Canadian Mountain Guides, and is the Chair and Director of Operations of the not-for-profit Boulders Climbing Gym. http://www.climbtheboulders.com

Michael Gardiner

Michael Gardiner is an Associate of Ascent Public Affairs, and the head of his own consulting firm (MG Strategies), which is one year old.

In this past year, his focus has been on Alberta public affairs,  working with Telus, Tolko, Anglo American Mines and the Canadian Association of Oil Drilling Companies, and LifeLabs. Projects have ranged from providing advice and strategy on procurement design and participation, to ongoing relationship building, to finding mutually beneficially outcomes for a client and the government of Alberta.

Michael was the lead architect and campaign director for John Horgan’s unopposed leadership bid. He then worked with Horgan as Executive Director of the BC NDP for two years, where he put in place the leadership team that delivered the NDP’s success in the recent election, and recruited many of the successful candidates. Michael also recently served as war room director for Tom Mulcair in the recent federal election, building relationships with New Democrats across Canada. Michael previously served as communications director for Carole James leadership campaign, and was her lead writer in the 2005 campaign.

Michael has also worked as a partner in a boutique advertising firm, and as the Vice-President Marketing of a life safety technology startup, where he lobbied extensively in Washington, DC. Michael’s experience and background have him uniquely positioned to understand business and organizational needs in the government relations environment, and to understand how New Democrats think.

Geoffrey Ingram

geoff

Geoffrey (Geoff) Ingram is a government relations specialist who joined Ascent in the spring of 2016. His career began in Victoria, working for the BC Government Caucus. From there, he moved to Kelowna where he was the Regional Organizer during the 2013 election campaign.  Here he was responsible for 14 ridings, winning 11.   After the election, and Westside-Kelowna by-election, Geoff returned to Victoria where he spent the next 3 years serving as an assistant to a number of Ministers.  

He has held roles in the Ministry of Environment, Technology Innovation and Citizens’ Services and Jobs Tourism and Skills training. Geoff recently completed his MBA in Asia Pacific Studies and Investment at Royal Roads University, and has a Bachelor of Business Finance from Okanagan College.  In his spare time Geoff can be found playing video games, cycling, fishing, and enjoying all that British Columbia has to offer.