Lesley Thompson is the Executive Director of Cornwall & The Counties Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC). She is also the Fund Manager for the Community Venture Capital Fund, a separate fund within the CFDC which aims to attract new investment and create globally competitive companies. Lesley acts as an advocate for Akwesasne, Cornwall, and the United Counties and promotes collaboration and partnerships between the three regions. Lesley is responsible for leading a high-caliber team who focus on administering small business loans and grants, supporting small business with referrals and advice, working with the communities on strategic planning and directly administers and manages a number of economic development projects and programs across the region.
One such program, developed in partnership with the late Christopher Thompson, is the Cross-Border Partnership Program which is an award winning Social and Economic Development change-maker dedicated to building stronger relationships between Akwesasne and the municipalities that surround it. The objectives of this program are to promote:
- A stronger unified voice for engaging with business and other levels of government.
- Stronger regional identity, relationships and sense of place.
- Cost savings when providing services due to higher efficiencies and less duplication.
- More opportunities for local business development and jobs.
- Ability to leverage the unique financial, human and physical capabilities of each partner
- Coordinated planning efforts to improve land use and land management (making room for growing populations and to attract new investors and citizens.)
- Coordinated planning efforts to aid in protecting resources and natural environments that are important to partner communities.
A stronger knowledge of our communities through a coordinated educational effort and through community workshops.
Lesley is a Graduate of the University of Guelph and has a background in politics, economics, commercial finance and entrepreneurship. Prior to serving the CFDC, Lesley was a Senior Account Manager with the Business Development Bank in Ottawa managing a portfolio valued at over $40Million. In her time with the CFDC, Lesley has grown the organization’s impact through increased lending and investment activity and involvement in a number of high priority regional economic and skills development initiatives.
Lesley sits on a number of Boards and Committee’s, including as the Chair of the Cornwall Region Entrepreneur, Artists, and Technologists Exchange (CREATE) (formally the Cornwall Innovation Centre), the Eastern Ontario Leadership Council, Heart of the City and the Southern Ontario Fund for Innovation Investment Review Committee. Lesley also sits as the Secretary/Treasurer for the Community Futures Eastern Ontario Network, the Cornwall Tourism Development Fund Advisory Committee and the Regional Rural Innovation Initiative Collaboration Review Panel, as well as the Food and Agriculture Advisory Committee.
As a leader, Lesley demonstrates compassion, perseverance, creativity and dedication. She values integrity, hard work, teamwork and collaboration above all.
On top of her career and volunteering, Lesley is raising her young son, Angus Thompson and owns and manages several rental properties. She invested in her first property at the age of 21 and has always helped young people understand the benefits of investing and living in the region. She has also spent time mentoring students at St. Lawrence College in Cornwall and through the SHAD Valley business plan competition in Ottawa.