Who We Are

Uptown Waterloo BIA Staff

The Uptown Waterloo BIA has four staff members: an Executive Director, who reports to the Board of Directors; and a Marketing & Communications Manager, Program & Placemaking Manager and Events & Outreach Manager, who report to the Executive Director. Learn more about them below.

Tracy Van Kalsbeek (she/her)

Tracy Van Kalsbeek (she/her)

Executive Director

Tracy joined the Uptown Waterloo Business Improvement Area (BIA) as Executive Director in April 2018 after three and a half years as the Executive Director at the Stratford Perth Community Foundation. She has also been a project Manager for Manulife’s Philanthropy & Sponsorships team, Manager of Marketing & Communications at the Kitchener Waterloo Community Foundation (KWCF) and Program Manager for Junior Achievement. Tracy is an avid volunteer within the community and has chaired and sat on many Boards and Committees over the years. Her current positions include: Trust and Council member of the Royal Highland Fusiliers, member of Oktoberfest’s Advisory Committee, member of the TORSTAR Advisory Council, member of the KWCF Grant Committee, Grant Committee member for the Ontario Trillium Foundation and Board member and Chair of Waterloo Regional Tourism Marketing Corporation.

Jane Barkley (she/her)

Jane Barkley (she/her)

Marketing & Communications Manager

Prior to joining the Uptown Waterloo BIA in 2021, Jane founded IM@Events, managing social media for numerous large events and festivals as well as working with businesses across many sectors to improve their digital literacy and efforts. Jane was also previously a professor of Social Media Marketing at Conestoga College, and is a speaker, and writer with a background in English Literature. Her love for writing is what brought her into the digital environment over a decade ago where she has constantly strived to develop social media intelligence, standards and ethics. Jane is an active community member who has worked with several organizations over the years both as a volunteer and Board member. Jane originally built her personal brand around supporting local and is thrilled to bring her passion for this into her role with the Uptown BIA.

 

Dawne Taylor-Gilders (she/her)

Dawne Taylor-Gilders (she/her)

Events & Outreach Manager

Prior to starting work with the BIA in 2019, Dawne owned snapd KW Media for 13 years, and is passionate about photography and community. Dawne is excited to incorporate these passions into her role as Events & Outreach Manager and to continue cultivating positivity in her community. Dawne also gives her time as a board member for the Centre In the Square as well as a PFAC (Patient Family Advisory Committee) at the WHLIN.

 

Diego Almaraz De La Garza (he/they)

Diego Almaraz De La Garza (he/they)

Program & Placemaking Manager

Originally from Mexico City, Diego is a passionate urbanist who is inspired by finding opportunities to transform cities into lively and inviting places. In 2008, he decided to move to Canada to pursue his passion and study Urban Planning at the University of Waterloo. Since then, he has gained nearly 10 years of professional experience as Planner and Urban Designer in the public and private sectors. Before joining the Uptown Waterloo BIA in 2021, Diego consulted on urban design and placemaking initiatives through his firm Shared Places. He has been an Uptown Waterloo resident since 2010 and has always looked for opportunities to contribute to the community, such as serving as Chair for the Uptown Vision Committee from 2019 to 2021. As Chair, he led the creation of the Uptown Vision 2030 document which aims to inspire the continued evolution of Uptown into an inclusive and vibrant community. At the Uptown Waterloo BIA, Diego is responsible for the delivery of different BIA programs and the implementation of placemaking and beautification projects.

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