Who We Are

At Wellington Advocacy we help you win with our proven method of blending network and knowledge. 

We are a national full-service public affairs team with decades of combined professional experience serving as senior advisors in Canada’s highest political offices. 

Our job is to create a comprehensive plan to get you noticed. Leveraging our unique relationships and background, we help you develop your story, reach more people and execute fresh engagement strategies. Our services include government and stakeholder relations, campaign services, digital advocacy, strategic communications and executive coaching, and international development.

Our Team

Ann Penner
Director, Trade Practice
Areas of Expertise: Trade Negotiations, Trade Law/Government Regulations, Public Policy, Strategic Advisory, Stakeholder Engagement

Ann brings to Wellington Advocacy decades of comprehensive experience in the development/implementation of trade legislation, regulations, and policies at the domestic and international levels. While serving as a senior public servant in the Government of Canada, Ann has represented Canada at the World Trade Organization (WTO), the United Nations (UN), and at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC). Most recently, Ann served for over six years as a Permanent Member of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal (CITT) where she presided over complex cases in the areas of trade remedies, procurement, customs, and excise appeals. Ann also served as co-chair of the CITT Outreach Committee and helped to create the CITT Advisory Committee: a body of legal and industry representatives tasked with providing stakeholder insights and recommendations to the Tribunal. Prior to joining Wellington Advocacy, Ann has served as a strategic consultant for numerous high-profile clients on issues related to international trade policy and strategic communications.

Ann holds a PhD in Canadian Politics from Carleton University and has taught upper-year and graduate level courses in the areas of international trade law, trade negotiations, Canadian law, and public policy at two Canadian universities.
Zita Astravas
Vice President, Federal
Areas of Expertise: Government Relations, Public Policy, Strategic Communications, Media Relations, Issues Management, Stakeholder Engagement, Coalition Building

Zita is a seasoned public affairs professional with over 15 years serving in senior government and media relations roles at both the federal and provincial levels. She joins Wellington Advocacy after serving in a number of senior leadership roles in the Trudeau government, including as Director of Issues Management and a seasoned Advisor to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Zita has also served as Chief of Staff to the President of the King’s Privy Council and Minister of Emergency Preparedness, the Minister of Public Safety, and the Minister of National Defence, as well as in senior media relations roles for the Liberal Party of Canada, including during the 2015, 2019, and 2021 election campaigns. At the provincial level, Zita has served in numerous leadership roles under former Liberal Premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne, including as Director of Media Relations.
Nick Koolsbergen
Chief Executive Officer
As the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Wellington Advocacy, Nick draws on his 15 years of political experience across Canada to advise the senior leadership of some of Canada’s largest companies and associations. Prior to Wellington, Nick directed issues management for the Prime Minister of Canada, served as Chief of Staff to the former Premiers of British Columbia and Alberta, and as a political party Campaign Director.
Daniel Gordon
Chief Growth Officer
Areas of Expertise: Government Relations, Corporate Growth Strategy, Public Policy Development

Daniel served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Head of Policy to the Premier of Ontario, where he managed policy development and execution across government. Prior to this, Daniel worked in management consulting at a Big 4 consulting firm, where he advised Fortune 500 companies, private equity funds and pension funds on their investment decisions and growth strategies. Daniel holds an MBA from the Ivey Business School at Western University and is a CFA Charterholder.
Madison Cox
Chief Product Officer
Areas of Expertise: Government Relations, Public Policy, Strategic Communications, Stakeholder Engagement, Project Management, Corporate Strategy

Madison brings over a decade of public affairs experience in government relations, stakeholder engagement and strategic communications. Madison recently spent half a decade working in Ontario’s higher education sector where she served as chief of staff to the president of one of Ontario’s leading comprehensive universities. In this role she led revenue generating advocacy strategies and relationship building across all levels of government. Madison has also led communications strategies in support of former Canadian Cabinet ministers and heads of states from around the world while at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). Prior to this, Madison served as a political professional in the Office of the Prime Minister leading domestic events and the development and execution of strategic communications across numerous senior federal departments.
Andrea van Vugt

Areas of Expertise: Government Relations, Public Policy, Regulatory Development, Regulatory Approval, Strategic Communications, Stakeholder Engagement, Project Management, International Trade, Border Policy, Foreign Affairs, International Relations

Andrea has more than 20 years of experience working in the public and private sectors, advising some of North America’s largest businesses on bilateral and trilateral trade issues. Andrea was the Foreign Affairs and Trade Advisor to the Prime Minister of Canada where she played an instrumental role in the conclusion of the Canada-Europe trade negotiations. Andrea also served as Chief of Staff to the Minister of International Trade where she oversaw the conclusion of trade talks with Ukraine, Israel, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Andrea will navigate complicated transborder activities for your organization, including trade and tariff rules.