Deborah’s career has spanned the public, private and non-profit sectors. With 20 years in executive and senior management roles, she has led philanthropic grant-making of more than $27 million annually and fundraised $47 million in annual campaign and government revenue.
Involved in strategic planning and community relations, Deborah was responsible for establishing the province-wide Better at Home seniors’ program and the United Way Public Policy Institute. She has led marketing, media relations, and strategic communication departments, worked as a speechwriter for corporate executives and cabinet ministers, and as a journalist.
Her roles have included Vice-President, Grants & Community Initiatives, Vancouver Foundation; Chief Operating Officer, United Way of the Lower Mainland; and Vice-President, University Relations, Royal Roads University. In addition to operating her own consultancy, Deborah has been a communications director with CIBC’s Global Human Resources Division and senior advisor/policy analyst to the Chairman and President of Ontario Hydro.
Deborah has taught as an associate faculty member and sat on numerous governance and advisory boards over the years. Now retired, she is currently a Board director and on the Programing Committee of the national Inspirit Foundation. She has an MA in conflict analysis & management and an undergraduate degree in journalism.
Having worked for community funders that grant to social services, health, research and education, I came to know of many hard-working agencies focused on mental health. Their programs and services differed, but their common cause was deeply-rooted challenges, systemic issues, and outcomes that could signal failure as much as success. Over time, we found that robust research, advocacy, and policy change was key to innovation in the community. The most promising initiatives were those that were multi-disciplinary, participant-informed, and driven by a willingness to learn. I see this echoed in Roots to Thrive. I am interested in the approach and how best to contribute based on my philanthropic and granting experience.