Who is Deb?
People have fascinated me since I was a kid pouring over ‘triumph of the human spirit’ books from my small town library. I felt such inspiration as heroes and heroines faced blizzards, droughts, poverty, immigration, bullying, prejudice, war, and genocide as well as inner struggles with identity, meaning, purpose and belonging. The abilities of ordinary people to thrive through developing clarity, courage, resilience, compassion, generosity, gratitude and connection captivated me. My belief in cultivating these core capacities continues to ground my work to this day, and is the foundation of my life’s intention and work to support human potential and development.
Given my deep curiosity and empathy, it followed that psychology was a natural field of study for me. I went on to earn three degrees, finishing with a Ph.D. in 1994, and build my own successful business providing assessments and therapy. However, by 2003, as I approached my 40th birthday, it was more and more undeniable that my life was out of balance – heavily favoring my commitments to my work and three children, I was overweight, out of shape and exhausted. I began to read about how the growing field of professional coaching was helping people like me discover what deeply mattered and what was preventing progress, and to develop new ways that gave them traction and success. With support, I shifted my priorities to cut back on work, and include time for self-care through friendships, being in nature, savoring music and creative writing, and focused on reliably moving, nourishing and resting my body. I created time and energy for these actions by downsizing houses, and living on less. Some of these choices were not easy, especially those affecting my kids, like changing neighborhoods and schools. But as I developed a longer wider view that held my own well-being as foundational to my commitments, including those of a good mother, I lost a lot of weight, literally and figuratively, and regained my vitality and contentment.
With my own transformation, I was inspired to go back to school with Integral Coaching Canada in 2005 through to 2008 to become certified as an Integral Master Coach, adding to my academic and embodied understanding of how adults can make sustainable and meaningful changes, for good. I learned powerful ways to understand how and why we can get stuck, despite our best efforts and intentions, and an effective and truly comprehensive method to kickstart traction and keep it going all the way through to real and lasting change. As a coach for senior students with Integral Coaching Canada, as well as executives taking their MBAs at Queen’s University, I also became adept at providing services over the phone and via secure video-conferencing, allowing me to work with people around the world – 15 countries and counting!
Clients describe me as energetic, down to earth, warm, nonjudgmental, frank, supportive, challenging, honest, humorous and respectful. I am also very practical and keen to use your valuable time effectively. People comment that my office in Ottawa is cozy and light, like a living room, which I hope helps them relax into a place where they can talk openly. Clients who access my services through secure video conferencing are amazed by how I am able to connect with care and perceptiveness from across the country and the globe. People of all backgrounds, races, religions, gender identities and sexual orientations are welcome in my practice.
Outside work, I enjoy spending time with my three young adult children and Airedale terrier, as well as family and old and new friends. I still love to read and write, and have recently been having fun re-exploring visual art. Making music playlists, teaching indoor cycling, running, biking, hiking, skiing and being in nature also contribute to a vibrant and joyful me.