Debbie’s Executive Director Blog
Debbie is a passionate Black feminist; an anti-racist and social justice advocate who has participated in and led community organizing through Ottawa Dyke March and Harmony House Women’s Shelter. In 2017, she was a recipient of a Femmy Award for her feminist and youth leadership in the Ottawa-Gatineau region. Her approach to community-building is empathetic, diplomatic and strong.
She also brings a wider perspective to her work with an M.A. in International Affairs and experience working at both Global Affairs Canada and Oxfam Canada. Her ability to apply international perspectives to queer and trans organizing in the national context is a huge asset for CCGSD in our programming and our advocacy.
Debbie is a first-generation Ghanaian-Canadian, Black cisgender queer woman. She draws heavily from Black feminist theory to pay homage to Black lesbian activists who have been trailblazers in social justice organizing. She believes that the lived experiences of the people from marginalized communities makes them the experts on their experiences and will actively fill in the gaps when it comes to adopting intersectionality framework into programming, advocacy, research and policies.
(Organizational) culture eats strategy for breakfast Debbie's Executive Blog Post #3 "Culture eats strategy for breakfast". I think I may have heard that phrase in the past and just buried it in my subconscious. However, the first time I heard the phrase and it really stuck with me was in October 2020 when speaking with a very important stakeholder. She knew that organizational change was important to me as the new Executive Director at CCGSD and was very open to sharing her external perspectives with me. “If you want to fix something, you want to know where to start,” she added. She was right. The vast majority of my onboarding process over the last 8 months has involved gathering perspectives like this from current and former staff, volunteers, members of our Board of Directors, community members, and representatives from other 2SLGBTQ+ organizations in Ottawa and across the country. This “listening tour”, thanks to the true honesty of those I spoke with, has all concluded on...
I can’t believe I am saying this, but one of my favourite parts of my new role as Executive Director has been the finance and accounting side. Yes, me….the girl who was a high school honour roll student with C’s in just math. The same girl who repeated Introduction to Economics *cough* amount of times in university is loving the numbers, financial planning, and discussions on market competition in the non-profit sector. I don’t know how this came to be (could be that I eventually did become good at economics), but I kind of love it! We knew early on when I joined the organization that focusing primarily on finances would be a top priority this fiscal year. We set annual goals at our first management retreat that were entirely finance-focused. We were dealing with all the uncertainty that the pandemic had put on the delivery of our work. I had to get comfortable with being uncomfortable really fast! As a result, Finance Fridays were born. Every Friday would be completely...
[image source: Hattie Redmond Women & Gender Center]Three months ago, I started this new adventure as the Executive Director at the Canadian Centre for Gender and Sexual Diversity (CCGSD). As a Black queer woman and feminist, and someone who truly values the importance of community, I understand the significance of taking this role. I have big shoes to fill and a lot of eyes are watching us to see what happens next! No pressure, right? I am in a unique position having joined this organization in the middle of a pandemic. As a result, the future of CCGSD is a lot of what I have been thinking about! I am thinking of the future of our fundraising, our programs, and how we engage with those we serve. This is an isolating time for 2SLGBTQ+ youth and manyare looking to maintain a connection with us for a sense of belonging. It is so important as the country moves to recovery, that policymakers are reminded that the issues related to diversity, including gender and sexuality, are...