Agent of Change

Debbie Singh is someone who brings out the best in people while building out talent for a development agency working to end global poverty.

As vice president of organizational effectiveness at Plan International Canada, Singh works relentlessly to support staff to help bring children out of poverty through an organization operating in 69 counties. She says resilience is key to leadership and success is being able to put the needs of others beyond your own to shape the outcome for those impacted.

She lives by the phrase to make a difference in this world, you must first dare to be different. “When the truth needs to be spoken, when the work needs to get done, when the help needs to be offered…dare to make a difference,” she said.

Singh is a people person who consistently demonstrates the willingness to listen. Her colleagues describe her as a confident, compassionate, focused leader who they refer to as the catalyst. She drives change through the organization with thought or humility, not stopping to say “why” but rather “why not.”

At Plan International Canada, she is responsible for Organizational Effectiveness and cross cutting business leadership for Gender, Child Protection, Privacy and Security for the organization’s $220 million operations. She is sought out internationally for her expertise to lead and or support in these business areas.

Singh has created a unique customer learning platform for reaching staff members. Whether it is through a myXchange that leverages young talent, or a new myLeadership Edge suite with custom booster leadership sessions, she develops talent as an asset to the organization.

Singh’s professional background started in social services.  She spent time working with vulnerable populations providing counseling on life skills and empowerment. She delved into human resources to focus on policy to grow people in ways that supported leading growth organizations.

She has been active in her field, teaching for the HRPA, the professional organization for human resources in Ontario. She is passionate in providing the space and platform for young leaders to grow and currently mentors a few young CEO’s. Her colleagues say when you leave a conversation with Singh you can’t help but smile because she brings out something in you that you didn’t know was there.

“I have learned that success should be measured not by the position that you reach in life, but rather by the obstacles you have to overcome while trying to succeed along the way,” she said. Singh holds a BA from the University of Waterloo, and a masters and PhD from California State.