Deborah Gillis is President and CEO of CAMH Foundation. As a recognized thought leader on gender equality, diversity and inclusion, Deborah has dedicated her career to driving social change. Deborah’s unique blend of passion, strategic vision and entrepreneurial spirit is helping her lead CAMH Foundation in transforming how Canadians understand and address mental illness, in the workplace and in society.
Deborah put her ideals into practice in her previous role as President & CEO of Catalyst, a global non-profit that helps build workplaces that work for women. She advised some of the world’s most powerful CEOs and leading companies on how to accelerate and advance women into leadership.
Deborah began her career in the public sector, where her early work focused on employment equity, anti-racism and LGBTQI rights. She went on to become a consultant and practice leader with global professional service firms, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Grant Thornton, where she championed initiatives to mentor women. Deborah also worked in the Nova Scotia government, and stood as a candidate for elected office. It was during her time in politics that she first truly understood the power of role models—and the urgent need for more of them—to inspire girls and young women.
Deborah has received national and international accolades for her advocacy efforts and business achievements. In 2016, she was named as one of Canadian Business magazine’s 10 Most Powerful Business People and was awarded the Foreign Policy Association Medal. In 2017, she was appointed to the Canada-United States Council for Advancement of Women Entrepreneurs and Business Leaders and also accepted an honorary Doctor of Laws honoris causa from Cape Breton University for dedicating her life’s work to advocating for women’s rights and equality. She serves on the Board of Governors of St. Francis Xavier University.