Meet Debbie Bodkin
Debbie Bodkin is a one of a kind speaker, who inspires audiences to take action
Whether she is speaking about her work as a human rights investigator or as a mental health advocate, her expert storytelling captivates audiences with lived experiences of human resilience, strength and kindness in the midst of crisis and trauma.
Debbie worked for NATO, United Nations, the Canadian Inquiry into Missing & Murdered Women and other Non-Government Organizations.
Working in Kosovo, Chad, Sudan, Rwanda, the Ukraine and Bangladesh, Debbie listened to countless stories of the worst of human cruelty and suffering, but was continually inspired by the kindness, hope and strength she discovered in the victims she interviewed.
Debbie’s honesty, personal approach and heart-felt contribution creates a dynamic and unforgettable experience for all who are involved.
Debbie's Experience & Overseas Missions
The Public International Law and Policy Group, Bangladesh
National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, Canada
Mental Health Commission Canada
Ukraine Election Mission, Ukraine
Waterloo Regional Police Services, Canada
Detective: Criminal Investigations Branch, Drug Investigations Branch, Undercover Operator, Witness Assistance and Relocation Officer.
Constable: Uniform Patrol.
Canadian Centre for Genocide Studies, Rwanda
United Nations, Commission of Inquiry, Sudan
Coalition for International Justice, Chad
International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia, Kosovo
Tolerance - Understanding - Empathy
As a female in the male dominated career of policing, Debbie thought she had mastered the art of being tough and keeping it together. She had gained the respect of her male colleagues and withstood heart-breaking case details. She thought that she had heard and witnessed the worst of the worst and was okay.
But, one day she hit her breaking point and had some trouble keeping all her emotions intact. Her carefully monitored tough shell crumbled. She suffered from depression and post-traumatic stress. In time she discovered that counselling and talking about her experiences helped her heal her psychological wounds.
When an unplanned opportunity presented itself, Debbie decided to take early retirement. Her mental health experience had taken a toll on her so when her OPP husband was promoted and transferred to a new location in 2011, she retired as a Sergeant after 24 years of policing and moved to Bruce County.
After taking some time to heal, Debbie began to pursue other ventures. She began studying mental illness and taking as many related courses as possible. She became involved with the Canadian Mental Health Association for Grey Bruce as a Director and President on the Volunteer Board, began to instruct the Mental Health First Aid course created by the Mental Health Commission of Canada and became a facilitator of the Wings of Change Peer Support group for First Responders.
She also became a passionate public speaker on the topics of Global Citizenship based on her police and overseas experiences and on Mental Health based on her personal experience and the mental health studies she pursued.
"Sound judgement, empathy, attention to detail and knowledge of the requirements of international humanitarian law ... patience, understanding and tolerance ... Ms. Bodkin has displayed these attributes and met these demands in a thoroughly professional manner.”
—Chief Investigator, United Nations Commission of Inquiry for Darfur
Awards and Accolades
Officer of the Year Award
NATO Medal For Service in Kosovo
The Globe's Nation Builder (Nominee)
Debbie In Action
Fanshawe College Interview
Darfur Speech Queens Park
Debbie has done work with ...
Motivate Your Audience to Action
Debbie’s workshops, trainings and keynote speeches will challenge engrained perspectives, end stigma and leave the audience transformed and inspired to create change in the world.
Mental Health Advocacy
Equip your staff or community with mental health awareness, recognize warning signs and changes in behaviour. Learn how to respond and guide individuals to appropriate resources and support. Help end the stigma.
Explore what it means to be a global citizen.
Develop and grow global thinking skills necessary for the 21st century. Call your audience to action.
Let's stay in touch!
Follow Debbie’s adventures and learn more about mental health and global citizenship.