Deborah Morrish has dedicated most of her life to advocating for people in crisis – refugees just trying to obtain safety for themselves and their families. She is a renowned adjudicator, in addition to being a volunteer and a humanitarian consultant. She’s also a proud mother.
Deborah is a proponent of lifelong learning, having earned a number of degrees and certifications, including HBA, BEd, BSc and two master’s degrees. A former educator, she also earned the Management for Executives certificate from the Canada School of Public Service and a Diploma in Studies in French at La Sorbonne, Paris.
In addition, she holds an Alternative Dispute Resolution Certification Parts 1 & 2 in Toronto, Ontario.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
I have more than 20 years of experience working with experts and leaders in the judicial community. I lean on those contacts for advice and assistance in helping others.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I’m an early riser, and I think the morning is the best time to work, but I also have adapted to working at any time. That’s partly because of my international work, which has involved so much travel. I have become comfortable with working wherever and whenever it’s convenient — and sometimes when it’s not.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I’m committed to the protection of human rights all over the world, especially for refugees and migrants. This work isn’t possible without collaboration, and bringing an idea from the planning stages to execution is impossible without understanding how to convince other people to help you. The best idea still needs broad support, especially when you’re talking about international relief efforts.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Human rights is slowly becoming more accepted.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I like to write things down, usually in lists. I like the impermanence of writing something down versus immediately typing it up on my phone or computer. It gives me time to consider the idea before feeling like I have to share it. There’s also something more satisfying about crossing something off a hand-written list. I find that I accomplish a lot more this way.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would tell myself to be patient. We always want to make things happen immediately when we’re young, but the biggest successes come from consistent work over the long-term. It’s easy to get distracted when you feel like nothing is happening, but that’s exactly when you should stay the course.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I think that the pandemic will result in a more global consciousness about the issues that affect all of us, like the environment and education. Nobody agrees with me on that, and I understand why. It’s difficult to be optimistic these days.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I am a trained adjudicator, an expert in procedures, and an international speaker on humanitarian issues. I haven’t pursued a career in business. However, I think we can all learn to start from the network we already have. I try to nurture my connections to make new ones that are also meaningful and helpful.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Asking for referrals. Although we have incredible technology now to help us connect with others, I think the most powerful form of connection is still the referral. People want to hear from their networks, and they’re much less likely to respond to someone they’ve never heard of. Leverage the network you have already.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I think I need to be involved in implementation, not just development processes.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
An IT format that allows better communication between parties internationally.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Zoom has become an indispensable tool for me during the pandemic, as it has for many other people. I was using it to communicate with international colleagues even before Covid, but it’s even more important now.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would recommend Nelson Mandela’s “The Long Walk.”
- Be patient with yourself
- Write down your ideas and give yourself time to develop them
- Ask for referrals from people that respect your work
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.