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Chain of Command

  • Brenda Bouw
  • |
  • Sep 4, 2018

Debra Frazer, MBA ’84, is the Director General, Corporate Services, at the Ottawa Police Service, and is believed to be the only woman in the country to hold such a position in a major police service.

Chain of Command

Debra Frazer’s passion for logistics and operations stems from her upbringing as a self-described “army brat.” Her father was a Hercules pilot – a job that sent the family to live in different parts of Canada, as well as for a few years in Ghana.

“I grew up in the chain of command. Our family life always revolved around military aircraft operations. When my dad was in search and rescue, we waited to start family events until my father was back from finding someone,” says Frazer, an Ivey alumna who has been the Director General, Corporate Services, at the Ottawa Police Service for the past 18 years. Frazer is believed to be the only woman in the country to hold such a position.

Frazer, who grew up with four brothers (and no sisters), says she’s comfortable in a male-dominated environment – and with change. “I was always very adaptable,” says Frazer, who attended 13 different schools growing up, including the University of Waterloo where she got an undergraduate degree in urban and regional planning, followed by her MBA from Ivey.

It was while studying at Ivey that Frazer discovered her interest and strength in finance and logistics, which led her to take on roles managing budgets for the City of Nepean and then the City of Gloucester before joining the Ottawa Police Service as the director of financial services in 1995. Five years later, she was promoted to her current position, which involves providing strategic direction to a team of five senior managers, more than 325 employees, and managing a budget of more than $375 million.

“It’s a very challenging operational environment, plus you need to bring a strategic perspective to the table,” says Frazer. “Every day I use the knowledge I gained from Ivey about finance, logistics, human resources, organization development, and operations management… I don’t know if it was an accident or serendipity, but I’ve ended up in a role that’s well-suited to me. Plus, I can see the impact of the work I do on the street every day. You can’t beat that.”

Photo: Bryan A. McNally
Art Direction: Greg Salmela, Aegis