Debra A.  Harkins Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Debra A. Harkins

Associate Professor of psychology
Suffolk University

Associate professor of psychology at Suffolk University in Boston MA teaching Community Psychology, Social justice, race and ethnicity, History and Systems and Voices in Conflict. Community based Action research areas include race, social class, inequality, poverty, homelessness, empowerment, and service-learning. Consulting serving NFPs and for profit organizations on issues of executive coaching, strategic planning, team building, diversity and succession planning.


an executive coach and consultant, specializing in leadership development for women and non-profit human service organizations. In 2007, she founded Leading Change, a leadership development coaching and consulting firm. Debra’s leadership model includes five basic areas: empowerment, vision/systems thinking, emotional intelligence, strength based communication, and relationship building. She has worked with teachers, supervisors, managers, directors and C-suite executives–both men and women–from small to large organizations. A skilled facilitator and workshop leader, Debra has led leadership, diversity, communication, management, strategic planning, customer service, and negotiation workshops for many organizations. She has consulted and led a social media team for a large corporate client leading to significant ROI. She has received awards and honors from Who’s Who among American teachers, American Women, the YMCA Spirit Award and Excellence in Graduate teaching.

During her career she co-founded a manufacturing business, has held management positions in academia and worked in nonprofit organizations. Debra is a member of the APA Division of Society for Community Research and Action and Organizational Development Learning Group. She is a member of the National Organization of Women’s (NOW) subcommittee to combat racism and a GLBT safe zone trainer.

She teaches college courses in social justice, race and ethnicity: conflict resolution and team building; group dynamics; self and identity; supervision and consultation; community psychology; and organizational psychology. She holds a PhD from Clark University in Psychology is an Associate professor of psychology at Suffolk University and is a licensed psychologist in Massachusetts.

Debra is a Certified Empowerment Coach with the Institute of Professional Empowerment Coaching. Debra has professional training in Leadership development, Assessing and Refining Leadership Style; Organizational Development; Conflict resolution; Teaching negotiation, Social justice mediation training, GLBT safe zone, Cross-cultural psychology; Restorative Justice, Tai Chi; meditation and Emotional Intelligence.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    My current interests include using action-based research and process consultation models with multicultural, underserved, and diverse communities. Specific interests working with communities include empowerment, social justice and organizational development. Our project team uses a narrative based and action based method to explore the psychosocial impact of race, homelessness, social class, and gender on organizational development in underserved communities.

Personal Interests

    Reading, walking, Tai Chi, yoga, reflexology, museums, plays, movies, spending time with family and friends.



Featured Title
 Featured Title - Alongside Community - 1st Edition book cover