Debra helped my neighbor and me negotiate a difficult situation when we were evicted from our Bay Area homes. I think of her as a guru. She’s strategic, but not at the expense of people. She’s resourceful at finding information or vetting an idea. She’s got solid business sense. She can draw someone out and then help them find good words to convey what they mean, describe themselves, or communicate. She’s honest and trustworthy; even though my upstairs neighbor didn’t know her she was skilled at talking to him and our landlord’s lawyer. She seeks efficient paths to the solution and avoids wasted or unnecessary effort. Her work is information-based more than some others I know; she has content expertise, negotiations skills and is not intimidated in the legal domain. She can figure out the back story/politics of any situation and navigate appropriately. She’s a pleasure to work with. People feel listened to, able to take action, and able to count on her to get done what she says she will or communicate/re-negotiate otherwise if needed. She’s willing to put others’ interests above or outside her own. I trusted her to speak for me and my neighbor, and ultimately, she helped create a mutually beneficial payment model that we all felt comfortable with. If someone is in crisis, they need someone reliable, who keeps their word, is compassionate, will cut through the muck to figure out what is essential and what is not essential to get done, will be honest and communicate well throughout the process/keep you updated, and always drive to next steps. She’s likely to say, “Have you considered…?” or “How could you get that information?”, etc. And respect their wholeness – not take things off their plate because they are not capable, but because they are immensely capable and need a thought partner, a calmer-in-chief, and someone who can share the plate to advance their efforts. That’s how I picture Debra in this role, and why it’s such an easy sell when I refer her.