Meet Our Team of Experts | Strategy Solutions

The professional facilitators at Strategy Solutions are dedicated to creating healthier communities through helping organizations analyze, envision, transform, implement and evaluate various processes in order to achieve the desired goals. Our team has extensive experience in working with a wide variety of organizations in a plethora of different industries including, but not limited to, Nonprofits, Faith-Based, Privately Held Companies and Public Corporations. Click on the images below to learn more about each individual team member.

1991
'91
1991

Completed “first ever” Erie County Community Health Needs Assessment as a “special project” requested by Hamot Health System’s CEO, Dana Lundquist.

'92
1992

Attended leadership Erie; began as “rent-a-planner” for Hamot Hospital’s CEO .

'93
1993

Became Associate Director of Leadership Erie; Seeds of Strategy Solutions sown when telling John that “a strategic plan for Economic Development in Erie County was accomplishable in my professional lifetime, but it might take that long,” dedicating effort to the task.

'93
1993

Completed Erie County Health Status Indicator Project with team of Gannon University Graduate Students:  identified 18 relevant health status indicators, most of which had no data collection methods.

'94
1994

Completed “first ever” Erie County Behavioral Risk Factor Survey and implemented plan to expand/automate health status indicator project through the Erie Health Care Cost Summit  - the private/public partnership model later recognized by PA Department of Health and US Department of Heath and Human Services and adopted by the state of Pennsylvania during the Ridge administration as the model for the State Health Improvement Planning Districts (SHIPs).

'96
1996

Completed new Township of Fairview visioning and planning process. Seeds of Strategy Solutions planted as training/facilitator for economic development projects and supporting healthy communities development.

'97
1997

Presented Community Visioning and Planning Case Study (Township of Fairview) at International Association of Facilitators Conference.

Explored creating the Institute for a Healthy Community as a joint venture between Hamot and Mercyhurst College.

Adjunct Faculty at Gannon University in the Master of Public Administration program, teaching Strategic Planning, Research Methods and Program Development.

'98
1998

Strategy Solutions incorporated to start working on community and economic development projects

'99
1998-1999

Completed several projects for Northwest Regional Planning and Development Commission including water and sewer infrastructure, tourism promotion and economic development evaluation and expansion as well as completed initial Corry Vision project and conducted Erie Plastics Strategic Planning.

Explored joint venture with Hamot to develop what became Strategy Solutions as a community/regional Management Service Organization.

'00
2000

Strategy Solutions full time focus for Debra Thompson.

Contracts with Hamot, Corry Hospital and Erie Plastics.

'01
2001

Completed Cleveland Clinic Health System Community Health Needs Assessment.

Facilitated planning sessions for Healthcare Ventures Alliance.

'02
2002

Start working on Civic Coordinating Committee project (C-Cubed) as the mayor and county executive (2 Ricks) step up to lead effort.

Completed Erie County Early Care and Education Plan; initiated Success by 6 program for United Way.

Started to work with Northwest and North Central PA Workforce Investment Boards to envision start of Industry Partnerships by conducting needs assessments and gap analyses to understand employer training needs.

'03
2003

Completed Economic Development Strategic Plan for Erie County for C-Cubed.

Completed initial training needs gap analysis for the Northwest PA Workforce Investment Board.

Named one of the Best 50 Women in Business in PA.

Attended inaugral class of Coro Women in Leadership program in Pittsburgh.

Explored merger/consolidation with Center for Nonprofit Services; decided to remain independent entity.

Helped Fr. Larry Richards organize and launch Reason for Our Hope Foundation, international evangelization ministry.

Started as Administrator of the Erie Community Fund Drives Committee.

Presented at the National Communicators Network of Women Religious Conference.

Completed BoardSource Trainer Certification.

'04
2004

Completed Coro Center for Civic Leadership Trainer certification.

Established relationship with Forbes Fund in Pittsburgh.

Work on initial manufacturing industry partnership efforts with North Central and West Central for manufacturing and transportation
become trainer for Duquesne University Nonprofit Leadership Institute.

Complete GECAC Evenstart program evaluation; recognized by PA Department of Education as best practice.

Started working for PA Partners (state workforce assn)and other WIBs; developed innovative service models.

Started as trainer for the Basic Economic Development Course in PA for the Governor’s Action Team.

Became Contract Administrator for Erie Community Fund Drives Committee

'05
2005

Completed Erie County Capital Budget Prioritization Process.

Presented C-Cubed process at International Association of Facilitators Conference.

Worked on PA Mobility Project with Gannett Fleming (Public Involvement Component wins Civil Engineering Award).

Developed and launched “get sales” (prospect generation/product market positioning study) product.

Completed initial project for Transportation Education and Economic Network (TEEN) Industry partnership

'06
2006

Expanded Industry Partnership work to include plastics, health care.

Joined adjunct faculty in Duquesne University Master of Organizational Leadership program.

Completed strategic planning process for Allegheny Land Trust, redefining SSI’s strategic planning model.

Developed and received $750K Compassion Capital Grant for Youngstown, OH faith based collaborative; implemented capacity building training program.

Developed comprehensive strategic plan for ministry for Western PA Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church.

Start working with the Bard Group to support health care/physician partnerships.

Facilitate Community Health Needs Assessment for Carlisle Health and Wellness Foundation.

Facilitated public involvement for land use and transportation studies in collaboration with Gannett Fleming and Mackin Engineering.

Complete licensed consultant training for PA Standards for Excellence®.

'07
2007

Expanded industry partnerships to include metals, food processing, electronics.

Started positioning Strategy Solutions as an “evaluator” of CHNA projects.

Finalist for the international Stevie Award for Women in Business in the Technology Innovation category.

Complete licensed consultant training for National Standards for Excellence®.

'08
2008

Completed Community Threads project for Forbes Fund in Pittsburgh.

Develop CHNA evaluation processes, CHNA capacity building training methods.

Named finalist for Woman of the Year in Erie.

Presented ACHI webinars with Joe McClellan, MD on CHNA and community impact.

Facilitated Clean Cities Coalition process for Northwest Georgia.

Facilitated early intervention strategic plan for Penn Hills, PA.

'09
2009

Work with Adirondak Health Network to complete first collaborative 6-county CHNA between hosptials and public health departments; developed capacity building data analysis and synthesis training for analyst team.

Completed 3 Rivers Wet Weather strategic/business plan.

Survived business takeover threat.

Conducted public involvement for Miami-Dade long range transportation plan (with Gannett Fleming).

Faciltiated strategic planning process for Borough of State College, PA.

'10
2010

Introduced to Hospital Council of Western PA and initiated strategic planning process.

Completed volunteer study for Luthern Immigration Refugee Service (first project to come from a web search).

Provided sub contract support for Navigant Health.

Facilitated sustainable communities projects for NW Georgia Planning Commission.

Started working with PennDOT on the Competitive Enterprise project.

'11
2011

Implemented training series on Community Health Needs Assessment for Hospital Council of Western PA.

Faciitated community engagement process and assisted with the grantmaking policy development for the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority.

Procured Social Innovation Grant funding for Great Lakes Building Trades Pre-Apprenticeship program; project manager for program implementation.

Redesigned board structure and completed board training and manual development for Pennsylvania Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Certified as “Immunity to Change” Facilitator.

'12
2012

Presented at the Association for Community Health Improvement conference in Denver, CO.

Faciitated strategic planning process for Goodwill of Southwestern PA; achieved commendation from CARF International as best practice.

Completed Strategic Restructuring Training in the LaPiana model offered by the Forbes Fund in Pittsburgh.

'13
2013

Developed and implemented integrated capacity building training, consulting and coaching model for Jewish Healthcare Foundation grantees.

Presented at the National Communicators Network of Women Religious Conference in Baltimore, MD.

'14
2014

Moved Erie office to WQLN building; 8425 Peach Street.

Moved Pittsburgh office with Hospital Council; 500 Commonwealth Avenue, Warrendale, PA.

Presented at the Association for Community Health Improvement Conference in Orlando, FL.

'15
2015

Presented at the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals conference in Las Vegas, NV.

2019
Debra  Thompson

Debra Thompson

President

Debra Thompson is President of Strategy Solutions. In this position, she provides strategic planning facilitation, training and planning, and research project management services to organizations and communities. Debra is an adjunct faculty member at Duquesne University where she teaches Organizational Development, Program Development/Evaluation, Leading Organizational Change and Community Leadership in the Master of Organizational Leadership program. She was also an adjunct professor at Gannon University for 10 years where she taught Strategic Planning, Research Methods and Program Development. She is a certified trainer, consultant and peer reviewer for both the PA and National Standards for Excellence in Nonprofit Ethics and Accountability

Prior to this position, she served as Director of Planning for Hamot Health Foundation and Corry Regional Health Systems where she was responsible for strategic planning, market research, marketing information systems, as well as affiliate and community planning support. Throughout her tenure at Hamot, Debra had the opportunity to work with Health Care Outlook, a consortium operated by Dr. Robert Blendon, Director of the Harvard School of Public Health; Humphrey Taylor, Chairman of Lou Harris & Associates; and Ian Morrison, President of the Institute for the Future. From this and other strategic planning experiences, Debra created a unique approach to data collection, analysis and facilitation that is successful for individual organizations, systems and communities. Her project work and clients have been recognized as best practice by the International Economic Development Council, the International Association of Facilitators, the PA and MD Workforce Development Associations, Council on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), US News and World Report, US Department of Health and Human Services, Ohio Department of Health and by the Pennsylvania Departments of Health, Welfare and Education.

A graduate of Villa Maria College with a B.S. in Marketing, Deb received her Master of Business Administration from Gannon University. She has also completed advanced training in Strategic Planning, Quantitative and Qualitative Market Research, Total Quality Management and Leadership Development, Systems Thinking & Facilitation (through affiliates of MIT) and is a 1993 graduate of Leadership Erie. She was a member of the 2003 inaugural class of the Coro Center for Civic Leadership “Women in Leadership” program in Pittsburgh, and is also a Coro Certified Trainer.