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Debra A. Thompson, M.B.A.

Adjunct Instructor
School of Leadership and Professional Advancement
Community Leadership

by phone appointment
Phone: 814.397.5241



M.B.A., Marketing, Gannon University, 1990
B.S., Business Administration, Villa Maria College, 1981

Debra Thompson is President of Strategy Solutions, Inc. In this position she provides strategic planning, training, facilitation, research and project management services to organizations and communities who want to grow and thrive. A graduate of Villa Maria College with a B.S. in Marketing, Debbie 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.

Prior to this position, Debra was the Director of Corporate Planning at Hamot Health Foundation. 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 by the International Economic Development Council, the International Association of Facilitators, US News and World Report, US Department of Health and Human Services and by the Pennsylvania Departments of Health, Welfare and Education.

Debra is on the adjunct faculty of Duquesne University where she teaches organizational development and program development/evaluation in the Masters 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 has also completed the BoardSource Board Governance Training program and is a certified trainer, consultant and peer reviewer for the Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations Standards for Excellence Program. Chosen as one of Pennsylvania's Best 50 Women in Business 2001, she was honored as one of Erie's "Dynamic Dozen" of Women Making History in 2003 and was a finalist for the International Stevie Award for Women in Business in 2006 in the Technology Innovator category. Debra was also a finalist for the Woman of the Year in Erie, 2008.

  • Leadership, Community, and Change
  • Organizational Design and Development
  • "Best Practices in Nonprofit Compensation." Standards for Excellence Institute Newsletter, October 2013
  • "Best Practices in CEO Evaluation." Standards for Excellence Institute Newsletter, Oct. 2012
  • "Entrepreneur" (Navigating the Organizational Lifecycle), Erie Small Business Alliance Magazine, Spring 2010
  • 6-part "primer" on Strategic Planning, E-Magnify, Seton Hill University's National Education Center for Women in Business, 2005
  • "Strategic Planning for the Not-for-Profit Executive" published by New York Association Executives Magazine, April, 2004, and PA Association Executives Magazine, 2007
  • "Strategic Planning Helps a Company Mold A Sustainable Future" published by Manufacturing Today Magazine, March/April 2004
  • Association for Community Health Improvement, 2009, 2012
  • Pennsylvania Planners Association, 2012
  • Pittsburgh Planned Giving Association/AFP, 2009, 2012
  • Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations, 2008
  • Association of Pennsylvania Municipal Managers, 2008
  • Alliance for Nonprofit Management 2007
  • Maryland State Workforce Development Association, 2005
  • PA Historical and Museum Commission, 2005
  • International Association of Facilitators, 2005, 1998
  • Human Resources Management Association of NW PA, 2004
  • Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, 2004
  • PA Economic Development Association, 2004
  • Women's Economic Development Outreach Tour, 2004-2007
  • National Association of Women Business Owners, 2004, 2006
  • National Communicators Network of Women Religious, 2003, 2013
  • Development District Association of Appalachia Conference, 2003
  • PA Governor's Action Team Economic Development Conference, 2002-12
  • Association of Fundraising Professionals, 2002, 2005
  • United Way of Erie County Project Blueprint, 2000-2008
  • Center for Non-Profit Services/NP Partnership, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007-9
  • OptionFinder User Conference, Snowbird, UT, April 1997, Orlando, FL 2001