Breakthrough Leadership Consulting (Breakthrough) co-founders, Deb and Steve Hanmer, decided to combine their professional experience to work with public sector leaders seeking to approach their work differently.

The Breakthrough team is driven to help advance inclusive and connected communities, by building the capacity of leaders and citizens to solve problems together.

Breakthrough works across a diversity of public and private sector organizations committed to delivering the best for their clients and communities.

At Breakthrough, we believe in service to others and using our gifts and talents to be a blessing to individuals and the community in which we reside.

Connect with us, if you are ready to pursue your Breakthrough!


Our vision is to bring together communities to articulate a shared purpose across culture, geography and ideology. Our mission is to transmit each community stronger than before by building the capacity of organizations and institutions to create breakthrough results.

Deborah Hanmer, MPA, M.Ed

Deb Hanmer has dedicated her professional career to education and nonprofit leadership. In addition to her work as Breakthrough’s President, Deb serves as the proud Initiative Director of the Greater Rochester Parent Leadership Training Institute. Deb has driven programmatic change and innovation in organizations and communities across the Northeast. Before starting Breakthrough, Deb oversaw student support services for DC Prep in Washington, DC. Deb has deep expertise in leadership development, social-emotional learning, multi-tiered systems of support and parent/community engagement practices. Deb holds a Bachelors of Arts in History from Dartmouth College, a Masters of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University and a Masters in Educational Leadership from Cambridge College. Deb lives in Rochester, NY with her husband and two sons.

Steve Hanmer, MPA

Steve Hanmer has driven innovation and strategic planning efforts across all levels of government. Mr. Hanmer serves as a Senior Consultant at Breakthrough, helping to manage business development, accounts and contracts. In addition, Mr. Hanmer is a Public Administration faculty member at SUNY Brockport and Director of the Institute for Poverty Studies and Economic Development (IPSED). Mr Hanmer served in several roles in the US Department of Health and Human Services, organizing national conferences, supervising program grants at the state and local level, and managing process and outcome evaluation plans for over $125M in grant and contract appropriations annually. Mr. Hanmer started his career working in City Management to develop annual business plans and performance-based budgets that operationalized strategic goals and measured progress. Mr. Hanmer earned his Master of Public Administration from the Maxwell School at Syracuse University, and his undergraduate degree in Environmental Geology and Policy Studies from Syracuse University.



We believe that every problem has a solution. We bring energy, humor and hard work to the table to continually refine the right solution.


We believe that the best solution is the one that can be executed and consistently managed to meet our client’s goals.


We know that each organization is unique, and we seek to learn and understand first. We enter each engagement with the belief that our clients are committed to growth and excellence.


We believe in service to others and using our gifts and talents to be a blessing
to individuals and the community in which we reside.


We believe in bringing in a diversity of voices to provide our clients with sound advice and perspective to create an impactful solution.


We keep abreast of the most current research in our field and innovative practices from around the country that have proven results.


We take pride in delivering the very best for our clients and those that they serve.