About  |  Team

Leadership Veteran is an 8-month long Post 1 Foundation program taught by University of Denver faculty, content experts from Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) and leaders from the veteran community. 

The program is designed to provide current and emerging leaders serving within VSOs the opportunity to enhance their non-profit management, leadership, communication and collaborative skills. At the end of the program, participants will have enhanced skills, resources and network to better respond to the current and future challenges of the veteran community. 

build connections
Participants will build strong connectors within the cohort, with a Leadership Veteran culture that values inclusiveness and welcomes all diverse voices. We treat all with respect and expect participants in the program to share those values.


  • To provide Veteran Service Organizations (VSOs) of all sizes with a solid knowledge foundation and professionalism of non-profit operations and management.
  • Bring VSOs together for efficient collaboration with cross referral and solution services delivery to their constitutes.
  • Provide VSOs with tools and skills for partnership development

VSO contributions

  • Participating VSOs will share their best practices and service offerings.
  • Team building and solution brainstorming activities
  • All participates will develop increased collaboration efficiency through relationships building
  • Improved communications within the VSO community
  • Unaffiliated VSO participants meet prospective volunteer opportunity organizations.

Curriculum and schedule

Sessions are led and taught by experienced non-profit management faculty at the University of Denver, University College, Nonprofit Leadership Program and leaders from the business, veteran and non-profit community. Full-day sessions from 9am-4pm are held at the University of Denver campus (unless otherwise noted) on the 2nd Friday of the month from March, 2022-October, 2022. Session dates and topics:

  • Friday, March 11: Orientation and Community Building, VIP Reception
  • Friday, April 8: Nonprofit Operations and Volunteer Management
  • Friday, May 13: Financial Management 
  • Friday, June 10: Leadership Styles and Fundraising Part 1
  • Saturday, June 25: Dragon Boat Retreat with Adaptive Adventures (offsite location TBA)
  • Friday, July 8: Fundraising Part 2 with Practical Applications and Women’s Veteran Issues
  • Friday, August 12: Social Media and Working with the VA, Field Trip: Operation Equine 2-4pm
  • Friday, September 9: Event Management and Media Relations (offsite location TBA)
  • Friday, October 14: Graduation with Reception

Who Should Apply?

Current and emerging leaders serving within Veteran Service Organizations, or Veteran Supporters who want to make a greater impact for the Veteran community

Applications are now closed. The application process for the 2023 cohort will be announced Fall, 2022.

Leadership Veteran spots are limited and competitive.


We want to ensure the Leadership Veteran program is accessible and affordable. Tuition is based on a sliding scale:

$995 for highly resourced organizations

$750 for mid-level resourced organizations

$495 for entry-level resourced organizations

Scholarships may be available

get involved

If you are interested in being a volunteer for the program, or interested in being a partner/sponsor, please email Michael Mitchel.

Drake Carpenter, VSO Director of Relations
Michael Mitchel, Post 1 Executive Director

Thanks to our Partners

The Leadership Veteran Team

Headshot of Michael Mitchel, Executive Director of Post 1 Foundation

Michael Mitchel

Program Director

The Leadership Veteran concept came after Michael participated in Leadership Denver 2017 and reflecting on his learning curve as the Executive Director of VFW Post 1. With no previous experience, he learned basic non profit operations through the “School of Hard Knocks” and felt that a program was needed to provide non profit best practice education to VSOs that would facilitate their success. 

Denise Burkhardt King

Program Advisor

Denise’s program management of Leadership Denver is the template from which Leadership Veteran was formed.

As Leadership Denver’s Program Director, her invaluable experience and insight in program and curriculum development will guide the development of Leadership Veteran to fruition.

Denise holds an MS in Adult Education and Human Resources Development.

She also serves on the national board for the Association of Leadership Professionals and the Governor’s Commission on Community Service.

Drake Carpenter

VSO Director of Relations

A graduate of the University of Denver and veteran of the US Army NCO corp., Drake is an experienced project manager who currently works in sports marketing for a local Denver corporation. Drake’s 10 years of experience on nonprofit committees, as well as a diverse background of community involvement in the Denver area will contribute to Leadership Veteran’s goals of growth and VSO participation.

Holli Keyser

Communications and Marketing

Holli is a program advisor for Leadership Veteran and directs all communications and marketing strategies for the program. 

As a military family member, Holli is passionate about serving those who have served and is currently a board member for the Post 1 Foundation. She was a founding coordinator of the Denver Metro Chamber and CU’s Boots to Suits program, helping veteran military students transition from the classroom to the workforce, and was instrumental in opening the CU Anschutz Steven A. Cohen Military Family Clinic in Greenwood Village. In 2017, the VFW Post 1 presented Holli the Citizen of the Year Award for public relations and outreach support.