About  |  Team

LV2022 Cohort

Leadership Veteran is an 8-month long Post 1 Foundation program taught by University of Denver faculty, content experts from Veteran nonprofits and leaders from the business, veteran and non-profit community. Applications are closed for the 2023/24 cohort.

The program is designed to provide current and emerging leaders serving within Veteran nonprofit the opportunity to enhance their non-profit management, fundraising, leadership, communication and collaborative skills. At the end of the program, participants will have enhanced skills, resources and connections 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.

  • Nonprofit education for thriving VSOs
  • Collaboration within our community
  • Engagement, learning, sharing with the larger nonprofit community


Those who are interested in working and/or volunteering at any organization that provides services or support to Veterans

  • Veteran nonprofit Staff and volunteers
  • Nonprofits whose constituents represents is at least 10% Veterans
  • Veteran Student Services Staff & Employer Support Group Members


  • Network, exchange ideas, best practices and experiences with peers
  • Learn new VSO approaches
  • Participant in team breakout opportunities: retreats, monthly projects, session engagements
  • Exposure to new connections, resources and opportunities
  • Future learning through advanced alum workshops

Thought Leadership

Topics range from trends in nonprofits, how foundations engage with grantees, and more

  • Fire side chats with community leaders:  C-level executives, elected officials, and other thought leaders
  • Engage with leaders from major foundations
  • Hear directly from local media and subject matter experts

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 communityFull-day sessions from 9am-4pm are held at the University of Denver campus (unless otherwise noted) on the 2nd Friday of the month from September, 2023-April 2024. There will also be an overnight retreat October 13-14, 2023 in Florissant, CO. 

Session Dates

  • September 8, 2023
  • October 13-14 Retreat, Florissant, CO
  • November 10, 2023
  • December 8, 2023
  • January 12, 2024
  • February 9, 2024
  • March 8, 2024
  • April 12, 2024

Session Topics

  • Orientation and Community Building
  • Nonprofit Operations
  • Board Governance
  • Volunteer Management
  • Financial Management 
  • Leadership Styles
  • Fundraising
  • Event Planning
  • Strategic Planning
  • Media Relations and Social Media
Past Class Guest Speakers
  • Chris Herndon, Denver City Council Member
  • Dace West, Denver Foundation Chief Impact Officer
  • Rob Martin, Boettcher Foundation Vice President
  • Kyle Clark, 9NEWS Anchor 

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

$200 for VFW, AL, DAV, and other Veteran fraternal Post 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.

Please email Kristen Luevanos, Leadership Veteran Outreach

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.

Ellen Winiarczyk

Program Advisor

Ellen Winiarczyk (win-ar-zic), Ed.D. is the Academic Director and Teaching Assistant Professor for University College’s Nonprofit Leadership master’s program and is the University’s lead advisor for the Leadership Veteran program. 

For 18 years, Dr. Winiarczyk consulted in leadership development, program/grants management, strategic planning, and diversity/equity/inclusion for national and local nonprofit organizations. She holds a BS in Environmental Conservation and Physical Education from the University of New Hampshire, and an Masters in Environmental Studies from The Evergreen State College. She received her Doctor of Education from the Morgridge College of Education at the University of Denver.

Drake Carpenter

Community Partnerships

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.