Meet Our Team

Dan Lewis
Executive Director


Dan Lewis joined the team as executive director in July 2015. As a former chair of the Leadership Foundation’s board of directors and an alumnus of several Leadership Foundation programs, Dan is passionate about the work of this organization and is committed to inspiring a diverse community of leadership to improve Colorado.

Prior to joining the Leadership Foundation team, Dan served as Chief Communications Officer for Molson Coors, where he was responsible for corporate reputation, communications, corporate responsibility and employee engagement for the company’s 15,000 people worldwide. He also led corporate communications for Delta Air Lines and global public relations for Lufthansa German Airlines prior to his arrival in Denver in 2006.

Fluent in German, Dan holds a Master of Communication degree from Georgia State University in Atlanta, Georgia and a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Affairs from Florida State University.  Among his civic leadership commitments, Dan currently serves on the Board of Trustees for Mile High United Way and was previously a board member with the Downtown Denver Partnership.

Our Staff — Operations

Nikki Barta
Executive Assistant


Meet Nikki Barta, Denver native and executive assistant of the Leadership Foundation.  She takes on her ever-changing role with a smile and a double-jointed thumbs-up. It’s no wonder her spirit animal is a chameleon.  When she’s not taking care of our team or our board up here on the 5th Floor, you can find her walking/running/chasing after her (adorable) toddler and preschooler or sitting on a patio enjoying a glass pinto. She also likes to get her Pinterest-inspired crafting on and cooking vegan-ish meals for her family.

Wylia Sims
Manager of Finance and Operations


Since 2015, Wylia has been responsible for managing the finance and operations at the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation. She is the staff lead for the Foundation’s Finance & Audit Committee and led the Inclusivity and Diversity Committee for two years. She spent most of her professional career in Washington, DC and New York, having worked for a range of organizations from a major national network of community-based organizations to a start-up online philanthropic marketplace; a privately funded global foundation to a corporate foundation; to serving on several nonprofit Boards and volunteering.

Wylia received a BBA in International Business from Howard University and a MS in Nonprofit Management from The Milano Graduate School of Management at New School University. She currently serves on the board of directors for Spark the Change (formerly Metro Volunteers), and the Finance Committee for Mi Casa Resource Center. She is a mentor with Girls Inc., and volunteers with Africa Development Promise.

Our Staff — Programs

Denise King
Program Director


Denise King is program director for our flagship program, Leadership Denver, as well as the Colorado Civic DNA Fellows program. She also works with the program directors and students involved with the Colorado Leadership Alliance. If you have been in one of Denise’s classes you have probably learned her version of Roshambo (rock, paper, scissors) and know that the chimes will ring on time! A master’s degree in education kicked off a career in management and leadership development, including working at American Management Association’s Operation Enterprise, where learning to water ski and wrapping a toga were required parts of the curriculum. She likes this leadership stuff so much that she serves on the national board for the Association of Leadership Professionals as well as the Governor’s Commission on Community Service (Serve Colorado).

Kirsten Vermulen
Program Director and Executive Director for B:CIVIC


Kirsten is Program Director for the Leadership Foundation where she oversees issues-based leadership development programs for business and civic leaders and partnership initiatives. She is also the Executive Director for B:CIVIC, a partner of the Leadership Foundation. B:CIVIC is dedicated to advancing the positive impact of business to benefit all Colorado communities. This partnership, established in 2018, allows us to grow our shared impact by advancing the culture of giving and volunteerism at organizations across the state.

Prior to re-joining the Leadership Foundation in 2012, Kirsten served as the Director of Education and Member Programs for Housing Colorado, an education and advocacy organization advancing safe, decent and affordable housing for all Coloradans. She began her nonprofit career at the Colorado Chautauqua Association in Boulder managing membership services and donor development initiatives for the historic cultural institution.

Kirsten is a graduate of Ohio University (B.A. in English and Theater) and Northpark University (Master of Nonprofit Administration). Her community service has included board roles with CLLARO (Colorado Latino Leadership Advocacy and Research Organization), B:CIVIC, Dance To Be Free, the Colorado Civic Health Network, Human Services Network of Colorado, Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Denver, National Philanthropy Day in Colorado steering committee, and as a Mile High United Way literacy partner. She lives in Denver, Colorado with her husband, Scott, where they lead an award-winning performance troupe that travels internationally promoting Denver’s reputation as a cultural hub.

Elizabeth Prutch
Manager of Advancement and Alumni Engagement


Elizabeth is the manager of advancement and alumni engagement at the Leadership Foundation. In this role she focuses on diversifying revenue streams and finding ways to provide value and connection to the growing list of 5,000+ alumni.

Her professional background includes work with the National MS Society and The Denver Post where she’s spent 10+ years focused on community & corporate relations, event management and corporate responsibility. Elizabeth’s experience and passion for building relationships has allowed her to ease right in to the work at the Leadership Foundation.

When not working, Elizabeth is spending time with her husband Zach, daughter Lily and son (coming Fall 2019)!  She is a proud “built in Broncos fan” with orange hair and blue eyes. As a Denver native, her love for all things CO runs deeps; cycling, camping, golf, she’s new to fly fishing and she enjoys all the other CO activities natives like. Her passion for our community is as strong as her love for the Broncos as she’s demonstrated through her board experience and volunteering.

Elizabeth is thrilled to be a part of the Leadership Foundation team and the visionary work happening each day!

VJ Brown
Program Manager