Faculty & Staff

  • Linda G. Olson, PhD

    Executive Director, Leadership Studies Program/Teaching Professor 


    Dr. Linda Olson began teaching at the University of Denver in 2000 and became the Director of PLP in 2004. Her PhD is in communication studies and her area of research has included collaborative leadership, group and team communication, leadership development, leadership and sustainability, and leadership ethics. Linda's current interests are focused on assessment of leadership learning and the leadership development process of undergraduate students. She brings a vibrant interest in international and intercultural issues to the classroom as she has taught and led groups involved in international learning and service throughout the world. Dr. Olson was also known as Mayor Olson for the City of Englewood as she served on city council from 2009-2021. Linda finds great joy in practicing what she teaches in her own community, particularly advocating for those experiencing homelessness and developing policy approaches that secure housing for all. She is married and has three adult children with whom she loves to travel. 

  • Paul Kosempel, PhD

    PLP Associate Director & Teaching Professor 


    Paul's professional experience includes over twenty years in institutions of higher education in various capacities including career development, leadership development, operations, and event management. He received his doctorate from the University of Denver in 2008 and his dissertation has explored the communication dynamics in mentoring relationships. Paul has presented at multiple conferences including the International Leadership Association and the Association of Leadership Educators. His research interests lie in the areas of leadership for sustainability and leadership education. One of his most significant achievements at DU is creating the Leadership and Sustainability in Belize course with Dr. Olson. Outside of DU, Paul stays active with his family and enjoys golf, volleyball, and the Denver Broncos.

  • Effley N. Brooks III, MBA

    Teaching Assistant Professor 


    Effley Brooks is President and owner of Tiger Bee Consulting, LLC a company that he established in order to expand his opportunities in working toward positive social change. Effley specializes in leadership development workshops and seminars. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Arts in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Effley is a Buckeye- born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. However, he decided to move to Colorado after just one visit to this beautiful state. Effley is an avid snowboarder, skier, and fisherman. He has a daughter in middle school and two dogs from Rocky Mountain Puppy Rescue. Effley serves on the Board of Directors for REACH Charter School and is a member of Denver African American Philanthropists (DAAP).

  • Trisha Teig, PhD

    Teaching Assistant Professor 


    Trisha is a leadership educator passionate about leadership learning and college student development. She began her career in higher education as a student affairs professional working in housing, student activities, student government, orientation, and of course, leadership programs! She completed her master's of education at Texas State University in Counseling and Guidance - Student Affairs and her Ph.D. in Higher Education at Florida State University. Her teaching and research interests include women and leadership, gender and leadership, training student affairs professionals as leadership educators, and integrating social justice in leadership programs. She loves traveling, running, reading, and hanging out with her two kitties, Sophie and Sampson!

  • George Bolanos, MA

    Program Coordinator 


    George Bolanos is a first-generation student who is originally from Los Angeles, California but has lived most of his life in Colorado. He obtained his B.S. in Applied Mathematics from Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2018 and recently graduated from DU with his M.A. in Higher Education. Prior to PLP, George served as a graduate assistant for the office of Access & Transitions at DU where he received the opportunity to work and assist incoming students in applying and transitioning to college. In his free time, George loves spending time with family, Netflix, hiking, basketball, and listening/dancing to music. Stop by the PLP office to say hi!

  • Leah A. McFail, MS
    Program Manager, Leadership Studies

    Leah's zigzag path to higher education means she's able to weave unique leadership experiences from multiple sectors into programming. A servant leader and former Peace Corps volunteer, she's worked in non-profits, hospitals, surrogacy & egg donation, and even a Finnish sled dog farm, eventually entering academia at MSU Denver before calling DU home. She's lived, traveled, or volunteered in over 50 countries and her passion surrounding global community suffuses her personal and professional life. Leah holds a dual bachelor's in Women's Studies and Ethnic Studies, and a master's in Adult Education and Training. She's an ardent believer in the transformative power of learning and that even the tiniest action can create a powerful butterfly effect. Outside of work she volunteers on nonprofit boards, devours non-fiction, howls with her huskies, plots her next travel adventures, and works to craft a social justice-oriented family with her husband and young son.