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What makes Executive Education training ideal for mid-size organizations

David Worley

David Worley

One year ago, David Worley became the Executive Director of Executive Education at the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business. Worley has spent the year making sure Executive Education is offering the right programs for its stakeholders. We thought it was time to catch up with him and learn what’s new in Executive Education at DU.

Q:  Why are you passionate about Executive Education?

A: I really enjoy seeing people learn and grow. I’m fundamentally oriented toward teaching. Years ago, I took what is now StrengthsFinder, and the profile I always come out as is a pioneer and teacher. That means I naturally enjoy seeing people learn and I want to see positive change in the world.

Executive Education is a really nice fit because every day I get to see how our educational offerings improve organizational performance and better an aspect of the organization or community. I’m meeting with professionals from all sorts of organizations—big companies, government agencies, nonprofits, small- and mid-sized businesses. The world of Executive Education is stimulating because I get to see the change we can make across these organizations.

Q: What do you think is the role of Executive Education in the Denver community and beyond?

A: Denver metro is mostly made up of medium-sized ventures. One of the things I have observed is that very large organizations have resources to do lots of interesting training in-house or at any institution. Often very small organizations are just struggling to keep the wheels on the cart. The sweet spot for organizational performance growth seems to be in mid-sized organizations. They have enough resources to transform things.

Executive Education is uniquely suited to serve the Denver metro and Front Range community with a nice portfolio of programs that can have a really high impact for them.

Q: Can you give us some examples?

A:  We believe that investing in people transforms organizational performance. We accelerate the capacity to achieve results.

For example, if you give us three days, we can take somebody who doesn’t know anything about finance or accounting and we can have them 80% of the way toward understanding the day-to-day elements of finance. They will not be the organization’s CFO or accountant for sure. But, they are going to understand the significance of what the finance and accounting departments do. That is extraordinary value and can have a major impact on the bottom line of an institution.

Q: What kinds of courses can people or organizations get through Executive Education that aren’t offered elsewhere? 

A: There is no shortage of generic leadership training in the marketplace. People can watch an incredible amount of content about mission, vision and values on YouTube for free.

The sweet spot for Executive Education is that we offer leadership training with technical capacity. What I mean by that is that often the latest leadership book or TED Talk sounds great, and might even have solid information, but it doesn’t really work on the ground.

Our faculty are excellent at presenting the leadership training and research, but then really helping people apply it. They’ll help you think through … “when I lose my temper in a meeting, why am I doing that? How is that affecting my team? How is my personality profile playing into this? How can I be more effective in Tuesday’s meeting?”

We merge business school practices with what your organization needs in a compelling, coherent and cost-effective way.

Q: What new programs is the Executive Education team rolling out?

A: A lot of fans of Executive Education know that the Denver Leadership Experience (DLX) won a huge award last year for the best program in North America! DLX won the Peer Choice Award for Best Open Enrollment Program at the 2019 Conference on Management & Executive Development in Austin, Texas.

This year, we’ve also updated our long-standing leadership program for entry- to mid-level professionals called the Accelerated Leadership Experience.

We can honestly cover any topic in the business school or at the larger University. Our custom programs offer us a way to build a program specific to any organization. Organizations come to us with a problem they need to solve and we provide the training to do that.

For example, a private equity firm needed their analysts to write better investment memos for a group of private equity billionaires. We partnered with two writing experts at the University of Denver to deliver the training.

Q: Anything else you would like to tell us about Exec Ed at Daniels?

A: I’m a big believer of understanding your why, why we do what we do. In Executive Education, we believe investing in people transforms organizational performance. And, we believe specifically, if you invest in your best people, it’ll transform your organization.

We have four principles that we base our decisions on. We’re constantly seeking to be demand-driven, innovative, excellent and sustainable. We know the training we deliver can retain employees and impact the bottom line of your company.

For more information, or to explore what Executive Education has to offer, visit