Their jobs couldn’t be more different: a president of a consulting company, a former Denver mayor, and the chief strategist for Denver Public Schools. But they have one thing in common: They are graduates of Leadership Denver, an elite program run by the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation. For more than three decades, Leadership Denver has introduced a hodgepodge of professionals from the business, government, education, and nonprofit sectors with the hope they’ll work together on Denver’s civic issues.

And the plan works. Each year, a new class of about 55 eager-to-learn, civic-minded folk meets monthly for field trip–style visits to locations tackling issues such as education, transportation, crime, and justice. After witnessing the problems, the group debriefs with visiting experts and develops a service project plan, such as a community farm or a school for at-risk kids.

The program, though, doesn’t stop when the class trips end; alums form lifelong connections across sectors and industries they may not have had exposure to without the program (think: bankers and social workers). The result is that both groups have something to gain, whether it is friends with deep pockets or in- the-know board members. Learn more about this and other programs offered through the Denver Metro Chamber Leadership Foundation at Denver Leadership