About Dan Gaken

Dan Gaken

Dan Gaken is a student leadership development professional with more than 12 years of experience in higher education.  Gaken became the Director of the highly successfulCentral Michigan University Leadership Institute in December 2009. Dan has taught collegiate leadership courses for more than ten years.

An active member of the Mt. Pleasant, MI Community, Dan is the President of the Mt. Pleasant Chapter of the CMU Alumni Association, a member of the Isabella County United Way’s Board of Trustees, and a member of the Games Committee for the Special Olympics Michigan state summer and winter games.  Dan works to equip the next generation of community leaders through programming with the Mt. Pleasant Area Chamber of Commerce including the Rollie Denison Leadership Institute, a community-based leadership curriculum he authored.

A nationally recognized leadership speaker, Gaken is a member of the American College Personnel Association, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators as well as the International Leadership Association.  Presently, Dan sits on the Directorate for the ACPA Mid-Level Community of Practice and the Leadership Team for ACPA-Michigan. Dan is the Michigan Association of Secondary School Principal’s Level III leadership curriculum director.  Dan also facilitates sessions of the LeaderShape Institute around the nation for college students.

Gaken is a sought after speaker and trainer for organizations seeking to enhance their leadership.  He has worked with government agencies, business leaders, and non profit organizations.  Past clients include Target Stores, Gap, Inc., and Quicken Loans.  Gaken has been invited to speak at more than 25 colleges and universities across the United States and Canada.

Dan’s first book, Leadership & Service: An Introduction, which he co-authored with Senator George McGovern and Dr. Donald Simmons, was published by Kendall/Hunt in 2008.  Dan and his partner Erin, who works in Central Michigan University’s College of Education and Human Services, live in Mt. Pleasant with their dog Wrigley and daughter Amelia.

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