Colleen Zimmerman

Colleen Zimmerman's picture

Colleen is the founding principal of Leaders in Development, LLC, a coaching and consulting firm specializing in higher education fundraising; workplace equity, diversity, and inclusion; clinical and healthcare administration; and executive leadership coaching. She is widely known as a strategic yet fun collaborator with a transparent and authentic approach to work. 

Over her career Colleen served in leadership roles specializing in finance and operations management, economic development, and for over twenty years, higher education fundraising. Colleen started her fundraising career at the Kansas University Endowment Association where she was successful in closing two of the all-time top ten gifts to the university. During her tenure at the University of Michigan, she served as one of 19 campus chief development officers and held leadership roles in two capital campaigns, including the Victors for Michigan campaign which resulted in raising over $5B.     

Colleen has served on numerous committees around various topics including diversity, equity and inclusion and fundraising collaboration, metrics, and performance. She served as mentor for hundreds of gift officers and taught courses including fundraising fundamentals, strategic portfolio management, and the major gift session of the award-winning University of Michigan Development Summer Internship Program.

In addition to her profession-related commitments, Colleen volunteered her time with appointments to civic and not-for-profit boards including the State of Kansas Welfare-to-Work Taskforce, Scio Township (MI) Economic Development Advisory Committee, City of Lawrence (KS) Downtown Parking Advisory Board, and the Ann Arbor Child Care Network. She has volunteered her time to various political and societal issues around protection of rights and safety, and has served as key volunteer for two active duty military deployments. 

Colleen, a first-generation college graduate, holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from the University of Kansas and is an alumna of the CORO Kansas City Public Affairs Program.

Colleen is trained and/or credentialed in Mental Health First Aid, Philip Crosby Total Quality Management, Achieve Global Frontline Leadership, Myers-Briggs, and Myers-Briggs Leadership Bridge, and she is a Certified Professional Coach. 

In her personal life, Colleen is wife, mother, grandmother, mom to beagles and an orange tabby named Chester. 

You may reach Colleen at