Denise Lessow

Adjunct Lecturer

(812) 855-7980
Room Number:


  • Ph.D., Curriculum and Instruction, Indiana University, 1990


Denise Lessow is an adjunct faculty member in the SPEA Nonprofit Management program. For nearly 14 years, she served as the executive director of a local nonprofit that developed and successfully implemented innovative programs and management approaches. Her advocacy work helped lead to the 2015 passage of Indiana’s first statewide legislation for dyslexia services. 

While at Pinnacle, she enjoyed working with student groups in SPEA and the Kelley School on projects to develop a collaborative entrepreneurship program for K-12 students and a new community nonprofit consulting internship.

As a national consultant for nearly ten years, Dr. Lessow assisted nonprofit organizations – museums, human service, economic development, and K-16 education organizations – pursue longer-term effectiveness and stability.  Her work includes strategic planning, organizational development, board governance, resource management, curriculum development, research methodologies, program evaluation, and messaging.  

She has over seven years of college teaching experience and student mentoring, earning her doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction (IUB 1990), with a cognate in research methodologies. Her dissertation focused on evaluating adult learning in community settings.

Lessow currently serves as the volunteer campaign co-chair for United Way of Monroe County and leads Bloomington’s Commission on Aging.  She has chaired Downtown Bloomington Inc. and the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce, where she advocated for increasing employer accessibility and employment of people with disabilities. She and her husband, Barry, have enjoyed a successful and long-standing personal as well as professional partnership.


  • Volunteer campaign co-chair for United Way of Monroe County