A former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier and successful business executive, Jan Rutherford knows the value of overcoming challenges to strengthen resilience and lead more effectively. 


Jan entered the U.S. Army at age 17, (weighing only 114 pounds), and spent six years in Special Forces as a medic and “A” team executive officer, and three years as a military intelligence officer.


With over 25 years of business experience, Jan has held executive roles in business development, marketing, sales, training, product management, and as a CEO. In 2011, Jan founded Self-Reliant Leadership, LLC – a leadership development firm focused on helping leaders and teams develop self-reliance to create powerful futures through keynote presentations, workshops, executive coaching, and wilderness expeditions.


As a Senior Instructor at the University of Colorado Denver Business School for over a decade, Jan teaches ‘Leadership in New Ventures’ to MBA students and Doctor of Nursing Practice candidates. He also teaches ‘Leadership & Entrepreneurship in Ireland’ (delivered on-site in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland) to business students.


As a professional speaker, coach, workshop facilitator and strategist, Jan works with leaders across the U.S. and Europe who have heroic aspirations, and believe the best way to grow an organization is by developing their people.


Jan is a consistent blogger on the subject of leadership and change and is also the author of The Littlest Green Beret: On Self-Reliant Leadership from which, half the proceeds are distributed to the Green Beret and Special Operations Warrior Foundations. Jan also serves as a Senior Advisory Council Member for the Colorado ESGR (a Department of Defense volunteer program) and as a Mentor for the University of Colorado CIBERVets program.


Jan holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix, where his research focused on the effects of long-distance learning on job performance. He earned his undergraduate degree in Political Science from the University of South Florida, and was a Distinguished Military Graduate.


Jan also co-hosts The Leadership Podcast with Jim Vaselopulos.


Jan divides his time between Portland and Denver, and is a dual U.S. and Irish citizen with a special affinity for Ireland and the wilderness of the Western United States.
Contact Jan