Be a LEADer. Be part of Lead New York.


Participants in the Lead NY Program:

  • Enhance understanding of agriculture and the food system and its interrelationships on local, state, regional, national, and international levels.
  • Improve their leadership and communication skills.
  • Develop opportunities for networking and gain a network of professional peers.
  • Foster consensus-building and teamwork approaches to problem solving.
  • Increase their ability, desire, and commitment to seek solutions to today’s problems and to anticipate tomorrow’s needs.

Lead NY participants are selected through a competitive application process. After an initial review of the application materials in early March, a selection committee interviews selected applicants in late March at several locations throughout the state. After those face-to-face interviews, the selection committee recommends a slate of nominees to the board of directors at their April meeting. Once approved, successful candidates are offered a position in the next class by May 1.

Want to learn more about the experience? Check out our "Current Class" to see the class roster, schedule, syllabus and sample agendas for each of our seminars. While exact dates of seminars, seminar content and other particulars may vary slightly from class to class, the current class materials will give you a good idea of what to expect.

Are you ready to become a LEADer? For more information and to be added to our database of prospective applicants, please e-mail leadnewyork [at]



In response to the COVID-19 health crisis, LEAD NY has decided to pause the start of seminars for the 2020–2021 year. Executive director Larry Van De Valk and the advisory board made the decision to safeguard participants while still providing virtual learning and networking opportunities during the pandemic.

“This was not an easy decision for us but ultimately we felt this was the best course of action to protect the health and safety of all those involved while still delivering a quality leadership development experience to our fellows,” said Van De Valk.

Lead NY’s current cohort — Class 18, named in sequential order for each two-year cohort since the program’s founding  —  was slated to begin its year two programming in September. During the pause, current Fellows will continue to work on their leadership projects, and peer coaching groups will remain in regular communication. The program intends to resume its normal September-April seminar and travel schedule in the fall of 2021.

“Though Class 18 Fellows’ seminars will be delayed, our participants have the unique opportunity to learn from the challenges and leadership examples presented by contemporary issues,” Van De Valk said.

Read more about the pause



If you have any questions or would like to receive information about LEAD New York, please contact the LEAD New York office.

Lead NY with drawing of New York state outline and plant

Lead NY
275B Warren Hall, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853
Phone: 607-255-7907