LeadNY is for committed leaders in the agriculture and food sectors who wish to step up and make a difference in their community.

Our pioneering training program helps you improve your leadership skills, self-awareness, issues analysis, critical thinking and civic engagement. The skills and knowledge you learn here will help launch your career to new heights and make an impact in the communities in which we live and work.

LeadNY is a one- or two-year program experience guided by Cornell expertise involving:

  • Expert seminars
  • Collaborative workshops
  • Professional networking
  • Inspiring field travel

We provide professionals with skills to overcome challenges and to lead others to highly innovative and successful solutions. 

Lead NY with drawing of New York state outline and plant

275B Warren Hall, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853

Bringing changemakers together

For over 20 years, professionals have participated in Lead New York to maximize their potential in their careers and community-based impact

Woman takes an order in a cafe
Man collects apples at an orchard
Man cuts down trees in forest

Lead NY by the numbers



Serving as leaders and innovators in agriculture, finance, retail, marketing, business, education and more.


Program launched at Cornell

We've trained a generation of ag leaders, who have gone on to lead prominent, impactful programs.



One- and two-year program options to fit your lifestyle and career.

Program Format

Our 1+1 format provides one- and two-year program options

Year 1

The “Leadership Fundamentals” segment in the first year focuses on skill-building, self-awareness and discussion related to New York state community and food systems. Our “Lead Fellows” program in the second year includes an international study tour to develop your worldview and critical thinking.

Participants meet monthly from October through April in each year of the program. In the first year, meetings are held at different locations throughout New York State, and the 25 days of training focus largely on self-awareness and leadership skill development.

Year 2 

After successful completion of “Leadership Fundamentals,” participants are invited to apply for the second year of the program, called “Lead Fellows.”Seminars still take place from October–April, but most of the 30-day time commitment takes place outside of New York, with trips to Canada, Washington DC, and an international study tour.

“Lead Fellows” focuses on:

  • Global issues
  • Developing critical thinking and analysis skills
  • Refining each person’s leadership style and philosophy

Recent Program Highlights

LeadNY participants travel across New York State for monthly seminars that provide leadership development from teambuilding and listening to finance and governance.

Lead NY in the News

Syringe and Pills on Blue Background


Lead NY is for committed leaders in the agriculture and food industries who wish to step up and make a difference in their community. Kim Trombly (Class 18), field advisor for New York Farm Bureau, explores how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed...
  • Department of Global Development
  • Agriculture
  • Food
Person holding sprout with roots in soil


Lead NY Executive Director Larry Van De Valk sat down with Ron Ramstad (Class 5) for a conversation about leadership, working in New York state and beyond, and his advise on building a company from the ground up.
  • Department of Global Development
  • Agriculture
  • Field Crops
four paper boats

Field Note

Larry Van De Valk is Executive Director of LEAD New York, a leadership development program that inspires and develops leaders for the food, agriculture and natural resource industries of the Northeast. Thanks to LEAD New York, over 500 alumni have made an impact on their own communities over the last 35 years, using skills to overcome challenges and developing highly innovative and successful solutions.
  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development


Program will offer webinar series, continue other activities in response to pandemic In response to the COVID-19 health crisis, LEAD New York has decided to pause the start of seminars for the 2020–2021 year. Executive director Larry Van De Valk...

  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development