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

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

  • Expert seminars
  • Collaborative workshops
  • Professional networking
  • Inspiring field travel
Lead NY with drawing of New York state outline and plant

275B Warren Hall, Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853

Bringing changemakers together

For over 40 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

Group photo at graduation ceremony


LeadNY announces class 20 graduates
Lead New York is pleased to announce that members of its 20th class have successfully completed the “Leadership Fundamentals” portion of the training program. Class members were recognized at a graduation ceremony on April 6 in Binghamton, NY...
  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development
A drawing of an outline of New York state with a plant and shield on a blue background


Lead New York (LeadNY) is pleased to announce the members of its 20th class. “We are very excited to share the roster of our newest cohort,” said Larry Van De Valk, Executive Director of the program. “Members come from every corner of our state...
Group poses for photo outside


Participants Complete “Lead Fellows” Portion of Program LeadNY is pleased to announce that 35 members of its 18th and 19th classes have successfully completed the “Lead Fellows” portion of the training program. Class members were recognized at a...
  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development
Man receives award on stage


Todd Lighthall, LeadNY Class 12, is the ninth recipient of the program’s Outstanding Alumni Award (OAA). This award was established to recognize the outstanding leadership our graduates provide to the Lead New York Program, their local...
  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development
Alumni attend outdoor presentation in Puerto Rico

Field Note

Lead NY is for committed leaders in the food, agriculture and natural resource sectors who wish to step up and make a difference in their community. In this article, Renee Ciardi, (NYFB - LeadNY Class 18), reflects on a LeadNY alumni trip, where...
  • Department of Global Development
  • Agriculture
  • Global Development