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  • Department of Global Development
  • Global Development

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 communities, and the food, agriculture and natural resource industries.

With over 500 alumni, the selection committee's task was especially difficult as so many of our graduates have made significant contributions to our industry and communities throughout the Northeast. “Todd embodies all that this award seeks to recognize: Leadership, Service and Impact” said Larry Van De Valk, Executive Director of the program. Under Todd’s leadership as Executive Director of the NYS FFA Foundation, the Oswegatchie Educational Center (or “Camp O” as it is fondly referred to) has seen unprecedented growth and improvement over the past three decades. Not only has Todd successfully led multi-million dollar fundraising campaigns for the improvement of physical facilities at the camp, but programming has also grown. When Todd assumed this role, Camp O offered only seasonal summer experiences to FFA members and is it now a year-round training facility welcoming a variety of different groups for outstanding training opportunities. LeadNY is certainly one such group that has benefitted from the opportunities offered there. Moreover, Todd also finds the time to serve his community through leadership positions on his local school board and Lions Club.

“I am humbled and honored by the recognition bestowed on behalf of LeadNY as the Outstanding Alumni Award recipient.” Said Lighthall, adding “I am grateful for the LeadNY experience, and thankful to those who support me in my personal and professional life.”

LeadNY is a leadership development program for adult professionals in the food, agriculture and natural resource industries of the Northeast. 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. Individuals that successfully complete year one receive a certificate of completion for the “Leadership Fundamentals” portion of our program, and are well-positioned to serve in a variety of local leadership roles. At the end of the first year, participants reapply for the second year of the program, which entails 30 days of commitment and involves more out-of-state and international travel, including a 10-day study tour. Individuals successfully completing the second year of the program have the distinction of being known as “Lead Fellows”.

The award was presented at the Lead Class 18-19 Fellows commencement ceremony on Friday, April 14, 2023. 

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