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Program Accepts New Members for Leadership Development Program

By LeadNY

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, plus Maine; and we have representation from sectors that we have not seen in years. This is a very strong, diverse class.”

The guiding principle in the selection process is to try to assemble the right mix of participants in the final roster – including as much diversity as possible. As such, the new class has 8 men and 16 women is dispersed from Wyoming County in the west, to the Canadian and Vermont borders in the north, to Riverhead in the east, and NYC to the south, with many points in between. About 1/4 of the participants are producers, 1/4 come from the for-profit agribusiness sector, and the remainder come from the not-for profit or educational sectors. The age range of the participants is 27 – 51, and the average age of the cohort is 35 years old. This group will bring valuable, diverse perspectives to class discussions, as they represent a wide array of specific food system interests.

  • Adams, Jacob: Farm Credit East
  • Anderson, Kaitlyn: Green Island Distributors
  • Bliss, Ashley: 2020 Consulting
  • Bolduc-Magro, Lisa: B&B Insurance
  • Collins, Amie: Comfort Food Community
  • Crockett, Ben: Berkshire Agricultural Ventures
  • DeBrita, Gabriel: Greene Lumber Co.
  • DeFrank, Sarah: Food Bank of the Southern Tier
  • Fuller, Olivia: American Farmland Trust
  • Hough, Kendall: NYS Dept. of Ag. and Markets
  • Krisher, MacKenzie: Country Crossroads Feed & Seed
  • McGrath, Lauren: NY Farm Bureau
  • Morrison, Sara: William H. Miner Institute
  • Podsiedlik, Larkin: CCE - Madison County
  • Rowe, Catie: NY Agricultural Education
  • Smith, Jenn: GrowNY - Cornell AgriTech
  • Stocks, Bryan: Dairy Farmers of America
  • Taitt, Kelvin: East Brooklyn Mutual Aid
  • Taylor, Stephen: Bully Hill Vineyards
  • Tshabalala, Precious: Cornell - Harvest NY Program
  • Vail, Katherine: Carolina Eastern Vail
  • Volino, Michael: Donderwicz & Daughter
  • Wightman, Zachary: Nutrien Ag Solutions
  • Zuefle, Marion: NYS IPM Program - Cornell

LeadNY is a leadership development program for adult professionals in the food, agriculture, and natural resource sectors.  It consists of seminars, workshops, and field travel experiences both in and out of New York State, including an international study trip.  The program focuses on leadership skill development, enhanced self-awareness, civic engagement, a greater understanding of issues facing our food system and rural communities and cultivating leadership networks. 

Currently, there are over 500 LeadNY alumni.  These individuals serve in leadership positions in private business, local, state, and federal government positions, not-for-profit organizations, and educational institutions.  As one LeadNY alumnus stated, “LeadNY was an eye-opening experience for me.  I not only made lifelong friends, I also learned key skills that have proved useful throughout my career.  LeadNY changed my perspective and has helped me be a more knowledgeable leader in my community.”

For more information, contact Larry Van De Valk, Executive Director of LeadNY at 607-255-7907 or at ljv4 [at] (ljv4[at]cornell[dot]edu).  Additional information is also available on the LeadNY website.

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