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By LeadNY
  • Global Development

Class 20 advances to second year of leadership development program

LeadNY, Cornell’s leadership development academy, is pleased to announce its 2024-25 cohort of leaders in the food, agriculture and natural resources sectors of the Northeast. When this group of Fellows graduates next spring, it will mark four decades of developing leaders.

LeadNY prepares adult professionals for leadership roles through seminars, workshops, and field travel experiences both in and out of New York State, including an international study trip. The second year of the program focuses on national and international issues analyses, critical thinking, developing a “world view” and refining each member’s leadership philosophy. 

“Class 20 participants had very successful Leadership Fundamentals experience, developing leadership skills, enhancing their self-awareness, and learning about the food, agriculture and natural resource sectors in New York State” said Larry Van De Valk, executive director of the program. “Our Fellows will now turn their attention beyond our borders in the second year of the program, learning more about national and international policy issues, trade, and global food systems.” These Fellows will travel to Colombia for their study tour in January 2025. 

Year two fellows include: 

  • Jacob Adams: Loan Officer, Farm Credit East
  • Kaitlyn Anderson: Materials Coordinator, Andrew & Sons
  • Ashley Bliss: Financial Analyst, 2020 Consulting
  • Lisa Bolduc: Risk Management Advisor, Brown & Brown
  • Ben Crockett: Climate Smart Ag Program Mgr., Berkshire Ag Ventures
  • Gabriel DeBrita: Forester, Greene Lumber Co.
  • Sarah DeFrank: Dir. of Policy, Programs & Partnerships, Food Bank ST
  • Olivia Fuller: NY Communications Manager, American Farmland Trust
  • Mackenzie Krisher: General Manager, Country Crossroads Feed & Seed
  • Lauren McGrath: County Manager, NY Farm Bureau
  • Sarah Morrison: Research Scientist, William H. Miner Institute
  • Catie Rowe: Professional Development Coord., NY Ag Ed Outreach
  • Jenn Smith: Sr. Director, Food & Ag Innovation Programs, GROW-NY
  • Kelvin Taitt: Co-Founder, East Brooklyn Mutual Aid
  • Stephen Taylor: Sales Manager, Bully Hill Vineyards
  • Katherine Vail: Agronomist, Carolina Eastern-Vail
  • Michael Volino: Operations Consultant, Donderewicz & Daughter
  • Zach Wightman: Crop Consultant, Nutrien Ag Solutions
  • Marion Zuefle: Senior Extension Associate, NYS IPM Program

LeadNY is a leadership development program for adult professionals in the food, agriculture and natural resource sectors of the Northeast. Recruitment for LeadNY’s 21st cohort will begin fall 2024, and applications will be available in January 2025. Applications will be due by March 15, 2025. 

For more information, contact Christine Cotton, program coordinator of LeadNY at 607-255-7907 or at leadnewyork [at] (leadnewyork[at]cornell[dot]edu). Additional information is also available on the LeadNY website.

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