Lead New York Announces Nineteenth Class

Lead New York is pleased to announce the members of its 19th class. “We are very excited to share the roster of our newest cohort.” said Larry Van De Valk, Executive Director of the program, adding “Members come from across our state, plus Connecticut; and we have representation from sectors that we have not seen in years. This is a very strong, diverse class.”

            The guiding principal 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 9 men and 12 women, is dispersed from Batavia in the west to Riverhead in the east, with many points in between. About 1/3 of the participants are producers, 1/4 come from the for-profit agribusiness sector, and the remainder come from the not-for profit, government or educational sectors. Age range of the participants is from 25 to 52, and the average age of the cohort is 36 years old. This group will bring valuable, diverse perspectives to class discussions, as they represent a wide array of specific disciplines.

Auwaerter, JohnBayport Flower Houses
Baquero, DianaEnveritas
Bitz, KarlCentral New York Feeds
Chan, DavidFarmTogether
Crow, ShannonBowery Farming
Demander, LarsClover Nook Farm
Feeney London, KimSUNY Adirondack
Giarratano, VictoriaCornell Cooperative Extension
Henesy, JessicaNYS Department of Ag & Markets
Klein, ColleenNY Corn & Soybean Growers Assoc.
Patterson, DavidFoodbank of the Southern Tier
Raway, JulieBroome-Tioga BOCES
Roberts, OluHello Agriculture
Schiano, StevenS.E. Schiano Logging
Skellie, MadelineFarm Journal Foundation
Space, CallanMillbrook Farms
Spencer, ShirleyFarm Credit East Batavia
Spiers, JolieCCE Livingston County
St. Jacques, RenéeNew York Farm Bureau
Williams, JamesIntergrow Greenhouses
Xavier, BrunoCornell Food Venture Center/Center of Excellence in Food and Agriculture

         Lead New York 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 nearly 500 Lead New York 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 alumni stated, “LEAD New York 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 advocate for agriculture.”

            For more information, contact Larry Van De Valk, Executive Director of LeadNY at 607-255-7907 or at ljv4@cornell.edu. Additional information is also available on the LeadNY website at www.leadny.org.