Apr 28, 2020
LEAD New York Class 18 Fellows selected

The Empire State Food and Agricultural Leadership Institute (LEAD) New York Program is pleased to share the roster of our Class 18 Fellows (below).

“Our current situation has made one thing abundantly clear: Effective leadership for our food system is more important now than it ever has been. Fortunately, our class members and alumni are stepping up to serve in a multitude of leadership capacities during this crisis, and we have a strong cohort of LEAD Fellows that will continue to develop their leadership capacity in the coming year” said Larry Van De Valk, executive director of the program.

“Class 18 had a very successful first year, developing leadership skills and learning about the food, agriculture and natural resource sectors in New York state,” De Valk said. “Next, our Fellows will turn their attention beyond our borders, learning more about national and international political issues, trade, and global food systems. The ability to ‘think globally and act locally’ will be increasingly important as these leaders help us recover from our current challenges.”

Name Employer
Emma Andrew-Swarthout ADA Northeast
Trevor Bathel CoBank
Whitney Beaman LI Sustainable Winegrowing/Bedell Cellars
David Bittner Bittner Singer Orchards
Mark Bordeau Broome Tioga BOCES
Renee Ciardi NYFB
Jessica Decker Bonduelle America
Kate Downes NY FarmNet
Christina Hall NYCAMH
Leslie Hamilton Triple H Farms
James Harris Wagner Hardwoods
Lucas Irwin CaroVail, Inc.
John Kelder Kelder’s Farm
Richard Kimmich DFA Financing
Jerome Kingston Seneca Foods
Samantha Levy American Farmland Trust
Heather Meehan East End Food Institute
Kathleen Noble Wolfley Blimling & Assoc.
Mathew Pinckney Helena Agri-Enterprises
Nolan Reeves Reeves Farms
Adam Seybolt Stewart’s Shops
Martin Slade AHDC, Cornell U.
Matthew Toussaint Toussaint Farms
Kimberly Trombly NYFB
Chad Wall NYSDAM
Matt Wells NY Apple Sales
Hannah Worden ABS Global

LEAD New York is a leadership development program for adult professionals in the food, agriculture and natural resource industries.  It consists of 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 analysis, critical thinking, developing a “world view” and refining each member’s leadership philosophy.

Recruitment for the 19th class will begin this fall, and applications will be available in January. Applications will be due by March 1, 2021. For more information, contact Larry Van De Valk, Executive Director of LEAD New York at 607-255-7907 or at [email protected].

Additional information is also available on the LEAD New York website at www.leadny.org.


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