Statewide Director Joins LEAD, COHORT 17

LEAD New York Announces Seventeenth Class Program Accepts New Members for Leadership Development Program The Empire State Food and Agricultural Leadership Institute, or LEAD New York, is pleased to announce the members of its 17th 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 every corner of our state, plus Connecticut; and we have representation from industry 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 10 men and 20 women; is dispersed from Buffalo in the west, to Lowville in the north, to Riverhead in the east, and NYC to the south, with many points in between. About 1/3 of the participants are producers, 1/3 come from the for-profit agribusiness sector, and the remainder come from the not-for profit or educational sectors. Age range of the participants is 25 – 51, and the average age of the cohort is 33 years old. This group will bring valuable, diverse perspectives to class discussions, as they represent a wide array of specific industry sectors.

Blanchflower, Olivia GrowNYC/Greenmarket

Bowgren, Tyson Wagner Millwork

Brightly, Joseph Brightly Farms

Carpenter,Katie NY Ag in the Classroom

Colangelo, Anthony Dehm Associates

Critelli, Jamie Floral Beauty Greenhouses

Dembeck, Dylan Minkus Family Farms

Flansburg, Christopher BCA Ag Technologies

Gallagher, Jean Farm Credit East

Gianforte, Luke Gianforte Farms

Gonzalez, Raquel NYS Dept. of Ag. and Markets

Huson, Jennifer Dairy Farmers of America

Jensen, Eileen NY Animal Agriculture Coalition

Jilek, Katrina Ag. Stewardship Association

Kenny, Claudia NYS Ag. Mediation Program

King, John Crop Production Services

Kreher, Jeannette Kreher’s Farm Fresh Eggs

Lockwood, Patricia Farm Credit East

Long, Emmaline CY Farms

Marcus, Jessie Peconic Land Trust

Oakes, Christopher LynOaken Farms

Penny-Stroop, Danielle Novus International

Reeves, Karin Reeves Farms

Ryan, Erika Kelly & Sellar Ryan,

PLLC Stout, Stephen Agricultural Consulting Services

Thompson, Natasha Food Bank of the Southern Tier

VanHorn, Kristin Schuyler County Planning

Williams, Lauren NY Farm Bureau

Zaleski, Jaclyn NY Farm Bureau

Zick, Christina CoBank


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 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 LEAD New York 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. LEAD New York 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 LEAD New York at 607-255-7907 or at Additional information is also available on the LEAD New York website at

  • Date:Jun 2017

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