— Christy Chiarelli, 352-392-1041, firstname.lastname@example.org
Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources Selects Class XII
September 15, 2023 —
GAINESVILLE, Fla. — The Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources (WLI) recently selected 30 participants for Class XII of its two-year leadership development program. The first seminar takes place in Gainesville in November.
Participants have committed to 11 seminars, totaling 55 days, which further develop their leadership capacity in representing agricultural and natural resources industries. Seminars range from the Florida panhandle to Miami, as well as Washington D.C. and a two-week international learning experience. The program broadens participants’ perspectives and builds a network within the industry and beyond. As a result, program graduates are equipped to address challenges of local, state, national and global dimensions.
“The announcement of this class inspires great optimism for the future of Florida agriculture and natural resources,” said Scott Angle, UF’s senior vice president for agriculture and natural resources and interim provost. “The caliber of this class again demonstrates how leaders are drawn to Wedgworth for its reputation for transforming potential into achievement and to prepare participants to tackle the most complicated of challenges.”
Class members were selected through a rigorous nomination and application process with 68 candidates competing for 30 available seats. The group is representative of agriculture’s diversity through their employment in 24 different sub-sectors of the industry. Class members also bring geographic diversity, representing 21 Florida counties.
“The candidates selected for this program are already leaders in their respective industries,” said WLI Director Christy Chiarelli. “Our goal is enhance their leadership abilities and equip them to ensure a strong and adaptable Florida agriculture and natural resources industry for generations to come.”
Class XII members include:
- Lucy Abell, Abell Livestock Company, Venus
- Sydney Allison-Stoyka, IMG Citrus, Sebastian
- Miles Armstrong, BASF Agricultural Solutions, Palmetto
- Myles Basore, TKM-Bengard, Wellington
- Kim Bonner, Mabry Carlton Ranch, Sidell
- Daniel Bott, PGIM Agricultural Investments, Vero Beach
- Jake Brown, Tater Farms, Hastings
- Jason Chandler, Grimmway Farms, Mayo
- Krystin Chapman, The Development Group, Zolfo Springs
- Chance Clay, Clay Ranch, San Mateo
- Danny Collins, Duke Energy, Monticello
- Tiffany Dale, Florida Strawberry Growers Assn., Wauchula
- Tyler Duda, The Viera Company, Melbourne
- Cheryl Flood, Florida State Fair, Bartow
- Rachel Garland, Nutrien, White Springs
- Todd Gentry, Cherrylake Inc., Clermont
- Kyle Hill, H&C Harvesting, Apopka
- Kristen Hitchcock, Parkesdale Farms, Inc., Lakeland
- Rochelle James, No Worries Property Management, Royal Palm Beach
- Erin Jenkins Banas, Jenkins Landscape Company, Hobe Sound
- Jason Johnson, Wedgworth’s Inc., Sebring, FL
- Dan Kimble, Harplyn Inc., Bradenton, FL
- Nina Krause, Nuveen Natural Capital, Palm Beach Gardens
- Sandy McArthur, NG Wade, Jacksonville
- Riley McKenna, McKenna & Associates, Sebring
- Clay Pederson, Agromillora, Ocala
- Zak Seymour, Farm Credit of Florida, Gainesville
- John Small, Cal-Maine Foods, Okeechobee
- Janyel Taylor, Ralph Taylor’s Nurseries, Bradenton
- Caleb Van Wingerdan, SunBlest Gardens, Crawfordville
Administered by University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and housed in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, WLI hosted its inaugural class in 1992. With approximately 400 program alumni (inclusive of participants and their spouses), WLI has become a staple for developing agricultural leaders who will become increasingly involved in the policy formation process.
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents.
Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources Opens Nominations for Class XII
The UF/IFAS Wedgworth Leadership Institute for Agriculture and Natural Resources (WLIANR) is soliciting nominations for Class XII of its two-year leadership development program.
Utilizing 11 multi-day seminars throughout Florida, the United States and internationally, WLIANR develops leaders to ensure a strong and adaptable Florida agriculture and natural resources industry for generations to come. WLIANR aims to prepare leaders to assume greater responsibilities in their organizations, industries, and communities; create strategic alliances to build strong networks; analyze complex issues to influence constructive change and to develop a better understanding of self and others, as well as the diverse communities in which we live and work.
To be eligible for consideration, nominees must:
• be at least 25 years old;
• have resided in Florida for a minimum of one year;
• receive a substantial portion of their income from Florida agriculture, natural resources and/or related industries;
• and, demonstrate strong leadership potential.
Self-nominations are accepted. Nominations close June 1 and applications are due no later than June 15. Class XII will begin in Gainesville in November 2023. To submit a nomination, visit https://tinyurl.com/ClassXII-Nominate.
Administered by University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and housed in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communication, WLIANR hosted its inaugural class in 1992. With approximately 450 program alumni (inclusive of participants and their spouses), WLI has become a staple for developing agricultural leaders who will become increasingly involved in the policy formation process.Read More
Morgan McKenna Porter (Class XI) was recently named President of the Citrus Research and Development Foundation (CRDF.)
CRDF is a non-profit corporation organized under Florida State laws as a Direct Support Organization of the University of Florida. It’s Mission is to “Advance disease and production research and product development activities to ensure the survival and competitiveness of Florida’s citrus growers through innovation and research.”
The organization is headed by a 13-member Board of Directors, ten of whom are required by statute to be growers. The others are from academia and government. The COO handles the day-to-day management of business affairs, and Project Managers oversee the research and commercial product delivery project portfolios.
Learn more about CRDF on https://citrusrdf.org/.
Sara Sebring (Class XI) to serve as a Supervisor for the Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District Board
Sara Sebring was elected in November 2022 and sworn in on Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023 to serve as a Supervisor for the Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District Board. She will represent Seat 5 for a 4 year term.
The Board of Supervisors govern the operation of the District, conducting a monthly board meeting and staying abreast of issues facing the Agricultural Industry. Established in 1942, the Highlands District continues to partner with Highlands County, the Florida Department of Agriculture and USDA-Natural Resource Conservation Services, to provide technical and financial assistance to agriculture land owners in conservation efforts. These programs assure the protection of valuable natural resources while our farmers continue to produce a variety of food commodities in Highlands and surrounding counties. The Highlands Soil & Water Conservation District office is located at 4505 George Blvd., Sebring.Read More
Florida Farm Bureau’s County Alliance for Responsible Environmental Stewardship (CARES) program publicly recognizes Florida farmers and ranchers who demonstrate exemplary efforts to protect Florida’s natural resources by implementing Best Management Practices.
Scott Emerson of Emerson’s Little Dam Farm, Alachua County, was recognized as a 2021 CARES recipient. Emerson is a graduate of the University of Florida and the Wedgworth Leadership Institute, Class III.Read More
The Alumni Association of the Wedgworth Leadership Institute (AAWLI) held their annual meeting in Clearwater last weekend, August 6-7. At the Saturday evening awards banquet, the group honored four outstanding individuals for their contributions to the Wedgworth Leadership Institute (WLI) and the agriculture and natural resource industries.Read More
Kevin Wright, Class X, Region II Representative
Vice President of Lands, SE at Oak River Farms
How did you become a part of WLI?
I was aware of WLI while at Suwannee River Water Management District. I had seen industry leaders rise after completing the program. Darrell Smith and Noah Handley asked if I would be interested in completing the program while I was a Generation Farms employee.
What does leadership mean to you?
I think of leadership as taking a team of 50 members and winning a championship; while allowing each individual member to believe that they are the sole person responsible for that result. Leadership should be the tide that rises all boats.
What are your main priorities as a member of the AAWLI BOD?
As a board member, my main priority is to create situations to allow for more connection with regional members.
What value does AAWLI provide to our members?
AAWLI provides continued contact with members of various backgrounds. These connections give us sense of place while dealing with complex problems.
What is your favorite WLI memory?
My favorite WLI memory is our trip to Washington, DC. The trip helped connect policy decisions with policy makers.
Any advice for the current class?
My advice for the current class would be to find your “Why” and be willing to say “No.”Read More
I would like to start by saying, “Thank you” for allowing me to serve as your Alumni Association President for the next two years. For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Matt Webb, and I am President of Genesis Timber in Madison, FL. I am a proud member of Class VII (THE BEST CLASS).
I would have never dreamed we would be holding an Alumni zoom meeting! I would like to give a shout out to Class XI for their strong participation in that recent meeting. You have set the bar high for future classes! For those of you that have been directly affected by the pandemic, our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your families. Please let us know if there is anything the alumni association can do to help. We are here for you. One of the greatest benefits of graduating from the Wedgworth program is, if you call any alumni, they will stop what they are doing to help.
The main focus of my presidency will be to help Christy with her mentorship program. I feel we have an amazing group of contacts for future classes. I want to make sure we do more than just nominate people for Wedgworth. We need to invest in these upcoming class members. It is one thing to talk about the program; it is another matter to actually feel you are a part of Wedgworth and to learn from previous class members.
I would also like to implement more strategic continuing education at our regional gatherings. We all face challenges, and I will do my best to address the issues by region.
Over the term of my presidency, I believe we will get back to meeting in person. In the meantime, I encourage each alumni member to reach out to people in your classes that have not been involved. We are all busy, but there was an investment made on behalf of each of us, and I feel it is our duty to make sure there is a substantial return on those investments. Wedgworth alumni is the future of Agriculture world-wide, and I believe it will be the sounding board for any issues that arise in that arena.
I pray 2020-2022 are the best years yet for each of your families and your businesses.
GOD BLESS and GO GATORS!
Matthew G. WebbRead More
In the last several months, WLI conducted an alumni needs assessment in order to determine how best to serve WLI alumni in terms of continuing education and involvement opportunities.
59 survey responses were analyzed, generating an outline for how we will continue to engage our program alumni. When asked “Do you value leadership development at this stage in your career?” all question respondents answered yes. This illustrates the commitment to personal development WLI alumni exhibit, and is a poignant reminder of the importance of providing ample development opportunities to our alumni.
Areas including leading through uncertainty, priorities and decision making as a leader, mental health, preparing an organization for crisis, and identifying innovation opportunities were identified as having the greatest need for continued development.
Alumni reported that in-person workshops are preferential for programming, followed by webinars.
Furthermore, responses indicated that our alumni find tremendous value in new experiences, diverse perspectives, and self-discovery.
In order to meet the needs of WLI alumni, we aim to offer programming with synchronous and asynchronous components. For example, posting written summaries of in-person events online or recording live webinars so they can be revisited on-demand.
With the insights gained from this survey, we look forward to offering engaging opportunities which will better serve WLI alumni.Read More
When the world is chaotic, leadership becomes even more challenging. As we lead throughout these difficult times, we may find ourselves growing weary and becoming unsure of how we will continue on. When these doubts cloud our thoughts, we can center ourselves by remembering why we chose to lead in the first place. It is important to find time to reflect and remember our WHY, because when we are driven by a purpose our capacity for leadership is multiplied.
Simon Sinek is the leadership expert and bestselling author behind our theme of “Revisiting Your WHY” this month. Sinek is best known for popularizing the concept of WHY, which he described in his viral 2009 TED Talk. Sinek has spent years studying the people and organizations that make the greatest and longest lasting impact in the world. He has devoted his life to sharing his thinking in order to help leaders and organizations inspire action.
This month, we are sharing TED talks, podcasts, and articles revolving around Simon Sinek’s concept of WHY. While exploring these resources you will be encouraged to consider what drives you, what gets you out of bed each morning, and why you have decided to lead. This is our personal WHY. We hope that these resources aid in the process of revisiting your WHY and remind you why you choose to lead.
If you prefer to read:
(5 minute read) This Forbes article discusses four ways purpose-driven companies are out performing their competitors amidst Covid-19. Read Now
(15 minute read) This Harvard Business Review article presents a step-by-step framework that leaders can use to identify their purpose and develop an impact plan to achieve concrete results.
If you prefer to listen:
TED Talk: Start With Why
Simon Sinek’s TED Talk “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action” is the third most-viewed TED video of all time. In this 20 minute video, Simon Sinek summarizes “The Golden Circle,” a framework which describes how great leaders and organizations distinguish themselves and inspire those around them.
Podcast: Coaching for Leaders Podcast featuring Simon Sinek
In this 40 minute episode of the Coaching for Leaders podcast, Simon Sinek discusses how purpose-driven leadership positively shapes organizations.
Podcast: Episode 107: Simon Sinek – Leadership: It Starts With Why
In this 30 minute episode of the Learning Leaders Show podcast, Simon Sinek discusses why we should lead and the necessity of courage in leadership.Read More