GAINESVILLE — 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 will be held from the Florida panhandle to Miami, as well as in 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 Christy Chiarelli, WLI director. “Our goal is to 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 included the following participants from Okeechobee, Venus and Sebring:
• John Small, Cal-Maine Foods, Okeechobee;
• Lucy Abell, Abell Livestock Company, Venus;
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.