In response to the COVID-19 health crisis, the Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation Board has unanimously voted to delay in-person seminars for the Class of 2022, while offering extended programming via new online learning opportunities for participants. This will allow class members to continue their leadership growth while in-person seminars are not feasible.
“Suspending in-person programming for our participants during the pandemic was not an easy decision, but one the Board felt was in the best interests of everyone” stated Dan Kelley, IALF Board Chair. “Board discussions centered on two major areas, which were first and foremost the health and safety of participants, staff, and others involved in our programming; and secondly, delivering the highest quality leadership development experience for our Class of 2022 participants which has been the cornerstone of our program over the past four decades.”
“2020 has been an extraordinary time in our nation’s history.” Kelley continued. “The Covid-19 Global Pandemic has affected every facet of our daily lives and significantly impacted the agriculture and food sectors. Due to uncertainties regarding the course of the pandemic not just in Illinois but across the nation, any attempt to duplicate the in-person experience with online programming would severely compromise the class members’ experience. The foundation of the program is not only the content we provide, but the personal networking and engagement opportunities for each of our participants.”
“While we will be pausing in-person programming for the next year, the organization and current class will not be idle”, commented Lee Strom, IALF President and CEO. “We’ll be implementing new online experiences for the Class of 2022 participants and will utilize this next year to conduct an extensive review of all aspects of the program. While the pandemic has brought significant challenges to society, we plan to embrace the new realities of the coming “Post-Covid era” by incorporating new and innovative structure into our programming as we continue to develop world-class leaders. When the pandemic is finally behind, our goal is to emerge with an even stronger Illinois Agriculture Leadership Program that ensures Illinois remains at the forefront of agriculture locally, nationally, and internationally”.
The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Program currently has plans to launch a webinar series on relevant topics to its nearly 550 IALP alumni members. “Though the in-person seminars will be delayed, the Class of 2022 will have the unique opportunity to engage and learn from alumni and notable speakers through this extended programming,” stated IALP Program Director, Todd Lowery.
The Illinois Agricultural Leadership Foundation provides a 19-month seminar series that develops knowledgeable and effective leaders to become policy and decision-makers for the agricultural industry. It is a non-profit educational corporation under Illinois law. A board of directors, comprised of recognized leaders in agriculture and business, oversees the program.