Cohort members announced for the 2024 Leadership Advancement Program

The Great Lakes Leadership Academy has selected 24 individuals to participate in 2024.

For decorative purposes. Conveys names and organizational affiliations of 2024 cohort members for the Leadership Advancement Program, which is included in the body text of the article.

The Great Lakes Leadership Academy (GLLA), through Michigan State University Extension, is pleased to announce the 24 individuals selected to participate in the 2024 Leadership Advancement Program:

  • Jon Beard, Public Sector Consultants
  • Christina Carter, Great Lakes Fishery Commission
  • Christine Heverly, Michigan State University Extension
  • Tiffany Jones, Detroit Water & Sewerage Department
  • Andrea LaFontaine, Michigan Trails & Greenways Alliance
  • Caroline Liethen, Michigan Manufacturers Association
  • Charles Loveland, Golden Harvest
  • Andrea Munoz-Hernandez, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy
  • Matthew Munsell, Munsell's Poultry Processing and Munsell Farms
  • David Ortega, Michigan State University
  • Taylor Ridderbusch, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
  • Marisa Rinkus, Toolbox Dialogue Initiative Center
  • Rebecca Rogers, Michigan Natural Features Inventory
  • Mitchell Schafer, Greenstone Farm Credit Services
  • Emily Sorroche, Michigan State University
  • Julie Staveland, Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy
  • Jason Stephens, Michigan Department of Natural Resources
  • Tina Stephens, City of Ann Arbor
  • Jenna Tews, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Katelyn Thompson, Everett Cash Mutual
  • Carla Wardin, Evergreen Dairy
  • Benjamin Wickerham, The Nature Conservancy, Michigan Chapter
  • Mike Witkowski, Michigan State Senate
  • Michael Wozniak, Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development

This cohort was selected from a competitive applicant pool more than three times the size of program spots available. Jordan Burroughs, Great Lakes Leadership Academy director, shared: “We had the most applicants we have ever had for one of our programs. We were absolutely amazed by the quality of candidates, and it was a very difficult decision.”

All candidates submitted a written application, essay responses, completed an interview, and references were contacted—including a supervisory endorsement. The Great Lakes Leadership Academy Advisory Council reviewed the proposed slate and made the final selection decision.

These leaders represent diverse industries and regions of Michigan including agriculture, agribusiness, conservation, food systems, natural resources, education, and government. Participants will examine their own personal leadership journey and explore complex community-based challenges from different perspectives.

“The cohort is not only impressive, there’s also a huge variety in professional and life experiences. That’s going to make for an even richer dialogue. The cross-sector connections they make in this program will benefit them for years to come,” Burroughs said.

The Leadership Advancement Program will include two classroom intensives, three community-based regional experiences, virtual cohort projects, and one international travel experience to South Africa. The program is designed for leaders who are committed to strengthening their leadership skills and empowering their communities and organizations to lead for the common good. To learn more about this program and other offerings from the Great Lakes Leadership Academy, visit

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