SUNY Student Leadership Academy

2021 Cohort Programming 

Fall Seminar Series:  SUNY SAIL Student Leadership virtual programs were  held on various Fridays 1:00 -3:00 p.m. throughout the Fall semester. The schedule was as follows:

  • Friday, October 1: Meet and Greet/Set Yourself Up for Success in College
  • Friday, October 15: Know Yourself to Lead Others
  • Friday, October 22: The Power of Mentoring
  • Monday, November 5: Communicating with Impact
  • Friday, November 12: Creating Inclusive Environments As A Student Leader
  • Friday, November 19: Managing People Responsibly: Creating Cultures Of Accountability For Yourself And Others
  • Friday, December 3: Program Reflections and Graduation

Leader Speaker Series: In conjunction with the Fall webinar series, we invited a leader to address the students for the first 30 minutes. We aim to align the program to the background of the speaker. We will kick off each webinar by hearing from an accomplished leader and students will have an opportunity to ask them their questions.

Participation Criteria: With a campus liaison in place, campuses were allowed to send up to two students to attend the Fall 2021 student leadership programming at no cost. The Student Leadership offerings are open to any current SUNY student. Ideally, we strive to have a broad array of students representing the wonderfully rich diversity that defines our student body, with at least two students from every campus. These student leadership offerings will host a maximum of 120 students.

Meet and Greet/Set Yourself Up for Success in College

Friday, October 1

Guest Speakers:

Dacia Banks, Director of Financial Aid, SUNY Morrisville

Kaitlyn Bertleff, SUNY Management Student Advocate Fellow, SUNY System Administration

JoAnne Malatesta, Vice Provost and Dean, Undergraduate Education, University at Albany

Glenn Pichardo, Senior EOP Counselor, SUNY Oneonta and SUNY SAIL Fellow, SUNY SAIL Institute

Gerard J. Puccio, Chair and Professor, International Center for Studies in Creativity, SUNY

Taryn Rackmyer, SUNY Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Student Advocate Fellow, SUNY System Administration, BUffalo State College

Seminar Summary:

A breakdown of the SLA program and expectations was discussed with the students. Guest speakers shared a list of steps that will set students up for success in their leadership path in academic and professional settings.


Know Yourself to Lead Others

Friday, October 15

Guest Speakers:

Meylin Andares, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, IOPS, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Ben Conard, Executive Communications Manager, Fair Trade USA

Deanna Schneider, Legislative Director for State Senator John W. Mannion, New York State Senate

Dr. Martha Asselin, Director of Leadership and Service, University at Albany       

Seminar Summary:

Guest speakers advised students to look inward, assess their strengths, always be open to development opportunities, and figure out their leadership style. 

The Power of Mentoring

Friday, October 22

Guest Speakers:

Laurel McAdoo, Assistant Director, Human Resources, Research Foundation for SUNY

Camilo Medina, Effort Reporting Manager, Virginia Commonwealth University

Jeneeta O’Connor, Compliance Program Manager, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Mike Bishop, Director of Student Leadership, Cornell University

Seminar Summary:

Seven phenomenal panelists discussed the connection between leadership and mentoring, the positive impact it can have, and helpful resources in order to find a mentor for themselves. The students challenged themselves to identify a mentor by the end of October.

Communicating with Impact

Monday, November 5

Guest Speakers:

David Belsky, Founder, Good Rebellion

Sandra Buatti-Ramos, Associate Director of Career Services, Columbia University

Veralyn Williams, Journalist, Faculty Member, Stony Brook University

Drew Kahn, Founding Director, Anne Frank Project & Distinguished Service Full Professor, Theatre, Buffalo State College

Seminar Summary:

During this session, students not only learned the importance of knowing their audience, students also learned to articulate their thoughts in an impactful way, through the art of performance.

Creating Inclusive Environments As A Student Leader

Friday, November 12

Guest Speakers: 

Camille Varlack, Partner & Chief Operating Officer, Bradford Edwards & Varlack LLP, SUNY Trustee
Dr. Ron Milon, Chief Diversity Officer, Fashion Institute of Technology & SUNY SAIL Fellow, SUNY SAIL Institute

Seminar Summary: 

In this session, guest speakers discussed the elements that are necessary for an inclusive environment. Student also learned the strategies of creating an inclusive environment within their communities, as well as learning how to bring the best out of their peers and teams by being a welcoming and encouraging resource. 

Managing People Responsibly: Creating Cultures Of Accountability For Yourself And Others

Friday, November 19

Guest Speakers: 

Valerie Dent, Deputy Chief Operating Officer, SUNY System Administration

Richard Mclain, Vice President, Enterprise Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery, FiServ

Paula Ponsetti-Perez, Director of Center for Disability Resources, Syracuse University

Meg Sheeley, Dean of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, Deputy Title IX Coordinator, SUNY Ulster Community College

Seminar Summary: 

Guest speakers taught students the essentials of people management by teaching them to be responsible for their own success and growth; to be accountable through creating an environment of respect, trust, transparency, and honest; and to be a source of motivation who models the way and follows up with their team. 

Program Reflections and Graduation

Friday, December 3

Guest Speaker:

Cheryl Hamilton, Interim Student Advocate & Executive Director of EOP, SUNY System Administration

Seminar Summary: 

Students had the opportunity to talk to SUNY’s Cheryl Hamilton, the Interim Student Advocate & Executive Director of EOP. Design team members, Campus Liaisons, and Seminar Speakers all had an opportunity to share their words of encouragement and congratulations with the cohort. At the end of the ceremony, the cohort reflected on their academy takeaways and awarded each other their certificate of completion.