Leadership Academy

The AAFCS Community on Building Leadership Capacity is presenting the AAFCS Leadership Academy for new professionals (BS degree or greater with up to 7 years membership in AAFCS) who wish to design their own leadership plan in order to secure their preferred future as leaders in AAFCS. The 2023 Leadership Academy will begin with virtual sessions starting in April 2023. The Academy will be held one and one-half days prior to the 2023 AAFCS Annual Conference with sessions also held during the Annual Conference. Activities of the Academy will continue throughout the following year with conference/Zoom calls, additional interactive learnings, networking with fellow participants to complete two selected projects which benefit affiliates and AAFCS, and interacting with mentors. Scroll down to see our 2021 and past participants!

2019 Leadership Academy Participants and Board of Directors

Additional Information for Potential Participants and Mentors

Academy Participants

The Leadership Academy is an organized effort to assure that a professional cohort of potential new leaders will be available to assume leadership positions in committees, communities, councils, and as elected officers nationally or at the affiliate level in AAFCS for this decade and beyond. Focusing on new leaders, the Academy will address competencies needed for assessing one’s attributes and skills in Leading Yourself, Leading Others, and Leading AAFCS. Seasoned leaders will serve as mentors.

As a participant you will:


By active participation in the Leadership Academy experience, the participant will meet the following outcomes of the Leadership Academy:
  1. Gain knowledge and skills that facilitate the development of personal leadership skills (Leading Oneself).
  2. Assume leadership roles in AAFCS (Leading AAFCS/Leading Others).
  3. Develop a supporting network of colleagues who will link new leaders with resources throughout their professional and volunteer experiences. (Leading Oneself).
  4. Partner with a mentor to enhance leadership abilities.

Participant Requirements


  • AAFCS Professional Member for 7 years or less (as of Oct. 1, 2022)
  • B.S. degree or greater (by August 31, 2022)
  • Must participate in the virtual sessions prior to the Academy, attend the 2023 Leadership Academy and AAFCS Annual Conference
  • Commit to work individually, with a mentor, and with a cohort April 2023-June 2024 on further development of leadership skills through completing an Affiliate project and AAFCS Project
  • Participate and be involved in networking and ongoing learning and interacting online
  • Attendance at 2024 Annual Conference strongly encouraged.
Academy Application will be posted by late Spring 2022.

Academy Mentors

A vital part of the Leadership Academy will be the pairing of the Academy participant with a mentor who is an AAFCS member who has been active in various aspects of leadership with AAFCS.  For the 2023 Academy, the mentor/mentee pairing will take place in April with opportunities for pairs to interact virtually before the June Academy. Mentors will not participate in the Academy but will interact with participants in two sessions during the 2023 AAFCS Annual Conference and then continue interaction as mentor/mentee pairs throughout the following year.

As a mentor you will:

  • Spend time connecting with your mentee to gain insight as to his/her needs.
  • Work with the mentee to develop goals for the mentee/mentor relationship.
  • Identify and use multiple venues of communications with your mentee.
  • Commit to one year beginning April 2023 to a mentor/mentee relationship.
  • Partner with a mentee to enhance leadership abilities.

Mentor Requirements

  • Must have had National and/or Affiliate leadership experience in AAFCS.
  • Have a minimum of 5 years of membership.
  • Desire to develop AAFCS leaders.
  • Interact with your mentee in virtual sessions scheduled two days prior to the 2023 AAFCS Annual Conference and two sessions during the Annual Conference.
  • Commit to a minimum of one year beginning April 2023.

Academy Mentor Application will be posted by late Spring 2022.

2021 Academy Participants

Kaycee Brannan - IN
Robyn Cafiero -NJ
Landon Calderwood – IA
Angela Gott – KY
Karleah Harris – AR
Rachel Jumper – TX
Veronica Oates – TN
Jane Opiri – AR
Elizabeth Ramsey – TN
Barbara Scully – WA
Toni Wiese – NE
Valerie Williams - NC

2015 Academy Participants

Esther Aloia
Lisa Brooks
Meilana Charles
Jamie Diehl
Susan Hamlin
Amanpreet Kaur
Penny Manakalani Kelsay
Sung-Jin Lee
Ricki McWilliams
Kathleen Mellenberg
Martha Ravola
Cassandra Temaat
Misty Vinson Hughes
Heather Wallace

2019 Academy Participants

Kathryn Carroll, Arkansas
LaTasha Coleman, Mississippi
Sarah Dodoo, Illinois
Alivia Faris, Kentucky
Nikki Heflin, Indiana
Shawnee Hendershot, Kansas
Leah Jolosky, Kansas
Latrice Matthews, California
Patches Moats, Idaho
Amber Roth, Tennessee
Patricia Schusterman, Illinois
Hannah Upole, Tennessee
Celeste Windham, Texas

2013 Academy Participants

Kyley Brooks Anderson
Menia Chester
Larissa Cremeens
Elizabeth Creed
Ashley Davis
Elowin Harper
Janet Holden
Beth Newcomb Hopfer
Crystal Duncan Lane
Allison Lewis
Morgan Milstead
Amanda Repp
Lara Savage Angel
Julie Sims
Pegi Wright

2017 Academy Participants

Shandi Andres 
Rufaro Chitiyo 
Chantelle Eggleton 
Kate Gronquist 
Amber James 
Anne Pitts 
Heidi Radunovich 
Mia Russell 
Rachel Schichtl 
Julie Temple
Deborah Williams 
Joe Zacher