NCF Names Next Generation Leadership Cohort

CONTACT: Sara Kangas, NACD Director of Communications
(202) 547-6223; sara-kangas[at]


December 16, 2019


WASHINGTON – Today, the National Conservation Foundation (NCF) announced the names of the seven participants in the inaugural cohort of the Next Generation Leadership Institute (NGLI).

The Next Generation Leadership Institute was formally launched in August of 2019 as a year-long program to build future conservation leaders through comprehensive trainings. The 2020 NGLI cohort participants were selected through a competitive national application process.

“It’s a privilege to announce these seven participants as members of our inaugural NGLI cohort,” NCF Chairman Steve Robinson said. “This group of candidates demonstrated remarkable passion for locally-led conservation, and I look forward to seeing how their skills continue to develop over the next year.”

The inaugural cohort consists of Barbara Bleiweis from Charlotte, N.C.; Ryan Britt from Clifton Hill, Mo.; Phil Campbell from Luther, Okla.; Joe Caughlin from Tonkawa, Okla.; Mark Masters from Dawson, Ga.; Cassius Spears from Ashaway, R.I.; and Samantha Steiner from Franklin, Ohio.

NGLI participants will meet for four training sessions throughout the year, with a capstone session at the National Association of Conservation Districts’ (NACD) annual meeting in New Orleans in 2021. NGLI curriculum will equip leaders with skills and resources related to personal, civic and organizational leadership development.

This comprehensive training will help participants rise to meet the future needs of natural resources management, helping them to increase their capacity to navigate and manage complex conservation challenges – both current and future – at the local and national level.

The cohort will convene for their first session at the NACD 74th Annual Meeting in Las Vegas, Feb. 7-11, 2020. Learn more at


Supporters of the program include the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service, National Association of State Conservation Agencies, National Conservation District Employees Association, Noble Research Institute, Syngenta, Soil Health Institute and Farm Credit. Applications for the 2021 Cohort will be announced in the Spring of 2020.

The mission of the National Conservation Foundation (NCF) is to identify and advance strategic programs and partnerships to deliver conservation solutions through locally-led conservation and to develop the next generation of conservation leaders. Learn more at

Latest News

Calendar of Events

Find your Local District

Accessibility Toolbar