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Leadership Academy



Are you an undiscovered star or current manager ready to move to the next level?

Do you have a future leader in your agency, but don’t have the time and resources to help them reach their full potential?


Join the Big I New York Leadership Academy and learn to lead your agency to success.





The Leadership Academy is a transformative 6-day intensive program designed to elevate the leadership capabilities of team members within an agency. Participants will engage in dynamic sessions covering communication, vision, goal planning, team development, and real-world leadership, focusing on identifying individual strengths and growth areas. By the end of the program, participants will be equipped with the essential tools and skills necessary for effective leadership, ready to inspire their teams and drive the agency toward continued success.

The Leadership Academy meets once a week for 6 weeks in a virtual setting. We currently have two academies scheduled for 2024:

Fall Academy

  • September 18
  • September 25
  • October 2
  • October 9
  • October 16
  • October 23
  • Day 1: Levels of communication, principles of connection, diversity and inclusion, agency communication 
  • Day 2: Vision, direction, & inspiration; types of goals; goal planning; goal management   
  • Day 3: Setting expectation; structure; management vs. leading; motion and inspiration; case studies & questions 
  • Day 4: Team projects; ideal presentations; team building process; PowerPoint skills 
  • Day 5: Leadership in the real world; the power of caring; candid coaching; real-world leadership 
  • Day 6: Team projects, course wrap-up, awards ceremony; course evaluation

$2900 for Big I NY members; $5000 for non-members.

The course requires a workbook, included in the tuition cost.

  • Championship structures 
  • Managing vs. leading
  • Team development
  • Diversity, equality, and inclusion
  • Levels of Leadership
  • Communication styles
  • Goal setting
  • Expectations and accountability

Our instructors are Cliff D'Angelo of Greencliff and April Ballestero of One Light Ahead, and Jim Lombardo of Big I New York. Cliff and April have decades of executive coaching and sales experience and are ready to help team members reach their potential. Jim has years of experience in the insurance industry, management, and as an instructor.

  • They could be the person who pays for your retirement through agency perpetuation
  • You don’t have the time/format to adequately train your next rising star
  • You have a manager who could use some coaching to really excel in their position
  • You’ll give your employee exposure to running an agency that they don’t get on a day-to-day basis
  • You’ll end up with a more professional, more productive employee
  • If your employee writes one large commercial account because of the skills gained at the Academy, you’ll likely offset the cost of tuition


Sign me up

 I want to nominate an employee


We’ve put together a top-notch team of expert coaches to guide and train in core leadership skills.


has always had a passion for coaching people. He’s enjoyed a successful career in sales and management for nearly 30 years, working at three multimillion dollar, industry-leading companies: Moore Business Forms, Kohler Plumbing Products, and Ferguson Enterprises.

He is an Og Mandino Habit Finder Certified Coach, and finds those writings and principles the keys to selling and coaching success. He also coaches high school football and girls lacrosse in Florida.

april-headshot.jpgAPRIL BALLESTERO

has decades of experience in sales, leadership, management, and training. She holds a Masters of Leadership from William Jessup University, an Og Mandino Leadership and Habit Finder Certification, and an Abelson Disc and Emotional Intelligence Certification.

Her clients have used her services to double their revenue; grow strong, healthy, and connected teams; and to increase productivity, value and opportunity through her customized coaching experiences. LOMBARDO

has been in the insurance industry since 1982. He previously has worked for Utica National, Merchants, Met P+C and National Grange Mutual.

He became licensed and worked for a large independent agency in Central NY until 2002 when he started his own firm. For the past 17 years, he ran an insurance agency and a Registered Investment Advisor for one of the largest credit unions in New York. He joined Big I NY in 2019 as The AVP of Learning and Development.

He has a B.S. in Management Science from SUNY Geneseo and an M.B.A. from SUNY Empire State.  Jim truly enjoys teaching insurance and “giving back” as an adjunct instructor for Utica College, Mohawk Valley Community College and LeMoyne College. He is a certified pre-licensing instructor for the New York State Department of Financial Services.


Ask Jim!

Jim Lombardo, CPCU, AAI, AIM, MBA
AVP of Learning & Development
800.962.7950 EXT: 226