Leading the way: Friends Executive Director accepted into the National Park Foundation Leadership Institute Class of 2023

Jeff Rennicke on his boat

The National Park Foundation announced its selection of Friends of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore Executive Director Jeff Rennicke to join its Leadership Institute Class of 2023. 

The Leadership Institute is, according to the National Park Foundation, “an intensive 15-month program designed to identify and support cohorts of leaders within national park partner organizations. More than a training program, the Institute is a professional and personal development experience that provides participants with a unique opportunity to understand and develop their leadership style, build fundamental skills, and receive targeted feedback from their peers and the facilitators. Chosen participants take on an Action Learning Challenge that pushes them personally and professionally, have the support of a coach to see their vision turned into a reality, and are introduced to new ideas and concepts that challenge them to think in new, different, and exciting ways.”

The program includes virtual learning classes as well as two in-person retreats – one in Virginia and one at the site of the 2023 National Park Foundation annual convention, for intensive group training.

The class of 2023 includes representatives from Friends organizations supporting national parks including Yosemite, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon, Rocky Mountain, Virgin Islands, Acadia, and more. “This class brings together a diverse mix of executive directors, program managers, and development directors from across the national park system and beyond,” said Madeleine Balkonis, Associate Program Director of Community Partnerships for the National Park Foundation. “We are excited to have them aboard and look forward to learning alongside each and every one of the members of the 2023 cohort.”  

“I am honored to be among this distinguished class of leaders.”

Jeff rennicke

Rennicke said of the announcement, “The opportunity to be connected with park partners from around the country, to learn and be challenged side-by-side with such an array of leaders, is a great opportunity for Friends of the Apostle Islands and a logical step in the growth and development of our organization.”

Generous donations from board members and supporters of Friends, as well as a scholarship from the National Park Foundation “Strong Parks, Strong Communities” fund, will cover all the associated costs of the program allowing Friends to take advantage of this important opportunity and continue to support their programs and projects in the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

Photograph by John Noltner