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Leadership Academy


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

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

That’s where the Big I New York Leadership Academy comes in.

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

What is the Big I New York Leadership Academy?

The Leadership Academy is a 6-day intensive program focused on coaching team members, identifying strengths and growth areas, and giving them the tools and skills they need to be a successful agency leader.  

How often does the Leadership Academy meet?

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

Who are the instructors?

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. 

What topics are covered?

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

What is the agenda like?

  • 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

What materials are required?

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

What is the tuition cost?

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

Why should I nominate my employee for the Leadership Academy?

  • 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

How do I get started?

I want to nominate an employee!
Have them apply here and we'll be in touch

I want to apply!
Apply here and we'll be in touch.


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

Schedule a Meeting with Jim

Meet Your Instructors

Cliff D’Angelo has always had a passion for coaching people. He’s enjoyed a successful career in sales and management for nearly 30 years, working at 3 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.
Jim 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.  

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