Delta Regional Authority graduates 24 from leadership institute

by George Jared ([email protected]) 515 views 

The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) graduated 24 regional leaders from the Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy. The 2021 DLI class marks the 16th year of DLI-trained regional leaders, composed of government, non-profit, and business professionals from all eight DRA states.

Since 2005, the DLI Executive Academy has enhanced leadership skills, policy knowledge, and networks of community members in the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions. The leadership development program empowers fellows with the tools, experiences, and networks to address local and regional challenges, improve decision-making, understand policy development, and strengthen leadership capacity and mutual understanding of regional, state, and local cultures.

“Congratulations to the 2021 Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy fellows on their graduation,” said DRA Alternate Federal Co-Chairwoman Leslie Durham. “I am proud to celebrate and honor your leadership, commitment, and perseverance this year. My challenge to each DLI graduate now is to return home and use the knowledge, training, and relationships gained from DLI to invest back into their communities.”

The graduates participated in six training sessions over the past year, learning best practices employed throughout the Delta region for economic and community development in order to catalyze innovative solutions implementable in their own community and region. DLI fellows learned from subject matter experts in infrastructure and transportation, small business and entrepreneurship, workforce development, public health, and other fields necessary to facilitate economic growth.

The 2021 DLI Executive Academy graduates are:

Kaia Greene (Birmingham, AL) | Budget Analyst, U.S. Department of Labor

Sarah Mills (Prattville, AL) | Regional Workforce Council Liaison, Alabama Department of Commerce – AIDT

Becca Caldwell (Little Rock, AR) | Division of Rural Services Director, Arkansas Economic Development Commission

Kimberly Davis (Little Rock, AR) | Director of Public Engagement, Office of the Governor

Tamika Jenkins (Blytheville, AR) | Vice President of Economic Development, Mississippi County, AR Economic Development

Rachel Langley-Hayes (Crossett, AR) | Field Representative and Constituent Services Representative, U.S. Congressman Bruce Westerman

Dr. Kyle Miller (Helena, AR) | Museum Director, Delta Cultural Center

Clint O’Neal (Conway, AR) | Executive Vice President of Global Business, Arkansas Economic Development Commission

Angela Rowe (Harrisburg, IL) | Owner and Designer, Decorating Den Interiors

Hellena Shorty (Carbondale, IL) | Senate Aide, Office of U.S. Senator Richard Durbin

Ronnie White (Red Bud, IL) | Commissioner, Randolph County Board of Commissioners

Brooke Simmons (Hickman, IL) | Community Relations Director, Obion County Joint Economic Development Corporation

Friday Ellis (Monroe, LA) | Mayor, City of Monroe

Raushanah Hunter (Baton Rouge, LA) | Development Director, City Year Baton Rouge

Allie Lee (Baton Rouge, LA) | Digital Strategist, Office of the Louisiana Lt. Governor

Christina Berry (Brandon, MS) | Founder, Urban District Planners

Will Coppage (Greenville, MS) | Executive Director, Washington County Economic Alliance

Sally Burbridge (Salem, MO) | Economic Development Director, City of Salem

Jonathan Douglass (Sikeston, MO) | City Manager, City of Sikeston

Darci Malam (Bucyrus, MO) | Project Management Specialist, Delta Regional Authority

Rebeca Pacheco (Poplar Bluff, MO) | Executive Director, Butler County Community Resource Council

Tammy Hall (Dyersburg, TN) | Vice President, Dyersburg/Dyer County Chamber of Commerce

Lauren Kirk (Jackson, TN) | Director of Performance Management, City of Jackson

Catina Stark (Jackson, TN) | Supervisor, Wright Medical

After graduation, DLI fellows become members of the Delta Leadership Network, which is comprised of more than 600 community leaders who advocate for regional collaboration, resource sharing, and innovative thinking.

DLI is a program of DRA in partnership with three institutions of higher education: Arkansas State University, the University of Louisiana Monroe, and the University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business Executive Education.