The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) graduated 37 regional leaders from the Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy, an extensive, nine-month leadership development program that brings together public, private, and nonprofit sector leaders from the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions.
The 2023 DLI Executive Academy Class was selected through a competitive application process led by DRA’s eight state governors and DRA’s federal co-chairman. Six of this year’s graduates were from Arkansas.
“The Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy is an essential instrument for nurturing community placemaking and capacity building in the Delta region,” said Federal Co-Chairman Dr. Corey Wiggins. “This program equips a dedicated and diverse group of leaders to drive change within and outside of their communities and accelerate prosperity across the region.”
Since 2005, the DLI Executive Academy has provided leadership development to more than 700 community leaders from diverse backgrounds, sectors, and industries to improve economic competitiveness and social viability throughout the Delta region. DRA created the program to empower a corps of leaders with the tools, experiences, and networks to address local and regional economic development challenges.
The graduates participated in six in-person sessions led by local, regional, and national experts and covered policy areas and skills related to public infrastructure, regional transportation systems, workforce development, coalition-building, and other fields necessary to facilitate economic development in the Delta.
Graduates from Arkansas include:
- Joshua Agee, Mayor, City of Paragould
- Kristi Hopper, Executive Director, Main Street Osceola
- Ronald Hunt, Attorney, Arkansas Fair Housing Commission
- Kendra Phillips, Consultant, Phillips Consulting Firm
- Aaron Pilkington, State Representative and Vice President of Strategic Communications, ARcare
- Brendan Spaulding, Field Representative, U.S. Representative Bruce Westerman