Twenty-five aspiring women leaders have been selected to be part of the inaugural class of the Arkansas Delta Women’s Leadership Academy (ADWLA) through Arkansas State University.
The more than two dozen participants are from 17 Arkansas Delta counties and were selected from a competitive field of applicants.
This new endeavor is a leadership development program at A-State, led by Andrea Allen, executive director of the Delta Center for Economic Development, Dr. Cherisse Jones-Branch, dean of the Graduate School at A-State, along with program coordinator Cari White.
The primary goal of the six sessions, which will be held in various cities, is to further develop a pipeline of talented women across the Arkansas Delta by equipping them with the skills and networks to become successful leaders.
“We are encouraged by the quality and diversity of all of the applications received for the leadership academy. This is the first step in building a strong network of Delta women who will initiate change in their communities,” said Allen.
Participants for the program were selected from over 55 applicants from diverse professions, backgrounds, and communities. A panel of distinguished judges reviewed and ranked each application. The first session will be in Jonesboro in January. Other meetings will be held across the Delta throughout the year with the program culminating in November with a graduation ceremony
“This is an impressive group of women, and we are very excited about working with them,” said Dr. Jones-Branch.
The 2024 class of the Arkansas Women’s Leadership Academy includes:
– Lee Ann Blackwell-Hoskyn, director of East Arkansas operations, Express Employment Professionals
– Katrina Brown, customer service manager, Entergy Arkansas
– Bailey Perricone, health navigator team lead, Main Street Rural Health
– Juanita Acosta, project manager and community navigator, El Centro Hispano
– Brandi Hodges, assistant director of university communications, Arkansas State University
– Christie Prestidge, operations director, Tiger Correctional Services
– Ashtyn Lockley, crop protection sales rep, Syngenta
– Kennidi Rigell, community liaison, New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine
– Jan Stephenson, director of integrated services, DePaul Community Health
– Caroline White, human resources manager, SeaArk Boats
– Erica Cooper, assistant vice president of community development, FNBC
– Jeanette Youngblood, dean of career education, University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville
– Amber Grady, dean of community outreach, ASU-Newport
– Yulonda James, founder and evangelist, Great Expectations World Outreach
– Lacey Robinett, real estate broker, Archer Realty
– Ashley Reed, center manager, CAPCA Lonoke Head Start
– Stephanie White, mayor of Keo
– Alisha Williams, human resource director, City of Blytheville
– Jannie Cole, sexual violence prevention lead, Arkansas National Guard, Integrated Primary Prevention
– Monique Levvi, assistant programming and special events coordinator, Pulaski County Government Youth Service
– Carleisha Murry, health outreach coordinator, Rural Community Alliance
– JLynn Perkins, risk and performance improvement director, Little Creek Behavioral Health
– Tessa Cripe, special education teacher, Pocahontas High School
– Hannah St. John, special education teacher, Batesville High School Charter
– Jade Kennon, director of grants and finance, ARcare.