Delta Leadership Institute completes 2015-16 Executive Academy

Pictured (left to right): Chris Masingill of Delta Regional Authority, Lane Riley of Shaw, Shellie Michael of Jackson, Dr. Rolando Herts of Delta State University, Joshua Bower of Jackson, Amanda Allen of Clarksdale, Tracy Ausberry of Clarksdale, Jessie Whitley of Greenville, and Mike Marshall of Delta Regional Authority.

Pictured (left to right): Chris Masingill of Delta Regional Authority, Lane Riley of Shaw, Shellie Michael of Jackson, Dr. Rolando Herts of Delta State University, Joshua Bower of Jackson, Amanda Allen of Clarksdale, Tracy Ausberry of Clarksdale, Jessie Whitley of Greenville, and Mike Marshall of Delta Regional Authority.

Fifty community leaders have successfully completed the year-long Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy, a program of the Delta Regional Authority. The Executive Academy is a training program that brings together business and community leaders from each of the eight states of the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions for a collaborative leadership development experience, emphasizing regional approaches to growing local economies and creating opportunities for the people of the Delta region.

Each graduate completed leadership development coursework and field studies in the year-long program that included five sessions in Delta communities and one session in Washington, D.C.

Seven DLI fellows, nominated by Governor Phil Bryant and DRA federal co-chairman Chris Masingill, represented Mississippi this year:

– Amanda Allen of Delta Regional Authority, Clarksdale
– Tracy Ausberry of Delta Regional Authority, Clarksdale
– Joshua Bower of Mississippi Community College Board, Jackson
– Dr. Rolando Herts of Delta State University, Cleveland
– Shellie Michael of Mississippi Minority Business Alliance, Jackson
– Lane Riley of Delta Hands for Hope, Shaw
– Jessie Whitley of the City of Greenville
– Jessie Whitley of Greenville

Dr. Rolando Herts, Director of The Delta Center at Delta State with DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill (left) and Alternate Federal Co-Chairman Mike Marshall (right)

Dr. Rolando Herts, Director of The Delta Center at Delta State with DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill (left) and Alternate Federal Co-Chairman Mike Marshall (right)

“For our communities to grow and support strong economies that create opportunities for Delta residents, we need local leaders that understand the local and regional challenges that we face, as well as the networks and resources that can help identify solutions and address these challenges,” Masingill said. “The Delta Leadership Institute’s dynamic programming and ever-growing alumni network are helping to meet this need and empower our region’s leaders to make the Delta a better place to live and work.”

In addition to the program certificate, participants graduate with an industry-recognized certification in Crucial Conversations. Present for the ceremony were Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson Masingill, alternate federal co-chairman Mike Marshall, and Alice Perry, Gov. Bryant’s senior policy advisor and designee to the DRA board.

Gov. Bryant said, “I am grateful to DRA for cultivating leadership that will strengthen Mississippi, and I thank the graduates for taking an active role in improving their communities. Being from the Delta, I appreciate the importance of leadership for this region of our state.”

Members of the 2016 Mississippi Delegation at the Arkansas State Capitol. 

Members of the 2016 Mississippi Delegation at the Arkansas State Capitol. 

The DRA is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. Through the Rural Communities Advancement Program, the DRA has provided leadership development to more than 400 community leaders over 10 years and strengthened regional collaboration with its Delta Leadership Institute.

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