About the Executive Academy

The 252 counties and parishes served by the Delta Regional Authority make up one of the most distressed regions of the country, facing profound economic, health, educational, and infrastructure challenges. The Delta Leadership Institute was created to empower a corps of leaders with the tools, experiences, and networks to address these local and regional challenges. The DLI Executive Academy trains leaders from diverse backgrounds, sectors, and industries to improve the economic competitiveness and social viability of the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt.




Develop skills and knowledge in policy areas relevant to economic and community development and competencies that enhance your ability to improve your community. Visit eight states and learn from more than 12 communities the strategies that are helping grow local economies in diverse cities and towns throughout the region. Connect with fellow community leaders, practitioners, and experts to develop a strong network for regional collaboration, information sharing, and continued learning.

Sessions cover policy areas and skills such as:

> Regionalism > Infrastructure > Public-Private Partnerships
> Public Health > Transportation > Grassroots Organizing
> Entrepreneurship > Creative Placemaking > Public Policy & Governance
> Culture & Tourism > Education & Workforce > Coalition Building

Delta Regional Innovator Certificate

New to the Delta Leadership Institute, the 2017-18 Executive Academy will offer as part of the programming the Delta Regional Innovator certificate, which is designed to provide DLI fellows with specific skill sets they can take back to their communities and implement immediately. To reach this goal, each session of DLI will incorporate hands-on workshops, engaging field experiences, and interactive consultancy protocols which lead to a multi-faceted understanding of each core competency:

  1. Develop resources for the community (including financial, human, and physical);
  2. Facilitate grassroots and local governance;
  3. Work with legislators on regional and state-wide initiatives;
  4. Sustain collaborative relationships; and
  5. Communicate with a diverse population. 

At the end of the Executive Academy, fellows will demonstrate their knowledge and use of these skills through the presentation of a group project focused on solving an issue in their region. Fellows who fully participate in the designated certification activities will receive the non-credit DRI Certificate, which is backed jointly by The University of Alabama, Arkansas State University, and University of Louisiana Monroe and accredited by The University of Alabama College of Continuing Studies.

2017-18 Executive Academy

The application cycle for the 2017-18 Executive Academy is now CLOSED. Click here to meet the 2017-18 DLI fellows.

The 2017-2018 Schedule takes DLI fellows to every state in the Delta region and connects them with alumni through the Annual DLN Conference and welcome events at each session:

  • Session I: Orientation October 23-26, 2017 | Potosi, MO (attendance mandatory)
  • Session II ​December 6-8, 2017 | Memphis, TN/Clarksdale, MS
  • Delta Leadership Network Conference February 5-7, 2018 | Memphis, TN
  • Session III February 28-March 2, 2018 | New Orleans, LA
  • Session IV Week of April 23-27, 2018 | Selma, AL *Exact dates TBD
  • Session V Week of June 4-8, 2018 | Jonesboro, AR *Exact dates TBD
  • Session VI: Graduation July 24-27, 2018 | Paducah, KY/Carbondale, IL

Watch these testimonials from alumni and DLN members to learn about the many ways the DLI Executive Academy can provide you with the training, resources, and networking tools you need to make a positive impact in your Delta community!

For questions regarding eligibility and/or the application process, view the Frequently Asked Questions page or contact slucker@dra.gov.

***Application Cycle for 2018-19 Executive Academy will open Spring 2018...Nominate someone today***