May 18, 2017

Delta Leadership Institute opens application cycle for 2017-2018 Executive Academy

CLARKSDALE, Miss. — The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) today opened its application cycle for the 2017-2018 Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy. Since 2005, the Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) has selected a diverse group of community leaders across the Delta who are dedicated to improving their communities.

The application for the 2017-2018 Executive Academy is available now online and will be accepted until July 14, 2017. Interested applicants can learn more about the program and begin the application at

“The Executive Academy is one of DRA’s strongest programs to help communities advance economically and address some of the toughest structural challenges we see in the Delta,” DRA Chairman Chris Masingill said. “This program trains community leaders to identify regional solutions through collaborative partnerships with colleagues across the Delta region so that our local communities can compete nationally and globally.”

DRA developed the Institute in 2005 to continually develop Delta leaders committed to helping create jobs, build their local communities and improve the lives of residents. DLI provides professional leadership and policy training on issues that advance the growth and development of Delta communities. Participants explore strategies that help communities and economies grow, and are exposed to a network with opportunities to share best practices, collaborate and exchange information with each other.

DLI fellows attend six sessions over nine months, traveling to communities in each of DRA’s eight states. Fellows will learn from existing programs and community models, case study discussions, and grassroots organizing and community engagement techniques.  Field experiences focus on priority issues for improving the region, including infrastructure development, workforce training and education, entrepreneurship, disaster resilience, public health, and creative placemaking.

Upon graduation, DLI fellows become members of the Delta Leadership Network (DLN), which gives them opportunities to engage in continued learning, information sharing, and collaboration at regional levels within their state and across the Delta region. 

2017-2018 Schedule

Orientation: October 23-27 | Potosi, MO

Session II: December 4-8 | Memphis, TN/Clarksdale, MS

Session III : February 26-March 2 | New Orleans, LA

Session IV: April 23-27 | Selma, AL

Session V: June 4-8 | Jonesboro, AR

Graduation: July 23-27 | Paducah, KY/Carbondale, IL

*All dates represent the week the session will be held, but the class will only meet for 3-4 days during that week.

About the Delta Leadership Institute

The Delta Leadership Institute is a program of the Delta Regional Authority in partnership with the University of Alabama, Arkansas State University, and the University of Louisiana at Monroe. Through its Executive Academy, DLI has provided leadership development to 500 community leaders over twelve years and strengthened skills development, information sharing, and regional collaboration. DLI maintains an environment for continued education and engagement for its alumni through the Delta Leadership Network. Learn more at

August 4, 2017

Delta Leadership Institute builds capacity across the region

LAKE BARKLEY, Ky. – The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) today celebrates 49 new graduates of the Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) who will collaborate with DRA’s leadership team to continue helping create jobs, build communities, and improve lives across the Mississippi River Delta region and the Black Belt of Alabama.

The 49 graduates have completed the year-long DLI Executive Academy, a training program that brings together business and community leaders from each of the eight states served by DRA to gain the tools, experiences, and networks that will help them enhance economic opportunities in their communities as well as boost our regional economy.

The graduates have participated in seven workshops over the past year to help them understand the economic development needs of the Delta region and build a collaborative leadership experience that emphasizes a regional approach to growing local economies and creating opportunities for the 10 million residents of the Delta region. DLI fellows learn from local, regional and national experts in infrastructure and transportation, small business and entrepreneurship, workforce training, and other economic development fields, experiencing what is working to boost economies in the Delta region.

“Our DLI graduates will make lasting contributions to their communities and the Delta region as a whole,” said Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, States’ Co-Chairwoman for DRA. “Through the program DLI graduates have developed a rich network of resources, experiences, and colleagues that increase their capacity to go help move their communities forward. They have received field experience in all eight states served by DRA, which has given them a full appreciation of the challenges and opportunities our region faces.”

A full list of the 2016-17 graduates of the DLI Executive Academy can be found here.

Since 2005 DLI's Executive Academy has enhanced the leadership skills, policy knowledge, and networks of community members in the Delta region. After graduation, DLI graduates become members of the Delta Leadership Network, which now includes nearly 500 members who understand the importance of regional collaboration, resource sharing, and innovative thinking.

DLI is a program of the Delta Regional Authority in partnership with three institutions of higher education from within the DRA footprint: The University of Alabama, Arkansas State University-Jonesboro and The University of Louisiana Monroe.

September 5, 2017

Now Accepting Letters of Interest for DLN Continuing Education at Harvard

With nearly 500 graduates and members of the Delta Leadership Network, our region has crucial assets in each of the Network's members who understand the importance of regional collaboration, resource sharing, and innovative thinking. One of the objectives of the Delta Leadership Network is to foster continued education for Delta leaders. In support of this objective, Delta Regional Authority and the Delta Leadership Institute are proud to offer the 3rd continuing education training opportunity at Harvard University exclusively to the Delta Leadership Network this coming Fall. 

DLN members are invited to submit a letter of interest to participate in the Authentic Leadership executive education program at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from Monday, November 27-Thursday, November 30, 2017 (DRAFT Schedule).

The program is designed and led by Harvard faculty and focuses on cutting edge leadership principles in the U.S. More information on Harvard Kennedy School Executive Education can be found at

A full briefing of the guidelines and expectations of this program is available here: Harvard Experience Guidelines. Please make sure to read this document fully.

Your letter of interest must include:

  • A detailed report (no more than 250 words) of your involvement with the Delta Leadership Network and Delta Regional Authority since your graduation from the Executive Academy. Please include years you attended DLN Conferences and State Dinners;
  • A short narrative (no more than 250 words) on how DLI has influenced your professional life and your expected use of the Authentic Leadership training that you can take back to your community;
  • and An updated resume.

Letters of interest will be accepted until 5:00 pm on Monday, September 25. Letters of interest and attachments should be submitted via email to Andrea Allen at Meals, lodging, and tuition will be provided while at Harvard. Accepted participants will be responsible for round trip airfare expenses to the Boston area and transportation to and from the hotel and the Harvard University campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Please direct any questions to Spencer Lucker ( or Andrea Allen (