Frequently Asked Questions - Information on the DLI Executive Academy

The Executive Academy meets seven times throughout the course of the year. The dates below represent the week the session will be held, but the class will only meet 3-4 days during that week, with exact dates to be confirmed upon acceptance into program.

  • Session I: Orientation
    October 29-November 2, 2018 | Memphis, TN
    (attendence mandatory)

  • Session II: Improving Workforce Competitiveness
    ​December 3-7, 2018 | Vicksburg, MS

  • Session III & Delta Leadership Network Conference
    February 4-8, 2019 | Little Rock, AR

  • Session IV: Strengthening Modern Infrastructure
    March 25-29, 2019 | New Orleans, LA

  • Session V: Increasing Community Capacity
    May 13-17, 2018 | Alabama Black Belt

  • Session VI: Organizing for Community Success
    June 17-21, 2019 | Cape Girardeau, MO/Carbondale, IL

  • Session VI: Graduation
    August 5-9, 2018 | Paducah, KY/Carbondale, IL

Participants attend seven sessions across the Delta region to engage in advocacy training, case study discussion, and on-the-ground field experiences that highlight strategies for improving priority issue areas for the region, including Workforce Training and Education, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Public Health, Transportation, Infrastructure, and Creative Placemaking.

  • Session I: Orientation
    October 29-November 2, 2018 | Memphis, TN
    (attendence mandatory)

  • Session II: Improving Workforce Competitiveness
    ​December 3-7, 2018 | Vicksburg, MS

  • Session III & Delta Leadership Network Conference
    February 4-8, 2019 | Little Rock, AR

  • Session IV: Strengthening Modern Infrastructure
    March 25-29, 2019 | New Orleans, LA

  • Session V: Increasing Community Capacity
    May 13-17, 2018 | Alabama Black Belt

  • Session VI: Organizing for Community Success
    June 17-21, 2019 | Cape Girardeau, MO/Carbondale, IL

  • Session VI: Graduation
    August 5-9, 2018 | Paducah, KY/Carbondale, IL

  • The Orientation and Graduation sessions will begin at 2:00pm on the first day and adjourn at 12:00pm on the fourth day. This allows for travel to the session location the morning of the first day and travel home the afternoon of the fourth day. For example, if the orientation begins on Tuesday, your travel day is Tuesday morning, the session will begin at 2:00pm on Tuesday, and then the session will end by 12:00pm on Friday.
  • The other five sessions will begin at 8:00am on the first day and adjourn at 12:00pm on the third day, allowing for travel to the session location anytime the day before the session begins and travel home the afternoon of the third day.
  • An optional service opportunity is provided to those fellows able to arrive by 2:00pm on the day before the session begins. These service opportunities allow fellows to volunteer for community-based organizations within the host community, giving a little back to the community opening their arms to the Executive Academy. Service opportunities usually run from 3:00-5:00pm.
  • Since 2005, the DRA’s Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) has worked to improve the decisions made by community leaders across the Delta by broadening their understanding of regional issues, building a corps of alumni that have a regional and national perspective, developing a toolkit of resources for addressing issues facing their local communities, and providing the training and professional development needed to extend the pipeline of skilled local leadership within our Delta communities.
  • The Executive Academy program requires no registration fee for leadership fellows selected to participate. DLI covers lodging, program materials, and breakfast and lunch during the session dates. Most dinners will be on your own and at the participant's expense, unless there is a special reception or event scheduled.
  • Additonally, travel to and from the sessions is the responsibility of the leadership fellow. DLI does provide up to $500 for reimbursed travel expenses to each fellow for one of the seven sessions (it is recommended that this be used to help with costs for the session furthest away from fellow's home). These travel expenses to be reimbursed can include air travel, mileage from the fellow's home to the session location, or another form of transportation. Fellows from the same state are encouraged to carpool with each other to both reduce travel costs and foster relationship building that is of the utmost importance to the DLI Executive Academy experience.
  • Orientation will be held at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown Hotel in Memphis, TN, during the week of October 29-November 2, 2018. Attending the Orientation is mandatory for participation in the Executive Academy. If you cannot attend the Orientation session, you should wait to apply another year.
  • The class will stay at Lake Barkley State Resort Park outside Cadiz, KY, for graduation. The session will include field experiences and graduation programming throughout western Kentucky with a graduation ceremony on the final morning at Lake Barkley State Resort Park.
  • While there is no consistent required "homework" to be completed between each session, all fellows are expected to complete the session feedback survey within a week of the most recent session.
  • There will be some necessary work between sessions in the planning and development of our project for the Delta Regional Innovator Certificate.
  • There are also volunteer opportunities in accordance with consultancy protocols that allow fellows to compile a profile of a challenge facing their community and take feedback and ideas from their classmates; these require some preparation before the upcoming session. We also encourage, but do not require, the leadership fellows to review presentations, notes, and follow-up with past session speakers and new members of their professional network in between sessions..
  • Attendance for all sessions is mandatory, but we understand that participants of the Institute face many demands. Participants may miss up to 20 hours or one entire session (with only one case study missed). Attendance is tracked by the hour and any absense must be excused and approved by the Director in advance by email.
  • Please Note: The entire orientation session is mandatory and no portion of this session may be missed. If the applicant has a conflict with the orientation dates, we ask that you wait until a future year to apply.
  • Participants each year are selected by the applicants' state Governor or the DRA Federal Co-Chairman. DRA and the Governors will evaluate applications and make selections based on the completed applications submitted by the application deadline of July 16, 2018, at 11:59pm CT.
  • Once applicants have created a profile online at leadership.dra.gov/delta-leadership-application-form/, there is an application form with biographical and contact information, short answer questions and a tool where each applicant must upload letters of recommendation, a bio, resume, and photo.
  • It is important for applicants to save their username and password, as the application can be saved and returned to for further work. When working on your application, make sure to click the green button, "Save Application," before exiting window. Then simply go back to the application form, log in, and you will be taken back to your incomplete application.
  • Letters can either be addressed to your Governor's Office or the Federal Co-Chairman who make the selections each year, but each recommendation letter must be uploaded to the application form as a PDF in order to submit a complete application.
  • Applicants must live or work in one of the 252 counties and parishes of the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt region, as designated by Congress. You can view a map and list of these counties here.
  • As an executive academy, DLI staff is looking for applicants that serve in traditional and non-traditional leadership roles in their organization, company, and/or community. It is expected that DLI fellows have previously worked on community-based projects that support economic and community development efforts on the local, regional, or state level.
  • Monday, July 16, 2017 at 11:59pm Central Time.
  • We expect to notify all applicants whether they are selected for the 2018-19 Executive Academy by the first week of September. If this should change, you will receive an email from DRA updating you on a new timeline.

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