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 > Workforce & Education > Coalition Building


2018-19 Executive Academy

The application cycle for the 2018-19 Executive Academy is now closed. Notifications of selection will be made the first week of September 2018. If you missed this year's application cycle, please submit your information on the Nominate a Delta Leader page and we will notify you when the application cycle opens for 2019-2020. 

The 2018-2019 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 29-November 1, 2018 | Memphis, TN (attendance mandatory)
    (Travel day: October 29)
  • Session II: Improved Workforce Competitiveness
    December 4-6, 2018 | Vicksburg, MS
    (Travel day: December 3)
  • Session III: Delta Leadership Network Conference
    February 5-7, 2019 | Little Rock, AR
    (Travel day: February 4)
  • Session IV: Strengthened Modern Infrastructure
    March 26-28, 2019 | New Orleans, LA
    (Travel day: March 25)
  • Session V: Increased Community Capacity
    Week of May 13-17, 2019 | Alabama Black Belt
  • Session VI: Organizing for Community Success
    June 18-20, 2019 | Cape Girardeau, MO/Carbondale, IL
    (Travel day: June 17)
  • Session VII: Graduation
    Week of August 6-9, 2019 | Lake Barkley, KY
    (Travel day: August 6)

Click here to meet the 2018-19 DLI fellows.

For questions regarding eligibility, timeline, how to apply, and/or programming for the 2019-20 Executive Academy, view the Frequently Asked Questions page or contact akangelos@dra.gov.

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!

Delta Regional Innovator Certificate

The 2018-19 Executive Academy will offer for the second year 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 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: Improving Workforce Competitiveness
    ​December 6-8, 2017 | Memphis, TN/Clarksdale, MS
  • Delta Leadership Network Conference
    February 5-7, 2018 | Memphis, TN
  • Session III: Strengthening Modern Infrastructure
    February 28-March 2, 2018 | New Orleans, LA
  • Session IV: Enhancing Community Capacity
    April 25-27, 2018 | Selma, AL
  • Session V: Organizing for Community Success
    June 5-7, 2018 | Jonesboro, AR
  • Session VI: Graduation
    July 24-27, 2018 | Paducah, KY/Carbondale, IL

Click here to meet the 2017-18 DLI fellows.