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 numerous 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 > Transportation > Public-Private Partnerships
> Public Health > Infrastructure > Resilience
> Entrepreneurship > Policy & Government > Asset-Based Development
> Workforce & Education > Culture & Tourism > Coalition Building

2022 Executive Academy


Session I
January 24 - 27, 2022 | Selma, Alabama 
Session II
March 7 - 10, 2022 | Cleveland, Mississippi
Session III
April 25-28, 2022 | New Orleans, Louisiana
Session IV
June 13-16, 2022 | Washington, D.C.
Session V
​July 25-28, 2022 | Carbondale, Illinois
Session VI: Graduation 
September 12-15, 2022 | Memphis, Tennessee

2021 Executive Academy

class of 2021 DRA Executive Academy

Meet the 2021 DLI Fellows


Session I: Orientation (Attendance is mandatory.)
​January 25 - 28, 2021 | Little Rock, Arkansas 
(Travel day: January 25)

Session II: Increasing Community Capacity
March 8 - 11, 2021 | Montgomery, Alabama
(Travel day: March 8)

Session III: Policy and Governance
May 3 - 6, 2021 | Washington, D.C.
(Travel day: May 3)

Session IV: Improving Workforce Competitiveness
June 7 - 10, 2021 | Jackson, Mississippi
(Travel day: June 7)

Session V: Enhanced Modern Infrastructure
July 12 - 15, 2021 | Memphis, Tennessee
(Travel day: July 12)

Session VI: Graduation
September 20 - 23, 2021 | New Orleans, Louisiana
(Travel day: September 20)

2019-2020 Executive Academy

2019-2020 SCHEDULE

Session I: Orientation
November 12 - 15, 2019 | Natchez, MS (Attendance is mandatory.)
(Travel day: November 12)

Session II: Enhanced Modern Infrastructure
January 27 - 30, 2020 | New Orleans, LA
(Travel day: January 27)

Session III: Health and the Built Environment
March 9 - 12, 2020 | Little Rock, AR
(Travel day: March 9)

Session IV: Digital Infrastructure and the Modern Economy
May 11 - 14, 2020 | Chattanooga, TN
(Travel day: May 11)

Session V: Increasing Community Capacity
July 13 - 16, 2020 | Paducah, KY
(Travel day: July 13)

Session VI: Graduation
September 21 - 24, 2020 | Memphis, TN
(Travel day: September 21)

Delta Regional Innovator Certificate

The DLI Executive Academy offers 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 Arkansas State University, the University of Louisiana Monroe, and the University of Arkansas, Sam M. Walton College of Business Executive Education and accredited by the University of Louisiana at Monroe.