The Delta Regional Authority has named 33 community leaders from all eight DRA states as fellows of the 2022 Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy.
The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to promote and encourage the economic development of the lower Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions. DRA invests in projects supporting transportation infrastructure, basic public infrastructure, workforce training, and business development. The Delta Leadership Institute is an extensive, nine-month executive leadership program that works to bring together public, private, and nonprofit sector leaders from the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt.
The DLI Executive Academy aims to empower fellows with the tools, experiences, and networks needed to address local and regional challenges. Sessions led by local, regional, and national experts cover policy areas such as infrastructure and transportation, small business and entrepreneurship, workforce development, public health, and other sectors necessary to facilitate economic growth in the region.
“As an alumna of the DLI Executive Academy, I know firsthand the importance and impact of DRA’s executive leadership program,” said incoming Delta Regional Authority Alternate Federal Co-Chairwoman Leslie Durham. “DRA selected 33 diverse community leaders for the 2022 Cohort, each with unique professional backgrounds to bring thoughtful discussion to the classroom and field experiences. In turn, they will graduate with a broader knowledge of regional challenges and the skill sets needed to create positive change back home.”
The 2022 DLI Executive Academy fellows of Arkansas include:
- Graycen Bigger (Pocahontas) | Executive Director; AVP Community Development, Northeast Arkansas Regional Intermodal Authority; Farmers & Merchants Bank
- Ryan Biles (Lonoke) | Owner, Architect, Kudzu Collective PLLC
- ShaRhonda Love (Mabelvale) | Partnerships Director, Arkansas Children’s Hospital
- Hunter Sadler (Little Rock | District Representative, Office of Congressman French Hill
- Cody Slater (Wynne) | CEO, Wynne Economic Development Corporation
- Leonard Williams (Pine Bluff) | Assistant Professor, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff
- Lindsey Wingo (Jonesboro) | Executive Director, Downtown Jonesboro Alliance
The full list of 2022 DLI Executive Academy fellows can be found here.
After graduation, DLI fellows will become members of the Delta Leadership Network, which provides peer-to-peer engagement opportunities for continued leadership development, information sharing, and collaboration with other leaders dedicated to the future of the Delta region.
DLI is a program of DRA in partnership with three institutions of higher education in the Delta region: Arkansas State University, the University of Louisiana Monroe, and the University of Arkansas.