NEWS: Delta Leadership Institute graduates 50 from 2015-16 Executive Academy, 6 from Missouri

August 11, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Fifty community leaders have successfully completed the year-long Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy, a program of the Delta Regional Authority. The Executive Academy is a training program that brings together business and community leaders from each of the eight states of the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions for a collaborative leadership development experience, emphasizing regional approaches to growing local economies and creating opportunities for the people of the Delta region.

Each graduate completed leadership development coursework and field studies in the year-long program that included five sessions in Delta communities and one session in Washington, DC.

Six DLI fellows, nominated by Governor Jay Nixon and DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill, represented the State of Missouri this year:

  • Penny Davis-McGath of Poplar Bluff
  • Doug Friend of Fredericktown
  • Maude Harris of Benton
  • Rachelle Johnson of Charleston
  • Kristopher Klaus of Perryville
  • Margaret Yates of Perryville

“For our communities to grow and support strong economies that create opportunities for Delta residents, we need local leaders that understand the local and regional challenges that we face as well as the networks and resources that can help identify solutions and address these challenges,” Chairman Masingill said. “The Delta Leadership Institute’s dynamic programming and ever-growing alumni network are helping to meet this need and empower our region’s leaders to make the Delta a better place to live and work.”

In addition to the program certificate, participants graduate with an industry-recognized certification in Crucial Conversations. Present for the ceremony were Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill, Alternate Federal Co-Chairman Mike Marshall, and Bill Ransdall, community development specialist for the Missouri Department of Economic Development and Governor Nixon’s designee to the DRA Board.

“From the Ozarks to the Mississippi River, community leaders across the Missouri Bootheel are gaining valuable skills and resources for economic development to bring back to their communities through the Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy,” said Bill Ransdall, designee to the DRA Board for Governor Jay Nixon. “Congratulations to the six Missourians graduating from this important program. I look forward to our state using their knowledge and that of the numerous alumni of this program to make our communities vibrant places to live, create jobs, and grow businesses."

About Delta Regional Authority

The DRA is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to help create jobs, build communities, and improve lives through strategic investments in economic development in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. Through the Rural Communities Advancement Program, the DRA has provided leadership development to more than 400 community leaders over ten years and strengthened regional collaboration with its Delta Leadership Institute.


Media Contact: Spencer Lucker
(202) 744-3558,                                        

Program Contact: Amanda Richardson
(501) 912-5722,