NEWS: Delta Leadership Institute sends local leaders to Harvard for executive training

December 02, 2015

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Delta Regional Authority continued its partnership with the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to offer its second continuing education training opportunity exclusively to the Delta Leadership Network. The program, designed and led by Harvard faculty, focuses on cultivating “authentic leadership” to move Delta communities forward.

“We are proud to offer for a second time this important opportunity to connect some of our strongest leaders in the Delta region with an internationally-respected institution and the tools, knowledge, and network that will help them improve their communities’ economic outlook,” said Chris Masingill, Federal Co-Chairman of the Delta Regional Authority.

Thirty-nine DLN members were selected to attend:


  • Diane Brooker of Demopolis
  • Beverly Callaway of Montgomery
  • Commissioner Frederick Kennedy of Carrollton
  • Judge Greg Norris of Monroeville
  • William Scott of Selma
  • Sea Talantis of Tuscaloosa
  • Brenda Tuck of Linden


  • Berry Balfour of Baton Rouge
  • Buddy Boe of LaPlace
  • Mayor Vern Breland of Sterlington
  • Jerry Jones of Lake Charles
  • Andrea Lowe of LaPlace



  • Amy Fecher of Sherwood
  • Tonya Hass of Little Rock
  • Rebecca Hoskins of Paragould
  • Jason McGehee of Hot Springs
  • Susan Meaders of Little Rock
  • Christie Patterson of Blytheville
  • Jamie Scott of Little Rock


  • Suzette Matthews of Cleveland
  • Donna McPherson of Clarksdale
  • Doreen Muzzi of Shaw



  • Mayor Jason Ashmore of Sesser
  • Robyn Russell of Carbondale
  • Kim Watson of Harrisburg



  • Valerie Blackmon of Sikeston
  • Brent Buerck of Perryville
  • Debby Bust of Potosi
  • Missy Marshall of Sikeston
  • Dennis Vinson of Jackson


  • Wendy Baxter of Benton
  • Mayor David Jackson of Madisonville
  • Shawn Miller of Benton
  • Norma Pruitt of Clinton


  • Harriet Cannon of Covington
  • Brooxie Carlton of Nashville
  • Linda Delaney of Memphis
  • Stephanie Myers-Lewis of Barlett
  • Brad Thompson of Martin

Since 2005, the Delta Leadership Institute’s Executive Academy has provided educational experiences for committed community members that enhance their leadership skills and abilities to create solutions to the region’s challenges. Graduates of the Executive Academy become members of the Delta Leadership Network—taking their knowledge and understanding of issues at home to better serve their communities and develop new ways of thinking that foster regional collaborations and partnerships.

“Our partnership with Harvard Kennedy School empowers these community leaders to continue the regional collaboration, citizen-focused leadership, and place-based decision making that are cornerstones of the Delta Leadership Institute,” Masingill said.

DLI is sponsored and coordinated by the DRA with support from a truly regional collaboration of Arkansas State University's Delta Center for Economic Development, the University of Alabama’s College of Continuing Studies, and the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s Social Science Research Lab.

About the Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority 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. Learn more about DLI at

About Harvard Kennedy School

Harvard Kennedy School maintains an abiding commitment to advancing the public interest by training skilled, exceptional leaders and solving public problems through world-class scholarship and active engagement with practitioners and decision makers. The school offers the depth, reflection, insight, and excellence of ideas and teaching that can shape future leaders, affect public policies, and make an impact on people and their daily lives.


Amanda M. Richardson
(501) 912-5722