Arkansas Selects 5 Fellows for Delta Leadership Program

November 15, 2019

Five Arkansans join cohort of 30 professionals across 8 states for the advancement of the Mississippi River Delta and Black Belt regions.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER DELTA REGION – The State of Arkansas is sending five leaders from the state to the Delta Regional Authority’s (DRA) Delta Leadership Institute (DLI.) They will join fellows from the seven other Delta states to participate in the 10-month DLI Executive Academy to help further their skills in community leadership, policy development, and regional collaboration to drive economic growth across the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions.

“The Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy is vital to the promotion of economic development in the Delta,” said Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson. “Each of the Fellows chosen to represent Arkansas in the program are talented, hardworking individuals, and I am grateful for their dedication to the Delta as they develop skills and strategies to help grow economies throughout the region.”

The Fellows will participate in an intensive ten-month executive leadership training program focused on developing competencies through site visits, best practice case studies, executive coaching and mentoring, and regional project development. The program consists of six multi-day seminars throughout the Delta region culminating with a graduation in Memphis, TN.

“DLI is providing the next generation of change agents with the skills and abilities to address some of the most pressing issues facing the Delta. I congratulate the Fellows on their selection,” said DRA Chairman Chris Caldwell. “The Delta needs bold individuals to develop and capitalize on the many opportunities available to the Region and DLI provides these individuals with the skill set to do that.”

The Program brings together representatives from the public, private, and non-profit sectors from across the eight-state Delta region. Arkansas’s 2019 – 2020 Delta Leadership Institute Fellows include:

  • Suzzette Goldmon, Monticello | Director of Hospitality and Tourism, University of Arkansas at Monticello
  • Andy Davis, Little Rock | Principal/Owner, New Water Systems, LLC
  • Gene White, Pine Bluff | Director of Retention and Advising, Southeast Arkansas College
  • Samantha Montgomery, Little Rock | Digital Coordinator, The Office of Attorney General
  • Susan Edwards, Little Rock | Executive Assistant to the Federal Co-Chairman, Delta Regional Authority

Upon graduation, Delta Leadership Institute Fellows will become members of the Delta Leadership Network, a peer-driven working group foster regional collaboration, resource sharing, and continued education to support addressing the Delta’s most pressing issues.

Since 2005, DLI's Executive Academy has enhanced the leadership skills, policy knowledge and networks of community members in the Delta region. After graduation, DLI graduates become members of the Delta Leadership Network, which includes more than 500 community leaders who understand the importance of regional collaboration, resource sharing and innovative thinking. DLI is a program of DRA in partnership with three institutions of higher education in the Delta region: The University of Alabama, The University of Arkansas, Arkansas State University-Jonesboro and the University of Louisiana-Monroe.

About the Delta Regional Authority

Established in 2000 by Congress, the Delta Regional Authority makes strategic investments of federal appropriations into the physical and human infrastructure of Delta communities. Led by the Delta Regional Authority Board-comprised of the Federal Co-Chairman, appointed by the President and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, and the governors of the eight states-the Delta Regional Authority fosters local and regional partnerships that address economic and social challenges to ultimately strengthen the Delta economy and the quality of life for Delta residents. The Delta Regional Authority works to improve regional economic opportunity by helping to create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of the 10 million people who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state Delta region.

DRA Media Contact:
Susan Edwards         

DRA Program Contact: 
Aury Kangelos