DLI Graduates 4 Mississippi Leaders Thinking Strategically in Regional Economic Development Efforts

August 15, 2019

Institute celebrates graduating fourteenth Executive Academy cohort

Cadiz, Ky. – The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) congratulates four new Mississippi graduates of the Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy who now have the tools to support DRA’s efforts to create jobs, build communities, and improve lives across the Mississippi River Delta region and the Black Belt of Alabama.

The four graduates completed the ten-month DLI Executive Academy, a training program that brings together public, private, and nonprofit-sector leaders from each of the eight states served by DRA. The program equips participants with the tools, experiences and networks that will help them create new economic opportunities in Delta communities as well as support the growth of the region’s economy.

“DLI is one of our most important tools for providing the Delta with the next generation of economic and community development leaders,” DRA Chairman Chris Caldwell said. “This group of graduates will take the experiences and lessons gleamed from the Executive Academy to be change agents in their communities.”

The graduates participated in seven training sessions over the past year to educate them on the regional and local economic and community development best practices employed across the Delta to catalyse innovative solutions implementable in their own community and region.

“The Delta Leadership Institute furthers the advancement and development of leaders who will contribute to prospective growth in economic development in their communities, in our state and in our region,” said Gov. Phil Bryant. “I appreciate the support and training this Institute provides these leaders and I look forward to seeing the impact they will have throughout Mississippi.”

The Mississippi graduates are:

  • Theresa Kennedy, Ridgeland | Senior Advisor, fifty-five twenty, LLC Ms.
  • Janie Mortimer, Winona | Project Manager, Grenada County Economic Development District
  • Chelesa Presley, Batesville | Outreach Coordinator, Tougaloo College Delta HealthPartners Healthy Start Initiative
  • Lauren Wilson, Brandon | Community Development Officer & Compliance/CRA Specialist, State Bank and Trust Company

DLI fellows learn from local, regional and national experts in infrastructure and transportation, small business and entrepreneurship, workforce training, public health and other fields necessary to facilitate economic growth in the Delta region.

Since 2005, DLI's Executive Academy has enhanced the leadership skills, policy knowledge and networks of community members in the Delta region. After graduation, the Alabama 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, Arkansas State University-Jonesboro and the University of Louisiana Monroe.

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. DRA has invested more than $185 million into more than 1,100 projects.

Overall, DRA investments have helped create and retain more than 55,000 jobs, train nearly 45,000 workers to advance in the 21st Century, and deliver sewer and water improvements to more than 238,000 residents and businesses. Learn more here.

Aury Kangelos