Delta Regional Authority Announces 2023 Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy Fellows

November 08, 2022

DLI 2023 Fellows Announcement

40 community leaders from eight states selected for extensive, nine-month executive leadership program.

CLARKSDALE, MS – Delta Regional Authority (DRA) today named 40 community leaders from all eight DRA states as fellows of the 2023 Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy. DLI is an extensive, nine-month executive leadership program that brings together public, private, and nonprofit sector leaders from the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt.

The DLI Executive Academy empowers 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 a result, DLI fellows graduate with improved decision-making skills, policy development know-how, strengthened leadership capacity, and a mutual understanding of regional, state, and local cultures and issues.

“The Delta Leadership Institute is an integral part of strengthening the economic prosperity by investing in the Delta’s most valuable resource: our people,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Dr. Corey Wiggins. “The 2023 DLI Fellows are the most diverse group of community leaders we have ever convened, and I look forward to seeing their personal growth over the next year as they develop the skills needed to move the region forward.”

The 2023 DLI Executive Academy fellows include:

Joshua Agee | Paragould, Arkansas
City of Paragould

Otis Anthony II | Jackson, Mississippi
State Representative
Mississippi House of Representatives

Ben Armstrong | New Orleans, Louisiana
Director of Strategic Partnerships & Outreach

Lindora Baker | Shreveport, Louisiana
Xtreme Measures LLC

Dori Bigler, MAcc, CPA | Anna, Illinois
City Administrator
City of Anna

Megan Blackwell | Camden, Alabama
Development Assistant
Alabama Tombigbee Regional Commission

Kelly Brueggen | Potosi, Missouri
Director of Grants & Marketing
Washington County Memorial Hospital

Terri Bryant | Springfield, Illinois
Illinois State Senator
Illinois General Assembly

Dr. Edmund Buckner | Lorman, Mississippi
Professor of Agriculture
Alcorn State University

Bryan Creekmore | Monroe, Louisiana
Guerriero and Guerriero

R. Chad Davis | Dyersburg, Tennessee
Davis Wealth Services

Josh Downs | Springfield, Illinois
Deputy Director of Outreach & Community Affairs
Illinois Comptroller’s Office

Corey Elder | Mayfield, Kentucky
Field Representative
Congressman James Comer

Quianya L. Enge | Carbondale, Illinois
Research Assistant/Small Business Advisor
Illinois Small Business Development Center at SIUC

Sarah Ezell | Benton, Missouri
Project Director
SEMO Health Network

Whitney S. French | Clarksdale, Mississippi
Director of Healthcare and Community Engagement
Teen Health Mississippi

Mandy Guin | Tuscaloosa, Alabama
Special Projects Coordinator
Delta Regional Authority

April Hawthorne | Baton Rouge, Louisiana
Executive Director
Baton Rouge North Economic Development District

Keandre Haywood | Clarksdale, Mississippi
Financial Management Coordinator
Delta Regional Authority

Terance Henry | Marion, Illinois
IT Director
City of Marion

Mark Herbert | Lake Charles, Louisiana
Government and Community Relations
Louisiana Office of Motor Vehicles

Kristi Hopper | Osceola, Arkansas
Executive Director
Main Street Osceola

Ronald Hunt | Little Rock, Arkansas
Arkansas Fair Housing Commission

Brian James | Jackson, Tennessee
Director of Community Development
Healthy Community, LLC

Derrick Johnson | Cheneyville, Louisiana
Town of Cheneyville

Morgan McIntosh | Poplar Bluff, Missouri
Executive Director of Downtown Poplar Bluff, Inc.
City of Poplar Bluff

Ruthann Padgett | Madisonville, Kentucky
VP Operations
Madisonville Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation

James Perkins | Selma, Alabama
City of Selma

Collins Pettaway III | Selma, Alabama
Senior Consultant
The Pettapull Firm

Kendra Phillips | West Memphis, Arkansas
Phillips Consulting Firm

Aaron Pilkington | Augusta, Arkansas
Vice President of Strategic Communications

Shelley Ritter | Clarksdale, Mississippi
Executive Director
Delta Blues Museum

Tracey Rosebud | Jackson, Mississippi
State Representative
Mississippi House of Representatives

Amity Schuyler | Memphis, Tennessee
Senior Vice President, Workforce Development
Greater Memphis Chamber

Brendan Spaulding | Hot Springs, Arkansas
Field Representative
Congressman Bruce Westerman

Jeremy Tanz | Perryville, Missouri
Executive Director
Southeast Missouri Regional Planning & Economic Development Commission

Dr. Waletha Wasson, DDS, MPA | Memphis, Tennessee
Program Director
A 21st Century Initiative: Oral-Systemic and Population-Based Health for All
UTHSC College of Dentistry

Alfonzo White | Itta Bena, Mississippi
Director of Television Studio/Instructor
Mississippi Valley State University

Dr. Mary A. Williams | Clarksdale, Mississippi
Urgent & Primary Care of Clarksdale

Jerry Womick | Marion, Illinois
Business Manager
LiUNA Laborers' Local 773

Since 2005, the DLI Executive Academy has provided leadership development to more than 600 community leaders from diverse backgrounds, sectors, and industries to strengthen skills development, information sharing, regional collaboration, and improve the economic competitiveness and social viability of the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt. Upon 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 administered as a collaborative partnership between DRA and regional institutions of higher learning.


About the Delta Regional Authority

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. DRA’s mission is to help create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of those who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state region.

DRA Media Contact:
Shawna Blair