Louisiana Selects 4 Fellows for Delta Leadership Program

November 15, 2019

Four Louisianans join cohort of 30 professionals across 8 states for the advancement of the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions.

MISSISSIPPI RIVER DELTA REGION – The State of Louisiana is sending four 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.

“These four Louisiana leaders will join the Delta network of over 500 strong to bring their skills and knowledge back to empower their respective communities,” said Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards. “I want to thank Chris Caldwell, Federal Co-Chairman of the DRA, for his continued support in this vital program.”

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. Louisiana’s 2019 – 2020 Delta Leadership Institute Fellows include:

  • Karen Burks, Metairie | Career and Workforce Development Trainer, Urban League of Louisiana
  • Byron Washington, Baton Rouge | President/Board Chair, NBR Now, Inc.
  • Brady Middleton, Rayville | Director of Business Development, Ascent Health, Inc.
  • Mary Kirk-Lewis, Alexandria | Business and Cooperative Specialist, Rural Development United States Department of Agriculture

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         
501-682-7392
sedwards@dra.gov

DRA Program Contact: 
Aury Kangelos
901-484-5082
akangelos@dra.gov