Mississippi selects 5 fellows for Delta leadership program

November 05, 2018

JACKSON, MS – Mississippi is sending five leaders from across 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 program to help further their skills in community leadership and policy development, promote regional collaboration, and drive economic growth across DRA’s eight-state region.

“DLI fellows are strong community leaders who make an impressive impact on the states they represent and the Delta region as a whole,” said DRA Chairman Chris Caldwell. “They collaborate with colleagues from across our region to develop skills that prepare them to help strengthen economic development opportunities that will make our region and communities more competitive.”

Mississippi’s DLI fellows will attend six sessions across the region, visiting each of the eight states in the DRA footprint. They will engage in policy and program development, advocacy training, case-study discussions, and on-the-ground field experiences aligned with DRA’s priorities for the region. Those priorities include: enhancing transportation and basic public infrastructure, supporting workforce training and development, and promoting business and economic development.

“For over a decade the Delta Leadership Institute has been equipping leaders from across the region with skills to solve challenges in their communities and bringing influencers together to promote growth across the Delta Regional Authority footprint,” said Gov. Phil Bryant, (R-MS). “I’m pleased these five Mississippians will be participating in the program, and I know they will grow from this experience.”

The fellows, who were selected by Gov. Bryant and DRA leadership, represent a diverse cohort of community leaders. The class includes three members from Alabama; six from Arkansas; four from Illinois; two from Kentucky; five from Louisiana; five from Mississippi; one from Missouri; and five from Tennessee.

Mississippi’s 2018-2019 DLI Executive Academy fellows are:

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

Since 2005, DLI has worked to strengthen the knowledge and skills of community leaders across the Delta by broadening their understanding of regional issues and building a corps of alumni that have a regional and national perspective. Upon graduation, the 31 new members will have a toolkit of resources for addressing issues facing their local communities and providing the training and professional development needed to extend the pipeline of skilled local leadership within Delta communities.

About the Delta Regional Authority and the Delta Leadership Institute

The DRA 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 and infrastructure projects in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. DRA has provided leadership development to nearly 500 community leaders over twelve years and strengthened regional collaboration through the Delta Leadership Institute. DLI is a program of the Delta Regional Authority in partnership with three institutions of higher education from the DRA’s states: the University of Alabama, Arkansas State University-Jonesboro and the University of Mississippi Monroe. Learn more at dra.gov/leadership.

Contact: Andrew Moreau