NEWS: Delta Leadership Institute graduates 50 from 2015-16 Executive Academy, 9 from Alabama

August 11, 2016

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Fifty community leaders have successfully completed the year-long Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy, a program of the Delta Regional Authority. The Executive Academy is a training program that brings together business and community leaders from each of the eight states of the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions for a collaborative leadership development experience, emphasizing regional approaches to growing local economies and creating opportunities for the people of the Delta region.

Each graduate completed leadership development coursework and field studies in the year-long program that included five sessions in Delta communities and one session in Washington, DC.

Nine DLI fellows, nominated by Governor Robert Bentley and DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill, represented the State of Alabama this year:

  • Nyaesia Campbell of Montgomery
  • Nivory Gordon, Jr. of Camden
  • Beverly Helton of Montgomery
  • Susan Keith of Selma
  • Zach Lee of Montgomery
  • Felecia Lucky of Selma
  • Commissioner Tyrone Moye of Grove Hill
  • Mayor Gena Robbins of York
  • Max Snyder of Northport

“For our communities to grow and support strong economies that create opportunities for Delta residents, we need local leaders that understand the local and regional challenges that we face as well as the networks and resources that can help identify solutions and address these challenges,” Chairman Masingill said. “The Delta Leadership Institute’s dynamic programming and ever-growing alumni network are helping to meet this need and empower our region’s leaders to make the Delta a better place to live and work.”

In addition to the program certificate, participants graduate with an industry-recognized certification in Crucial Conversations. Present for the ceremony were Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill, Alternate Federal Co-Chairman Mike Marshall, and Jim Byard, Jr., director of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and Governor Bentley’s designee to the DRA Board.

“Alabama has some bright leaders and I am proud of the nine Delta Leadership Institute graduates from Alabama,” Governor Robert Bentley said. “This year-long leadership development program trained them to address issues that are greatly impacting the lives of many Alabamians, such as public health, education, transportation, small business and entrepreneurship, workforce training, and economic development.”

About Delta Regional Authority

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 in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. Through the Rural Communities Advancement Program, the DRA has provided leadership development to more than 400 community leaders over ten years and strengthened regional collaboration with its Delta Leadership Institute.


Media Contact: Spencer Lucker
(202) 744-3558,                                        

Program Contact: Amanda Richardson
(501) 912-5722,