NEWS: Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy welcomes new class of 2016 – 2017 for Missouri

October 17, 2016

53 business, community leaders to participate in year-long leadership training across Delta region  

MISSISSIPPI RIVER DELTA – The Delta Regional Authority is kicking off the 2016 – 2017 Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy this month, welcoming seven community and business leaders from Missouri to join a class of 53 fellows from each of the eight Delta region states. This year is the twelfth class of the Executive Academy, a year-long leadership development program.

“The DRA is committed to increasing the capacity of our region’s talent – and we believe that investing in our people is the best way to do just that,” DRA Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill said. “These leaders have already accomplished so much in their own communities. Now the DLI will help them further their work – establishing regional networks and harnessing the energy of these leaders to make our Delta stronger.”

Each fellow was nominated by their respective governors and the Federal Co-Chairman to participate in the year-long leadership training program.

The 2016-2017 DLI Executive Academy fellows from Missouri are:

  • Marcie Lawson - Executive Director, Missouri Delta Foundation
  • Scarlett Loomas - Director of Family and Community Development, Delta Area Economic Opportunity Corporation
  • Samantha Rodgers - Project Coordinator, Ozark Foothills Regional Planning Commission
  • David Wyman - Area Engineeer, Missouri Department of Transportation
  • Dr. Victor Wilburn - Professor of Child Development, Southeast Missouri State University
  • Cindy-Lyn White - Community Development Director, Bootheel Regional Planning and Economic Development Commission
  • Leslie Seabaugh - Regional Planner, Southeast Missouri Regional Planning Commission

As part of the Executive Academy program, participants will: attend seven sessions across the Region and in Washington, DC – engaging in advocacy training, case study discussions, and on-the-ground field experiences of priority issue areas for the region, including: workforce training and education; entrepreneurship and disaster resilience for small businesses; public health; policy and governance; transportation and infrastructure; and culture and tourism. The fellows include influential members of local and state government as well as leaders in economic development, education and healthcare, business and industry, and faith-based and non-profit organizations.

Since 2005, the DLI has worked to improve the decisions made by community leaders across the Delta by broadening their understanding of regional issues, building a corps of alumni that have a regional and national perspective, developing 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.

“Every year it’s so exciting to see the new class of incoming fellows at orientation. Each year our mission is to provide an educational and meaningful experience for our participants, and this year will continue the trend,” said Amanda M. Richardson, Director of the Delta Leadership Institute. “The leaders this year are exceptional in their respective fields, and I’m excited to see how they collaborate throughout the year and beyond our program."

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. 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. The DRA partners with Arkansas State University, the University of Alabama, and the University of Louisiana at Monroe for programming and organizational support of the Institute. Learn more about the Delta Leadership Institute at


Media Contact: John Collins