The Delta Regional Authority has named 33 community leaders from all eight DRA states as fellows of the 2022 Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy.

Among those selected is Graycen Bigger of Pocahontas, executive director of the Northeast Arkansas Regional Intermodal Authority. Bigger is also affiliated with Farmers & Merchants Bank.

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.

Since 2005, the DLI Executive Academy has provided leadership development to more than 600 community leaders. After 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 a program of DRA in partnership with three institutions of higher education in the Delta region: Arkansas State University, the University of Louisiana Monroe and the University of Arkansas.

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