April 18, 2024

Arkansas Delta Informer Staff – July 5, 2022 – Eleven Arkansans were among the more than three dozen Delta Regional Authority (DRA) alumni that recently graduated from a Harvard University leadership program that focuses on public policy challenges in the U.S. and across the globe.

Through its ongoing partnership with Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government (HKS), the DRA offers the leadership opportunity exclusively to alumni of the Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy.

The Harvard leadership program, designed and led by faculty at Cambridge, Mass.-based Ivy League university, focuses on modern leadership principles to advance one’s ability to solve real-world challenges. In July, 39 DLI alumni graduated with an HKS Executive Education Certificate in Authentic Leadership in the last week of July.

The program was led by retired Air Force Brigadier General Dana Born, co-director at the Center for Public Leadership at HKS. The 2022 Authentic Leadership executive education program marks the 5th year of partnership between HKS and DRA.

“This year’s class of HKS Authentic Leadership graduates represents a diverse cohort of community leaders from throughout the DRA region,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Dr. Corey Wiggins. “Delta Regional Authority’s partnership with the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government provides invaluable leadership training, and I am proud that we can invest in the people that are advancing opportunity and furthering DRA’s mission to improve the lives of people living in the DRA region.” 

As part of DRA’s ongoing intentionality to increase the agency’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, the DRA made a travel stipend special consideration to applicants who represent or work with historically disadvantaged communities.

The 2022 Harvard Authentic Leadership participants included:

  • Susan Edwards of Little Rock, DRA program analyst
  • Adam Fogleman of Little Rock, Pulaski County attorney
  • Dr. Moses Goldmon of Monticello, vice chancellor for student engagement at University of Arkansas at Monticello (UAM).
  • Dr. Suzzette Goldmon of Monticello, assistant professor and coordinator of Hospitality and Tourism Management at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB)
  • Shannon Heard of Little Rock, associate director of executive education at the University of Arkansas
  • Rachel Langley Hayes of Crossett, field representative for Congressman Bruce Westerman
  • Clint O’Neal of Conway, deputy director of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission
  • Jennifer Reaves of Jonesboro, community education specialist for the Arkansas Department of Health
  • Chase Smith of Fayetteville, event sales coordinator for the University of Arkansas
  • Eddie Thomas of Little Rock, assistant director for the state Division of Workforce Services
  • Jason Willett of Jonesboro, president of FJW Consulting LLC.

In early June, DRA opened the application for the 2023 version of the DLA Executive Academy. Chosen through a competitive application process, the 2023 Executive Academy class will include approximately 30 fellows from the eight-state DRA region, which includes Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi and Tennessee.

Since 2005, the DLI Executive Academy has provided leadership development to more than 700 community leaders from diverse backgrounds, sectors, and industries to strengthen skills development, information sharing, regional collaboration, and improve the economic competitiveness and social viability of the Delta. The leadership program 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 fields necessary to facilitate economic growth in the Delta. 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.

Those interested can apply through Aug. 12 at dra.gov/leadership. DLI is administered as a collaborative partnership between DRA and regional institutions of higher learning, including the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.

DRA invests in projects supporting transportation infrastructure, basic public infrastructure, workforce training, and business development. DRA’s mission is to help create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of those who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state Delta region.


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