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Delta State graduate presents at International Leadership Conference

By July 23, 2010General

Myrtis Tabb (front left), Christy Montesi and John Green (back l. to r.) assist Donielle Lovell (front right), as the Delta University graduate prepared to leave for her presentation to the International Leadership Association in Amsterdam.

Donielle M. Lovell, a Delta State University graduate, recently presented at the annual meeting of the International Leadership Association (ILA) in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.  She shared findings from evaluation research that was conducted on the Delta Emerging Leaders program, a regional leadership program operating in the 18-county Mississippi Delta. 

Her paper, entitled “Leadership Development, Social Networks and Community Involvement:  An Evaluation of a Mississippi Delta Leadership Program,” explored the community involvement and relationships created among the Delta Emerging Leaders participants. 

“I was very excited and honored to have the opportunity to share this program and work with an international audience,” Lovell offered.  “This conference gave me the opportunity to learn from those who are on the cutting edge of leadership research.  I have not only brought this knowledge back for my current work, but also for the work being conducted in the Mississippi Delta.”     

Lovell’s research highlights the community work of the committed Delta Emerging Leaders’ participants who cited the importance of the program in providing information to improve their ability to serve the region.  Informed by leadership theory and research, the program began in 1997 to develop and enhance the skills of current and future leaders of the region.  The two-year curriculum brings diverse people together to work across traditional boundaries and barriers to pursue innovative, creative, persistent and strong partnerships across sectors.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to work with a leadership program in the Mississippi Delta that has received international recognition,” stated Dr. Myrtis Tabb, Senior Administrator of Special Projects at DSU.  “Donielle was an outstanding graduate student, and she will continue to be part of the evaluation team of the leadership work done at Delta State University.”

The Delta Emerging Leaders program is funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.  This research was conducted at Delta State University in partnership with Tabb; Dr. John Green, assistant professor and Director of the Institute for Community-Based Research and Christy Montesi, Program Leader of the Delta Emerging Leaders program.

According to Green, “Donielle’s work demonstrates the type of research we want our graduate students in the Community Development program to pursue.  She has taken a real world issue, applied analytic rigor and provided program administrators, participants and funders with useful information.  It was a win-win situation for everyone involved.”

The International Leadership Association is committed to creating a global leadership network for those who practice, study and teach leadership.  ILA seeks to strengthen the connection between scholars of leadership and community leaders and serves as a forum for people across the world to share ideas and research. 

Lovell is currently a Ph.D. student in the Rural Sociology program at the University of Missouri—Columbia.  She is continuing her research in community leadership while at UMC.

The daughter of Doreen Scott Kennedy of Grenada, Lovell graduated from Grenada High School in 1997 before receiving a B.S. in Social Science Education and a M.S. in Community Development from Delta State University in 2001 and 2004, respectively.

For more information on the Mid-South Delta Leaders program at Delta State University, please contact (662) 846-4336 or visit