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Now in its 40th year, the Mississippi Economic Council’s Leadership Mississippi (LM) course is coming to Cleveland and Delta State University.

LM is an annual program of the MEC conducted by the M.B. Swayze Foundation. Participants, selected by a committee of MEC’s Leadership Mississippi alumni, work together in a training program that combines individual study, group sessions and project experience in using leadership skills.

With sessions across the state, the program presents exciting opportunities where the class can see the strategic, long-range planning and changes that are occurring in Mississippi.

Through the program, which begins each January, the MEC continues to shrink the miles that divide the state by broadening the understanding of life and leadership in communities throughout Mississippi.

LM is visiting Delta State and the Cleveland community Thursday and Friday to host this month’s learning sessions. The topics in Cleveland will cover Mississippi Delta history and culture. Included in the schedule is a bus tour of the area and stops at some regional landmarks.

Delta State is proud to announce Robin Boyles, director of the Office of Institutional Grants, as one of four Clevelanders taking part in the training.

“Participating in the Leadership Mississippi program has been very rewarding,” said Boyles. “Traveling around the state has provided the opportunity to learn about other areas, their attractions and their economic activity. Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the leadership program is the networking and relationship building with other leaders across the state.

“I’m thrilled to have my colleagues here in Cleveland and at Delta State for this upcoming session, many of which have never been on the campus of Delta State nor have been to the Mississippi Delta.  I’m looking forward to showcasing our community and our university and the good things that are going on here.”

Fellow Clevelanders joining Boyles in this year’s LM include: Willie Woo, Baxter; Farae Wolfe, city of Cleveland; and Russell Gainspoletti, Gainspoletti Financial Services.

LM is endowed through a generous contribution by the late J.C. and Annie Redd. Redd was chairman of MEC in 1973-74 when the program began.

LM is the second oldest statewide leadership program in the nation. Since its inception in 1974, LM has graduated more than 1,000 alumni active in Mississippi business and politics. Mississippi’s top business executives have participated in the training as a way to expand their networks. Many elected leaders, including a former governor, are graduates and recognize the value of the Leadership Mississippi experience.

Learn more about the program at