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Herts selected for Delta Leadership Institute program

By November 29, 2017Delta Center

The Delta Regional Authority is continuing its partnership with the Harvard Kennedy School to offer an advanced education opportunity exclusively to members of the Delta Leadership Network. The
Delta Leadership Institute program, designed and led by Harvard faculty, focuses on cultivating authentic leadership to move Delta communities forward.

The program sends 41 representatives from across the eight states of the DRA footprint, including Dr. Rolando Herts, director of The Delta Center for Culture and Learning at Delta State University.

This year’s four day-session, from Nov. 27-30, will be led by retired Air Force Brigadier General Dana Born, co-director of the Center for Public Leadership at HKS.

“This executive training will equip regional leaders across the Delta with the latest advancements in leadership skills and will prepare them to make positive changes in their local communities,” said Peter Kinder, DRA’s alternate federal co-chairman. “These participants are alumni of the Delta Leadership Institute’s Executive Academy and were selected due to the leadership they have exemplified in their communities and their ability to translate these experiences to actionable solutions for the region.”

The class includes six members from Alabama; seven from Arkansas; six from Illinois; two from Kentucky; four from Louisiana; four from Mississippi; six from Missouri; and six from Tennessee. The group reflects the diversity of the Delta region and includes public, private and non-profit leaders that have graduated from the DLI’s Executive Academy. Chairman Kinder, DLI director Spencer Lucker, and select DLI staff will participate with the delegation of Delta leaders in the continuing education session.

“Being selected to participate in DLI’s Authentic Leadership program at Harvard is quite an honor,” said Herts. “The Delta Center has provided educational and professional development opportunities to DLI alumni and people they serve, including the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area, the International Delta Blues Project, and our NEH Most Southern Place on Earth workshops. I look forward to learning ways to enhance this trend through collaborative regional leadership.”

The 2017 Authentic Leadership participants are:

Susan Keith of Selma | City of Selma
Teresa McCall of Montgomery | Alabama Department of Mental Health
Donald Mills of Livingston | The University of West Alabama Small Business Development Center
Chad Nichols of Hoover | Sight Savers America
Gena Robbins of York | City of York & The University of West Alabama
Max Snyder of Northport | City of Northport

Mellie Bridewell of Lake Village | Arkansas Rural Health Partnership
Jennifer Conner of Lake Village | University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service
Lynn Hawkins-Caldwell of Lexa | Arkansas Rural Health Partnership
Bevin Hunter of Wilson | Lawrence Group
Karen McDaniel of Jonesboro | Arkansas State University
Trudy Redus of Pine Bluff | City of Pine Bluff Parks and Recreation
Peggy Wright of Jonesboro | Arkansas State University

Brandi Bradley of Marion | Office of U.S. Senator Dick Durbin
Lynne Chambers of Grand Chain | Bigler Law Office
Brian Chapman of Ava | Southern Illinois University System
Tracey Glenn of Herrin | Peoples National Bank
Jennifer Olson of Carterville | The Lookout at the Lake
Woody Thorne of Makanda | Southern Illinois Healthcare

Brandi Harless of Paducah | City of Paducah
Mark Lee of Madisonville | Paragon Development Consultants, LLC

Cole Avery of Jonesboro | Office of U.S. Representative Ralph Abraham
Leslie Durham of St. Joseph | Office of Governor John Bel Edwards
Adam Holland of Oak Grove | Town of Oak Grove
Heather Malone of Vidalia | City of Vidalia

Josh Bower of Jackson | Hinds Community College
Rolando Herts of Cleveland | Delta State University – The Delta Center for Culture and Learning
Tim Lampkin of Clarksdale | Higher Purpose Co.
Lane Riley of Cleveland | Delta Hands for Hope

TR Dudley of Potosi | City of Potosi
Steve Halter of Poplar Bluff | Greater Poplar Bluff Chamber of Commerce
Maude Harris of Sikeston | University of Missouri Extension
Kris Klaus of Perryville | Klaus Construction
Scott Sattler of Perryville | Perry County Economic Development Authority
Christina Wade of Caruthersville | Delta Regional Authority

Minnie Bommer of Covington | City of Covington
Julie Allen Burke of Milan | Milan Chamber of Commerce
Landy Fuqua of Martin | University of Tennessee at Martin REED Center
Travis Martin of Jackson | TLM Associates, Inc.
Bill Rawls of Brownsville | City of Brownsville
Kayla Taylor of Jackson | Younger Associates

DLI Staff
Andrea Allen | Arkansas State University
Shawnie Carrier | Arkansas State University
Leigh Hersey | University of Louisiana Monroe
Lauren Lewis | The University of Alabama

Since 2005, the Delta Leadership Institute has worked to strengthen the knowledge and skills of community leaders across the Delta by broadening their understanding of regional issues and building a corps of alumni that have a regional and national perspective. DLI is a program of the Delta Regional Authority in partnership with three institutions of higher education from the DRA’s states: The University of Alabama, Arkansas State University and the University of Louisiana Monroe.

The DRA 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 and infrastructure projects in 252 counties and parishes across eight states. DRA has provided leadership development to nearly 500 community leaders over twelve years and strengthened regional collaboration through the Delta Leadership Institute. Learn more at

Harvard Kennedy School aims to improve public policy and public leadership in the United States and around the world through research, teaching and direct engagement with policymakers and public leaders. Nearly 20,000 alumni of the school’s degree programs and 44,000 people who have taken executive education courses at the school work in more than 200 countries. In addition, faculty, staff and students of the school are currently undertaking projects to advance knowledge and strengthen public policy and leadership in dozens of countries. Around the world, the skills and energy of the HKS community are dedicated to helping make people’s lives safer, more prosperous and more fulfilling.

The mission of The Delta Center at Delta State is to promote greater understanding of Mississippi Delta culture and history and its significance to the world through education, partnerships and community engagement. The Delta Center serves as the management entity of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area and is the home of the International Delta Blues Project and the National Endowment for the Humanities “Most Southern Place on Earth” workshops. For more information, visit