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Delta Leadership Class of 2018


Delta Regional Authority Announces 2022 Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy Fellows

Thirty-three community leaders from all eight DRA states will participate as fellows of the 2022 Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy.  The four Illinois fellows are:

Jane Bryant (Murphysboro, IL) | Professor of Political Science and Sociology, John A Logan College

Byram Fager (Energy, IL) | Executive Director, Southern Illinois Community Foundation

Sarah Gray (Carbondale, IL) | System Director, Business and Economic Development, Southern Illinois Healthcare

Roni LeForge (Carbondale, IL) | Public Relations Officer, City of Carbondale

To learn more about the Delta Regional Authority's Delta Leadership Institute and the 2022 class, visit 


Delta Leadership Institute Graduates 24 Regional Leaders from the 2021 DLI Class

The 2021 DLI class marks the 16th year of DLI-trained regional leaders, comprised of government, non-profit, and business professionals from all eight DRA states. The four 2021 Illinois graduates are:

Angela Rowe (Harrisburg, IL) | Owner and Designer, Decorating Den Interiors

Hellena Shorty (Carbondale, IL) | Senate Aide, Office of U.S. Senator Richard Durbin

Ronnie White (Red Bud, IL) | Commissioner, Randolph County Board of Commissioners

Brooke Simmons (Hickman, IL) | Community Relations Director, Obion County Joint Economic Development Corporation

To learn more about the Delta Regional Authority's Delta Leadership Institute and the 2021 class, visit 

Illinois Selects 4 Fellows for Delta Leadership Program

November 16, 2019

Four Illinoisans join cohort of 30 professionals across 8 states for the advancement of the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions. The Program brings together representatives from the public, private, and non-profit sectors from across the eight-state Delta region. Arkansas’s 2019 – 2020 Delta Leadership Institute Fellows include:

Deborah Barnett, Marion | Director, Business Incubator Programs & Interim Associate Director, SIU Research Park, Southern Illinois University

Jamie Green, Murphysboro | President, Murphysboro Main Street

Lauren Bonner, Carbondale | Senate Aid, Office of Senator Richard Durbin

Brooke Guthman, Murphysboro | Member Services Manager, Egyptian Electric Cooperative Association

To learn more, visit 

Delta Leadership Institute Graduates 5 Illinois Leaders Poised to Support Economic Development Efforts

Karen Stallman

The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) congratulates five new Illinois graduates of the Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy who now have the tools to support DRA’s efforts to create jobs, build communities, and improve lives across southern Illinois and the Delta region.

The five graduates completed the year-long DLI Executive Academy, a training program that brings together public, private, and nonprofit-sector leaders from each of the eight states served by DRA. The program equips participants with the tools, experiences and networks that will help them create new economic opportunities in Delta communities as well as support the growth of the region’s economy. Read more here.

Robyn Laur Russell Graduates from Delta Leadership Institute

Robyn Laur Russell

Robyn Laur Russell graduated from the 2013-2014 Delta Leadership Institute class sponsored by the Delta Regional Authority on Thursday, September 9th, 2014, in Little Rock, Arkansas, at The Old Statehouse Capital.  Russell is serving as the Director of the Center for Delta Studies at SIU and serves as Director of Business Development and International Trade in SIU Carbondale’s Office of Economic and Regional Development.

Russell is a two-degree graduate of SIU and an ardent Saluki.  She works intensively with small businesses and entrepreneurs in the region and oversees the International Trade Center.  A native of Du Quoin, Illinois, she represents OERD on the Du Quoin Chamber of Commerce and the Perry County CEO program.

Delta Leadership Network at SIU

Kim Sanders

Kim Sanders, Director of the Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development with the SIU School of Medicine, graduated in the class of 2011-2012.