Sherwood’s Amy Fecher of the American Heart Association is one of several local leaders to complete a regional leadership development program known as Institute Executive Academy, a leadership development program for regional leaders sponsored by the Delta Regional Authority and administered by The University of Alabama.

Participants received their "Award of Completion" on July 11 during the graduation ceremony at the Arkansas State Capitol Building Rotunda in Little Rock. They are part of a graduating class of 45 Delta leaders that will now join the Delta Leadership Network, the organization of alumni – that now includes 300 leaders from across the Delta region – of the Delta Leadership Institute.

The Delta Leadership Institute is a year-long program designed to foster collaborative regional initiatives across the Delta region. Throughout the year participants worked with other Delta leaders to enhance leadership skills while developing a regional perspective and vision. Participants graduate with two certifications – Crucial Conversations and Influencer – in addition to recognition by the Delta Regional Authority.

"The Delta Leadership Institute emphasizes regionalism within the Delta and encourages collaboration among our regional community leaders," Delta Regional Authority Federal Co-Chairman Chris Masingill said. "We charge these graduates to return to their communities to lead and transform the Delta region.

"The Delta Regional Authority has been a driving force in our state—boosting our economy, strengthening our local communities, and improving the way of life for countless Arkansas families," U.S. Senator Mark Pryor said. "I’m looking forward to seeing these graduates build on DRA’s success and continue to move our state forward."

"These graduates have learned valuable lessons that will help promote cooperation and encourage long term development," U.S. Senator John Boozman said. "We are proud of their efforts and look forward to working with them to create economic opportunities in the Delta."

"The Delta Leadership Institute is a fantastic program that fosters cooperation across state lines on issues important to the Delta region," U.S. Representative Rick Crawford said. "We can always do a better job working together to make the Delta a thriving hub of economic activity and job creation. I commend Arkansas’ graduates and I trust they will go on to provide important leadership to make our home an even better place to live."

"Congratulations to all of this year’s Delta Leadership Institute graduates, especially all of those from the Second Congressional District," U.S. Representative Tim Griffin. "I look forward to working with them on economic development efforts and growing jobs in Arkansas."

The Delta Regional Authority is a federal-state partnership that serves 252 counties and parishes in parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. The Delta Leadership Institute is possible through a strong relationship with the United States Department of Agriculture. The Rural Communities Advancement Program funds regional initiatives with the guiding principal to create greater leverage for additional funding, collaboration, and partnerships with private and public resources for community and project investment in the Delta region.