Trish Erzfeld attends Harvard Kennedy School for Leadership Development

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – A Perryville woman has completed an executive leadership course at the Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government (HKS).


Trish Erzfeld, director of Perry County Heritage Tourism, attended the course under the auspices of the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) which has entered into a partnership to offer the education opportunity exclusively to alumni of the Delta Leadership Institute (DLI) Executive Academy.

Graduation Day! Trish Erzfeld with Dana Born- Lecturer Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy of Government and retired Brigadier General Dean of the faculty of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO. She is the first woman to hold that position.


The program, designed and led by Harvard faculty, focuses on modern leadership principles to advance one’s ability to solve real-world challenges. This week, 39 DLI alumni from across the eight-state Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions graduated with an HKS Executive Education Certificate in Authentic Leadership.


“This year’s class of HKS Authentic Leadership graduates represents a diverse cohort of community leaders from throughout the DRA region,” said DRA Federal Co-Chairman Dr. Corey Wiggins. “Delta Regional Authority’s partnership with the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government provides invaluable leadership training, and I am proud that we can invest in the people that are advancing opportunity and furthering DRA’s mission to improve the lives of people living in the DRA region.” 

As part of DRA’s ongoing intentionality to increase the agency’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts, this year DRA made available a travel stipend with special consideration to applicants who represent and/or work with historically disadvantaged communities.


In addition to Erzfeld the 2022 Authentic Leadership participants included:


Arlisa Armstrong | Brownsville, TN

State Director, USDA – Rural Development


Carrie Banks | Montgomery, AL

Communications Director, Alabama League of Municipalities


Deborah Barnett | Marion, IL

Associate Director, SIU Research Park


Karen Burks | St. Francisville, LA

Career and Workforce Development Trainer, Urban League of Louisiana


Shad Burner | Cape Girardeau, MO

Director of Federal Initiatives, Missouri Department of Economic Development 


Jake Bynum | Dresden, TN

County Mayor, Weakley County, TN


Ollie Davison | Birmingham, AL

Deputy District Director, Congresswoman Terri Sewell


Susan Edwards | Little Rock, AR

Program Analyst | Delta Regional Authority


Friday Ellis | Monroe, LA

Mayor, City of Monroe, LA


Adam Fogleman | Little Rock, AR

County Attorney, Pulaski County Government, AR


Doug Friend | Sikeston, MO

Executive Director, Sikeston Housing Authority


Russ Garner | Brooksville, MS

Extension/Research Associate, Southern Rural Development Center


Dr. Moses Goldmon | Monticello, AR

Vice Chancellor for Student Engagement, University of Arkansas at Monticello


Dr. Suzzette Goldmon | Monticello, AR

Assistant Professor & Coordinator, Hospitality and Tourism Management, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff


Melinda Goode | Dresden, TN

Executive Director, Northwest Tennessee Development District


LaShasa Griffin | Jonestown, MS

Executive Assistant, Delta Regional Authority


Shannon Heard | Little Rock, AR

Associate Director of Executive Education, University of Arkansas


Chris Hinton | Ridgeland, MS

Community Development Manager, Entergy Mississippi


Alonda Jackson | Moorhead, MS

Accounting & Human Resources Supervisor, Delta Regional Authority


Jody Johnson | Goreville, IL

County Extension Director, University of Illinois Extension


Rachel Langley Hayes | Crossett, AR

Field Representative, Congressman Bruce Westerman


Kathy Medley | Sikeston, MO

Executive Vice President, Sikeston Regional Chamber and Economic Development Corp.


Mary Anne Medlock | Murray, KY

Business Services Liaison, West Kentucky Workforce Board


Andrew Murphy | Poplar Bluff, MO

Assistant Director, Ozark Foothills Regional Planning Commission


Phyllis Nunn | Paducah, KY

Success Coach, McCracken County Jail


Clint O’Neal | Conway, AR

Deputy Director, Arkansas Economic Development Commission


Tracey Prince | Walls, MS

Executive Director, BDT Housing Services Enterprise


Jennifer Reaves | Jonesboro, AR

Community Education Specialist, Arkansas Department of Health


Brooke Simmons | Union City, TN

Community Relations Director, Obion County Joint Economic Development Corporation


Chase Smith | Fayetteville, AR

Event Sales Coordinator, University of Arkansas


Karen Stallman | Ellis Grove, IL

Agriculture Resource Specialist, Illinois Department of Agriculture and the Southern Illinois University School of Medicine Center for Rural Health and Social Service Development 


Eddie Thomas | Little Rock, AR

Assistant Director, Arkansas Division of Workforce Services


Ardyn Thriffiley | New Orleans, LA

President, Ardyn M. Thriffiley & Associates, Inc.


Kent Waide | Madisonville, KY

Business Development Platform Manager, Advantage Kentucky Alliance


Byron Washington | Baton Rouge, LA

Manager, Verizon Wireless; Board President, North Baton Rouge Now, Inc.


Dr. Victor Wilburn | Cape Girardeau, MO

Professor and Chair, Department of Child and Family Studies, Southeast Missouri State University


Jason Willett | Jonesboro, AR

President, FJW Consulting, LLC


Mark York | Equality, IL



The program was led by retired Air Force Brigadier General Dana Born, Co-Director at the Center for Public Leadership at HKS.