On September 15, BRTC Foundation board member and NEA Intermodal Executive Director Graycen Bigger was one of 31 fellows across the 8-state DRA region who graduated from the selective Delta Regional Authority Delta Leadership Institute. Each of the eight governors and the federal co-chairman nominate community leaders for the program. The Institute is a yearlong leadership development program for individuals from across the eight-state region desiring to prepare themselves to collaborate regionally and lead change.
According to their website, “The Delta Leadership Institute was created to empower a corps of leaders with the tools, experiences, and networks to address these local and regional challenges. The DLI Executive Academy trains leaders from diverse backgrounds, sectors, and industries to improve the economic competitiveness and social viability of the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt.”
Participants travelled across the Delta during their six sessions: Selma, AL; Cleveland, MS; New Orleans, LA; Washington, D.C.; Carbondale, IL; Memphis, TN. Sessions cover policy areas and skills such as asset-based development, coalition building, culture and tourism, entrepreneurship, infrastructure, policy and government, public health, public-private partnerships, regionalism, resilience, transportation, workforce and education.
Bigger grew up in Paragould. She earned her undergraduate degrees in art history and photojournalism from Arkansas State University. Bigger worked in journalism after college for a couple of years before earning her master’s degree in Art Business from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York. She is currently the Associate Vice President of Community Development and Public Relations Officer for Farmers and Merchants Bank and NEA Intermodal Executive Director. She is married to Division 2 District Judge Alex Bigger.