COOKEVILLE, Tennessee – Leah Bane, WIOA Financial Specialist of the Upper Cumberland Development District in Cookeville recently graduated from TVA’s Rural Leadership Institute. The Rural Leadership Institute, developed and sponsored by TVA Economic Development, provides professional leadership training to rural community economic development professionals in the TVA service area.

The institute is designed to help local participants more effectively lead volunteers, partner organizations, businesses, elected officials and citizens to ensure long-term success.

Four two-day sessions were conducted by leading area experts. The training included focused skills development in the following major areas:

  • Foundations of Leadership
  • Organizational and Individual Effectiveness
  • Effectively Telling the Story of Your Community
  • Outclassing the Competition

“Rural America’s ability to compete, gain jobs, and attract economic investments depends on local leaders being prepared, having product available, and using effective leadership and communication skills to differentiate their community’s unique strengths,” said TVA Senior Vice President of Economic Development John Bradley.

A total of 27 participants completed the course and received graduation certificates. Recent leadership graduate Leah Bane, WIOA Financial Specialist of the Upper Cumberland Development District:

“It was an honor to participate in the Tennessee Valley Rural Leadership Institute.  The courses presented by TVA were incredibly rewarding, and I encourage any local leader in the Valley to participate in this program. Continuing education is the key to success and growth of our rural communities.”

Based on the success and responses from this and previous classes, TVA Economic Development is planning future institutes.  Rural community economic development professionals located in the TVA region will receive an application if interested in applying for future leadership classes.

The Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) a corporation owned by the U.S. government provides electricity for business customers and distribution utilities that serve 9 million people in seven southeastern states.  Economic development is a major part of TVA’s core mission.  TVA’s Economic Development services are focused on attracting targeted new industries, retaining and growing existing businesses and partnering with communities to help foster economic growth.  More information is available at

The Upper Cumberland Development District provides regional planning and assistance to the 14-county Upper Cumberland region to promote economic growth and community enhancement. Find UCDD on the web at and at