Brushy Fork Annual Institute

Personal Leadership Development

Track Leader: David Cooke

Serving as a community leader has its rewards but it can also be an exhausting endeavor. How can grassroots and organization leaders hone those skills that enable effective leadership?

In this track, David Cooke and the staff of Brushy Fork offer a variety of sessions to build skills and inspire new perspectives about providing leadership to communities and organizations. From running effective meetings to understanding how different personality styles interact in leadership situations, participants will explore aspects of improving their leadership skills. Each participant creates a personal leadership development plan that he or she takes home to encourage practicing some of the new skills learned in this track. New topics included this year will be self-care for personal sustainability and an extended look at social media as it relates to leadership development.

Track Limit: 20

Who should attend?

Individuals in positions of leadership in Appalachian nonprofits or local government entities. Although designed primarily for those new to such positions, many experienced leaders have engaged in this track with positive results.

What can I expect to learn?

  • How to understand the critical connection between personality characteristics and leadership development
  • How to encourage and nurture upcoming generations of local leaders
  • How to conduct effective and efficient meetings and use those meetings to strengthen organizational culture

Physical tools and takeaways from this session:  More than two dozen print resources related to leadership development, accompanied by their electronic links.


What past participants are saying:

“This is education through experience. Lessons were taught through the stories that others in the track shared.”

“The stories others shared made me realize that even though we live in other places and have our differences, in many ways we are alike. The contacts I made are wonderful and will be very beneficial.”


David Cooke, a native of Southern West Virginia, is director of the Berea College Appalachian Fund and the food security program Grow Appalachia. He holds degrees from Berea College and West Virginia University. Prior to coming to Berea, David worked 13 years as an extension agent in Boone, Lincoln, Logan and Kanawha Counties in West Virginia. With 22 years of experience in leadership development work, David facilitated work with teams in seven counties for Brushy Fork Institute’s Leadership Development Program. He is honored to have facilitated the Personal Leadership Development track at every Brushy Fork Annual Institute since the program’s inception.

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