Brundidge native gains high title

Published 4:00 am Thursday, November 5, 2015



Beverly Steed Helton, formerly of Brundidge, has been named a Fellow of the 2015-2016 Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy.

The Delta Regional Authority has announced 52 community leaders for the intensive yearlong leadership training across Delta region

Helton, Assistant to the state director for USDA Rural Development, will join other DLI fellows from each of the eight Delta region states. Participants are nominated by their respective governors to participate in the yearlong leadership-training program.

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She will participate in the Delta Regional Authority’s eleventh class of the Delta Leadership Institute Executive Academy.

“I’m very honored to be selected for the DLI Executive Academy,” Helton said. “This opportunity will help me develop new leadership skills, enhance my knowledge about community and economic development issues and best-practices and establish new partnership opportunities.”

Helton said she grew up in a rural community. Her parents, Lamar and Shirley Steed, have owned a small, family business in Brundidge for nearly 40 years so, she said, she can relate to living and working in a small town and rural community.

Over the course of the Executive Academy year, Helton will attend six sessions across the Delta region and in Washington, DC to engage in advocacy training, case study discussion, and on-the-ground field studies of priority issue areas for the region including Workforce Training and Education, Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Public Health, Transportation, and Basic Public Infrastructure.

“During the year, I hope to better understand the needs and challenges of community leaders and how we at USDA Rural Development can expand our partnership within the Delta Region,” she said. “As a participant in the DLI Executive Academy, I will be able to enhance my knowledge, develop new skills and establish new relationships. DLI will provide a platform for me to participate and learn directly from public and private sector leaders about the challenges they encounter and what resources are available to help communities within the Delta region.”

Helton began her career with the United States Department of Agriculture in 1981.  She is the Assistant to the State Director for USDA Rural Development in Alabama and served as Acting State Director during 2009.  Her primary duties as a member of the senior management team include serving as the agency’s congressional liaison, public affairs coordinator, special projects coordinator, and advisor to the State Director, as well as representing the agency at various events statewide.

Diagnosed with invasive breast cancer in March 2008, Helton mentors newly diagnosed breast cancer patients and serves as support group chairman for Women of Hope, a Montgomery-based nonprofit dedicated to providing education, promoting awareness and supporting breast cancer patients and survivors.

She is a 2012 graduate of the Momentum Women’s Leadership Program in Birmingham, Alabama.  She graduated, with honors, from Troy University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.  While attending college, she worked at her parents’ business in Brundidge—Steed Tire Service, Inc

Since 2005, the DLI has worked to improve the decisions made by community leaders across the Delta by broadening their understanding of regional issues, building a corps of alumni that have a regional and national perspective, developing a toolkit of resources for addressing issues facing their local communities, and providing the training and professional development needed to extend the pipeline of skilled local leadership within our Delta communities.