In May 2022, the Virginia Rural Center announced 29 individuals that were chosen to make up the inaugural cohort of the Virginia Rural Leadership Institute (VRLI). VRLI is a leadership program that develops and supports highly skilled, highly motivated leaders who are committed to revitalizing their communities across rural Virginia.

Joy Rumley, Director of Economic Development, at the NRVRC was selected as a cohort member of VRLI.

Through this leadership program, she will learn from Virginia’s top experts on economic and community development as well as a thorough review of rural issues and apply these improved skills by working on a Community Impact Project. The programming will also include visiting five different rural regions across the Commonwealth, including: Southside Virginia, Middle Peninsula/Northern Neck, New River Valley, Shenandoah Valley, and Southwest Virginia. The program also seeks to increase cooperation, collaboration, and coordination across a broad array of rural localities. For more information on the Virginia Rural Center and VRLI, visit:

If you have ideas to share with Joy on a potential Community Impact Project, email her at

In addition to Joy, two other selected participants represent the New River Valley and are from the Pulaski area: Luke Allison, Aggregate Capital, LLC and Lydia Gilmer, Pulaski County Small Business Solutions Manager.