Kathy Black

Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Communications | Chattanooga, Tenn.

I’m a wife. I’m a mother. I’m a doting grandmother to six wonderful grandchildren. I’m a soldier. And I’m proud to have led the fight for diversity and inclusion at the Tennessee Valley Authority for nearly 30 years.

Kathy Black knows a thing or two about a mission. She’s a proud veteran of the U.S. Army, where she served in the military police—and when she returned to civilian life, she found the perfect fit for her service-oriented mindset when she got a job with TVA.

“I started with TVA in the mid-80s,” Black says. “I quickly came to the decision that this was a great company to work for and that I very much would like a career with TVA.”

Black, the Senior Vice President of Human Resources and Communications who is retiring in mid-February, says she experienced collaboration and the collective pride of TVA employees from the very beginning. Her career has been filled with memories of working side-by-side with fellow employees to get results—and always, she says, she has walked away enriched. The bigger the challenge, the better.

Here’s an example: When Black was the human resources manager for the Sequoyah Nuclear Plant in the late 1990s, the entire staff had to work together in order be recognized by the Institute of Nuclear Power Operations as a high-performing plant. “It was very exciting, and truly a reward for the team’s hard work to receive that rating,” Black remembers. “It gave me an appreciation later for what it takes for a nuclear organization to obtain that level of performance.” In short: A lot of mutual respect and teamwork.

While Black has held several different positions in corporate Human Resources, she says this most recent position as Senior Vice President of Human Resources & Communication has been one of the most rewarding in her TVA career.

“I consider it an honor and a privilege to have served in this position on Bill Johnson’s executive team and work with the managers and employees of TVA,” she says. “We have loads of talented people at TVA, and I’m pleased that we have been focusing more on our mission of service in the last couple of years.”

Though Black is retiring, she won’t be leaving her experience at TVA behind. “TVA hasn’t just been a job for me, it’s been a hobby,” she says. “And I will take that experience with me and use it going forward.”

She intends to use it in her ongoing civic work; Black currently serves on the Tennessee Department of Education’s STEM Leadership Council and Helmets to Hardhats Board of Trustees. She is also a member of the Advisory Council for the Human Resources Department at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. (Black graduated from UTC with a bachelor’s degree in business management.)

But she’ll take time, too, to pursue her passion for family, travel and golf—a game that rewards her focus and intensity.

As for the TVA employees she’s leaving behind, she has a simple, appropriately mission-oriented parting message: “Keep the rates low and the lights on!”

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