Contributed to by Southern Company Media Relations

Atlanta – Southern Company’s Power U Student of the Business course – an online training curriculum offering employees continuing company education – has earned the Gold Award for “Best Custom Content” in the Brandon Hall Group’s 2012 “Excellence in Learning” awards.  The award is among the most sought-after in the corporate education and instruction industry.

Southern Company launched its Power U Student of the Business course in January with the goal of helping employees better understand the complexities driving decisions today and where the company is headed in the future, affording them the knowledge to align their work with the company’s strategic priorities.

“Our exceptionally talented employees have consistently demonstrated the drive and desire to help the company succeed,” said Susan Story, CEO of Southern Company Services. “The Power U Student of the Business course takes continuing education one step further – promoting a more in-depth understanding of our company’s priorities and uniting our employees under a common purpose.”

The course – a series of short video lessons packaged in an online learning environment – provides participants a comprehensive overview of the company’s commitment to making, moving and selling electricity in a clean, safe, reliable and affordable manner. To date, more  than 7,200 Southern Company employees have successfully completed at least one training module, and approximately 4,400 have completed all modules in the curriculum.

“Southern Company is firmly committed to developing employees and leaders at all levels within the company,” Story further noted. “Still in its first year, this course is already helping cultivate an innovative culture by increasing accountability and elevating employee performance.”

The Brandon Hall competition annually draws applications from corporations around the world as well as government entities, nonprofits
and associations. Entries are evaluated by a panel of independent industry experts and Brandon Hall analysts and executives.

With 4.4 million customers and more than 43,000 megawatts of generating capacity, Atlanta-based Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the premier energy company serving the Southeast. A leading U.S. producer of electricity, Southern Company owns electric utilities in four states and a growing competitive generation company, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are below the national average. Southern Company also is continually ranked among the top utilities in Fortune’s annual World’s Most Admired Electric and Gas Utility rankings. Visit our website at

Rachel Cooke

Chief Operating Officer Rachel Cooke Rachel is responsible for business operations including overseeing client services, research events and project management. Prior to joining Brandon Hall Group, Rachel was the Chief Operating Officer Co-founder of AC Growth. Rachel has over 15 years of experience in sales, marketing, business development, and sales performance management. Prior to AC Growth, she held several senior management roles and was on the leadership team at Bersin & Associates, a pioneer analyst firm in e-learning and now industry leading HR and talent Research Company. In her Senior Director role, Rachel developed the strategy and led the commercial execution of the solution provider vertical, and grew the vertical into the company’s largest market segment. In her role as Director of Sales, Rachel developed and led a team of senior account executives focused on acquiring global strategic accounts. Rachel was solely responsible for developing key business relationships with over ninety companies including industry icons, such as: Adidas, Hewlett-Packard, Toyota, Oracle, Starbucks, Avnet, Boeing, Kaiser Permanente, Safeway Inc., Wells Fargo, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Clorox and Affiliated Computer Services. Rachel began her career in the banking, media and hospitality industries. In these industries, Rachel held several key senior management and executive sales positions. Rachel received a BA in social science and interdisciplinary studies with honors from Florida Atlantic University. Rachel continued her postgraduate education by completing a series of executive management education courses from American Management Association.