35 Midlands Leaders Graduate from the Riley Institute’s Award-Winning Diversity Program as It Reaches New Milestone

COLUMBIA, S.C. —35 leaders from across the Midlands have new tools and perspectives to leverage diversity to improve organizational outcomes and drive social and economic progress in South Carolina, gained through their participation in the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI).

These leaders, who graduated from DLI’s fourteenth Midlands class on June 7, took part in intensive discussions and scenario analyses that allowed them to openly examine sensitive issues related to diversity and inclusion with fellow leaders, explore “blind spots,” and gain tools to develop diversity strategies within their own organizations.

Since its inception 19 years ago, DLI has become a cornerstone of Furman University’s Riley Institute. With the graduation of Midlands and Upstate classes this spring, the program has reached a notable milestone with more than 2,500 leaders from across the state having graduated from the program.

“In a time of significant strife both nationally and internationally, it gives me great hope to see so many South Carolina leaders remain committed to driving positive change in their workplaces and communities with the tools they’ve gained in DLI,” said Dr. Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute.

Graduates of DLI become Riley Fellows, members of a powerful cross-sector network of South Carolinians that includes corporate CEOs, legislators, superintendents, religious and nonprofit heads, and business and community leaders.

DLI is facilitated by expert Juan Johnson, who was The Coca-Cola Company’s first-ever vice president for diversity strategy.

Participants are selected through a rigorous application and interview process after being nominated by existing Riley Fellows. They are accepted based on their capacity to create impact within their organizations and communities. Each class is crafted to reflect the diverse demographics in South Carolina.

Class members worked together to develop capstone projects, partnering with nonprofit organizations to respond to real challenges and opportunities in their communities. These nonprofits included Richland County Public Education Partners, Christian Assistance Bridge, Homeless No More, Black Economic Leadership League, and SC Foster Parent Association.

The full roster of Riley Fellows is available online at furman.edu/riley. These are the graduates of the spring 2022 Midlands DLI class:

Richard Band
Trustee
Arras Foundation
Lancaster

Mark Barnes
Director of Administration
SC First Steps
Columbia

Janet Bell
Chief Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Officer
SC Department of Mental Health
Columbia

Derek Black
Professor of Law
University of South Carolina School of Law
Columbia

Jake Broom
Chief Operating Officer
Municipal Association of South Carolina
Columbia

Lisa Brown
Director of Strategy Management
City of Rock Hill
Rock Hill

John Bruton
Attorney
Nexsen Pruet, LLC
Columbia

Neal Burkhead
Vice President
Palmetto GBA (BlueCross BlueShield)
Columbia

Quinetta Buterbaugh
District Manager - Government and Community Relations
Duke Energy
Florence

Anita Case
Chief Executive Officer
Affinity Health Center
Rock Hill

Sally Caver
Attorney
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Columbia

Jamie Devine
President and CEO
Community Assistance Provider
Columbia

Stephanie Frazier
Assistant General Manager
SCETV
Columbia

Doward Harvin
Attorney
Sabb Law Group, LLC
Kingstree

Hannah Honeycutt
Executive Director
SC Access to Justice Commission
Columbia

Todd Jaeck
Executive Director
South Carolina Education Association
Columbia

Steven Johnson
Assistant Vice President, Deputy General Counsel
BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
Columbia

Matt Kennell
President and CEO
City Center Partnership
Columbia

Dan Koon
Deputy Commissioner for Consultative Services
SC Human Affairs Commission
Columbia

Ashley Lamb
Manager of HR Programs
Robinson Gray Stepp & Lafitte, LLC
Columbia

Lasenta Lewis-Ellis
President and CEO
LLE Construction Group, LLC
Columbia

Sarah Martin
Vice President, Partner Solutions
BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
Columbia

Jack McKenzie
Attorney
McDonald, McKenzie, Rubin, Miller & Lybrand, LLP
Columbia

Alvin Pressley
Superintendent
Newberry County School District
Newberry

Sidney Rex
CFO
W. B. Guimarin & Co., Inc.
Columbia

Monty Robertson
Director, Alliance for a Healthier SC
South Carolina Hospital Association
Columbia

Ron Scott
Attorney
Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd, P.A.
Columbia

Chrysti Shain
Director of Communications
SC Department of Corrections
Columbia

Kimberly Snipes
YLD & Diversity Coordinator
South Carolina Bar
Columbia

Roy Still
Trustee
Arras Foundation
Lancaster

Michael Strange
Executive Vice President
Security Federal Bank
West Columbia

John Thomas
Chief Diversity Officer
Self Regional Healthcare
Greenwood

Meghan Walker
Executive Director
South Carolina State Ethics Commission
Columbia

Megan Weis
Director of Community Engagement
SC Center for Rural and Primary Healthcare
Columbia

Ericka Wooten
Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Sisters of Charity Foundation of SC
Columbia


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