41 Midlands Leaders Selected to Become Riley Fellows

DLI Midlands Fellows

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Forty-one leaders from across the Midlands will 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 are members of DLI’s 15th Midlands class, were selected through a rigorous application and interview process after being nominated by DLI alumni. They are uniquely positioned to create impact within their organizations and communities. Each class is crafted to reflect the diverse demographics in South Carolina.

“In a time of significant social strife, leaders must come together to identify ways to unite communities to improve outcomes for all,” said Dr. Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute. “The DLI experience will help them as they lead South Carolina toward a better tomorrow.”

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

Over five months, the class will engage in intensive discussions and scenario analyses that allow them to openly examine sensitive issues related to diversity and inclusion with fellow leaders, explore “blind spots,” and gain tools to develop strategies within their own organizations.

Class members also work together to develop capstone projects, partnering with nonprofit organizations to respond to real challenges and opportunities in their communities.

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.

“With more than 2,600 Riley Fellows statewide, the impact these tight-knit leaders have is amplified with the addition of every new class,” Gordon said. “It’s a special thing to witness them coming together to make South Carolina a better place to live and work for all its residents.”

Listed below are the participants of the spring 2023 Midlands DLI class. The full roster of program graduates can be found online at furman.edu/riley.

Spring 2023 Midlands class participants:

Eric Bellamy
Chief Partner Engagement Officer
Children's Trust of South Carolina
Columbia

Montrio Belton
Attorney
Law Office of Montrio Belton
Rock Hill

Cynthia Bennett
Chief Diversity Officer
SC Chamber of Commerce
Columbia

Tyson Blanton
Government and Community Relations District Manager
Duke Energy
Lancaster

Salandra Bowman
Chief Learning Officer
South Carolina ETV
Columbia

Ashley Brown
Deputy Director; Executive Director
SC Arts Commission; Arts Grow SC
Columbia

Karla Buru
Chief of Staff
SC Department of Health and Environmental Control
Columbia

Aditi Bussells
City Councilwoman, At-Large
City of Columbia
Columbia

Lady June Cole
President
League of Women Voters of Columbia Area
Columbia

Russell Cook
Director, SC Academic Innovations
South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA)
Columbia

Millicent Dickey
Chief Academic Officer
Clover School District
Clover

Brianna Douglas
Executive Director
The Byerly Foundation
Hartsville

Bill Duda
Office Managing Shareholder
Ogletree Deakins
Columbia

Mark Everett
Director of Human Resources
National Educational Telecommunications Association
Columbia

Laurie Funderburk
State Executive Director
USDA - FSA
Columbia

Claire Gibbons
Managing Director
Power:Ed
Columbia

Terrence Green
Chief of Police
Lexington Police Department
Lexington

Shiva Hodges
U.S. Magistrate Judge
U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina
Columbia

Uschi Jeffcoat
Curator of Education & Community Engagement
Florence County Museum
Florence

Jazmon Kearse
Police Advisor
City Attorney's Office/Columbia Police Department
Columbia

John Lay
Shareholder
Gallivan, White & Boyd, PA
Columbia

Nancy Lee
Executive Director
Habitat for Humanity of South Carolina
Columbia

Ashley Lidow
Director of Policy and Government Relations
Women's Rights and Empowerment Network
Columbia

Kevin Lindler
Regional Business Executive
First Citizens Bank
Columbia

David Lyon
Partner/Attorney
Duff Freeman Lyon
Columbia

David Mathis
Deputy Superintendent
SC Department of Education
Columbia

Laura McKinney
VP, Community Development Office
First Community Bank
Lexington

Ameka Neely
Director of HR and Payroll
Children's Trust of South Carolina
Columbia

Tim Norwood
EVP
Synergi Partners
Florence

Elizabeth Owen
Partner
Morton & Gettys, LLC
Rock Hill

Hannah Pittman
Associate Director
South Carolina Association of School Administrators
Columbia

Alyssa Richardson
Chief Executive Officer
Palmetto Community Developers
North Charleston

Gregg Robinson
CEO
Florence County Economic Development Partnership
Florence

Joe Roof
VP, Support Operations
Palmetto GBA
Columbia

Joelle Ryan-Cook
Deputy Director
Columbia Museum of Art
Columbia

Kirby Shealy
Attorney
Adams and Reese LLP
Columbia

Gary Simrill
Special Assistant to the President
Winthrop University
Rock Hill

Jason Sloan
VP, Medicare Advantage Stars and Risk Programs
BlueCross BlueShield of SC
Columbia

Donny Supplee
President
United Way of Kershaw County
Camden

Donna Waites
President
Sisters of Charity Foundation of SC
Columbia


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Nick Washington
Program Director
Original Six Foundation
Columbia

Furman University’s Richard W. Riley Institute advances social and economic progress in South Carolina and beyond by building leadership for a diverse society, broadening student and community perspectives on critical issues, hosting expert speakers, supporting public education, and creating knowledge through community solutions-focused research. It is committed to nonpartisanship in all it does and to a rhetoric-free, facts-based approach to change.