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:
Chief Partner Engagement Officer
Children's Trust of South Carolina
Law Office of Montrio Belton
Chief Diversity Officer
SC Chamber of Commerce
Government and Community Relations District Manager
Chief Learning Officer
South Carolina ETV
Deputy Director; Executive Director
SC Arts Commission; Arts Grow SC
Chief of Staff
SC Department of Health and Environmental Control
City Councilwoman, At-Large
City of Columbia
Lady June Cole
League of Women Voters of Columbia Area
Director, SC Academic Innovations
South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA)
Chief Academic Officer
Clover School District
The Byerly Foundation
Office Managing Shareholder
Director of Human Resources
National Educational Telecommunications Association
State Executive Director
USDA - FSA
Chief of Police
Lexington Police Department
U.S. Magistrate Judge
U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina
Curator of Education & Community Engagement
Florence County Museum
City Attorney's Office/Columbia Police Department
Gallivan, White & Boyd, PA
Habitat for Humanity of South Carolina
Director of Policy and Government Relations
Women's Rights and Empowerment Network
Regional Business Executive
First Citizens Bank
Duff Freeman Lyon
SC Department of Education
VP, Community Development Office
First Community Bank
Director of HR and Payroll
Children's Trust of South Carolina
Morton & Gettys, LLC
South Carolina Association of School Administrators
Chief Executive Officer
Palmetto Community Developers
Florence County Economic Development Partnership
VP, Support Operations
Columbia Museum of Art
Adams and Reese LLP
Special Assistant to the President
VP, Medicare Advantage Stars and Risk Programs
BlueCross BlueShield of SC
United Way of Kershaw County
Sisters of Charity Foundation of SC
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Original Six Foundation
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.