Forty-two leaders from the Midlands and surrounding area have been selected to participate in the Riley Institute at Furman’s Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI) this spring.
“Though we are a diverse population, discovering ways in which differences can be a strength in our organizations is of utmost importance as we seek to grow and support a thriving economy and rich culture,” said Donald Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute.
DLI class members are identified through a rigorous process including a nomination, application and interview. Individuals are selected to join the class based on their capacity to impact their organizations and communities.
Over the course of five months, participants will learn about diversity and inclusion “blind spots” and how to suspend assumptions. Participants will also work in small, cross-sector groups to respond to real issues and opportunities in their communities through service projects. The classes are facilitated by Juan Johnson, an independent consultant and former Coca-Cola vice president.
“DLI is unique among South Carolina’s leadership programs. In addition to the opportunity to develop new relationships and take part in positive action in their communities, participants gain deep knowledge of how to effectively manage and lead diverse workers, clients and constituents,” said Johnson.
In addition to the Midlands, DLI classes are selected annually in the Upstate and Lowcountry. Each class is crafted to reflect the diverse demographics in South Carolina.
“We now have more than 1,900 Riley Fellows statewide. Each new class further extends the reach and impact of leaders willing to work together to make South Carolina a better place to live and work for all its residents,” said Gordon.
DLI graduates become Riley Fellows, members of a powerful, cross-sector, statewide leadership network that includes CEOs of corporations, mayors, city and county council members, legislators, school superintendents, pastors and rabbis, non-profit heads, chamber of commerce directors, and community leaders.
The full roster of Riley Fellows is available online at riley.furman.edu. The leaders selected for the 11th Midlands DLI class are:
SC Office of Rural Health
Director, State Government Relations
Director of External Communications
Retirement System Investment Commission
Director, Office of Clinical Experiences
University of South Carolina
College of Education
Mike Kelly Law Group, LLC
Beth De Santis
SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
Governmental Relations and Communications Director
South Carolina School Boards Association
Duff & Childs, LLC
Lexington School District Three
Vice President for Fiscal Affairs
Columbia District Superintendent
SC Conference of the United Methodist Church
Deputy Chief of Police
Columbia Police Department
Special Projects Director, Office of the President
Director of Academic Affairs
South Carolina Commission on Higher Education
Senior Director, Public Policy
United Way Association of South Carolina
SC Whitmore School
Town of Kershaw
President, Aflac Group Insurance, EVP-COO Aflac US
Tree of Life Congregation
John C. West Forum; The Human Experience
Upper Midlands Rural Health Network
BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
Vice President for Finance and Administration
Central Carolina Community Foundation
Rock Hill Schools
Owner and President
Mike Reichenbach Ford Lincoln, Volkswagen and Chevrolet
Lila Anna Sauls
Homeless No More; Richland School District One
Shop Manager: Preparation
Vice President for Advancement
Central Carolina Community Foundation
Director of Public Safety
City of Cayce
Vice President/General Manager
Stewart Law Firm
Vice President for Issues and Action
League of Women Voters of South Carolina
SC Regional Housing Authority #3
Bhavna Maker Vasudeva
Habitat for Humanity of York County
Women’s Rights and Empowerment Network
SC First Steps to School Readiness
Director of Public Education and Communications
SC Education Oversight Committee
For more information about the Riley Institute and its programs, visit riley.furman.edu.