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Upstate leaders become Riley Diversity Fellows

diversity leaders initiative
Thirty-six leaders from the Upstate and surrounding area have completed the Riley Institute at Furman’s Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI).

Thirty-six leaders from the Upstate and surrounding area have completed the Riley Institute at Furman’s Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI).

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 past five months, participants have examined sensitive issues related to diversity and inclusion, explored “blind spots,” and discussed how to suspend assumptions. Each class is expertly facilitated by Juan Johnson, an independent consultant and former Coca-Cola vice president.

As part of the program, participants have worked in small, cross-sector groups to respond to real issues and opportunities in their communities through service projects.

The projects from this class focus on topics such as fostering interaction between individuals with disabilities and employees of local companies; increasing access to food for students when school meals are not available; enhancing services at a local youth soccer center to encompass the family unit as a whole; assisting female Upstate veterans with connections and resources as they transition from the military to the private sector; and providing program support to a new day center for homeless youth.

“We are extremely proud of this class, their work to improve their organizations and communities, and the relationships they have formed from their honest conversations this semester,” said Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute.

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, nonprofit heads, chamber of commerce directors, and community leaders.

In addition to the Upstate, DLI classes are selected annually in the Midlands and Lowcountry.

Each class is crafted to reflect the diverse demographics in South Carolina.

The full roster of Riley Fellows is available online at The Riley Fellows of the 26th Upstate DLI class are:

Brandy Amidon
Brains on Fire, Inc.

Crystal Ball O’Connor
Board Chairwoman
Greenville County Schools

Stacey Bechtold
Human Resources Manager
Greenville County Parks, Recreation, & Tourism

Osa Benson
Attorney; Director, Legal Department
SYNNEX Corporation

Rich Cannon
VP, Human Resources
Snider Fleet Solutions

Miriam Dicks
180 Management Group

Don Doggett
Educational Consultant

Amanda Dow
Stakeholder Philanthropy Manager
Duke Energy

Cortney Easterling
Deputy Chief of Staff, President’s Office
Greenville Health System

John Emerson
Director of Operations for North America R&D
Michelin North America

Brann Fowler
Assistant Solicitor
Greenville County Solicitor’s Office

Shauna Galloway-Williams
Executive Director
Julie Valentine Center

Jon Hammond
General Counsel and Executive Vice President of Operations
ChartSpan Medical Technologies, Inc.

Marty Herndon
Snider Fleet Solutions

Traci Hogan
Assistant Superintendent for Special Education
Greenville County Schools

Liz Horton
Senior Vice President
Greenville Chamber

Kimbrelly Kegler
Global Brand Strategy Leader
Michelin North America

Toni Land
Director of Patient Experience
Greenville Health System

Tanaya Latigue
Section Manager Associate Relations
BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC

Jada Magiera
HR Business Partner
Propel HR

Rimes McElveen
Executive Director
Mere Christianity Forum
Travelers Rest

Danny Merck
School District of Pickens County

Neetu Patel
Sycamore Investment Group

Marshall Pickens, III
Business Development Manager
Anderson Federal Credit Union

Joe Pinilla
Deputy Director of Prevention and Community Engagement
The Forrester Center for Behavioral Health

Brad Pochard
Associate Vice President of Enrollment and Dean of Admission
Furman University

Rachel Putman
VP of Human Resources
Goodwill Industries of Upstate/Midlands SC

Barry Richardson
Section Manager – Equipment Services, Safety – Paint Shop
BMW Manufacturing Co., LLC

Beth Rusch
Director of West End Events at Fluor Field
Greenville Drive

Katy Sides
Associate, Strategic Initiatives
Hollingsworth Funds

Tony Taylor
Chief of Police
Town of Williamston

Mike Teachey
Executive Director
Barbara Stone Foundation/Greenville CAN

Danny Varat
Chief of Staff
Office of the Lieutenant Governor of South Carolina

Cherod Webber
President and CEO
Innovative Global Supply, LLC

Jermaine Whirl
Vice President of Learning and Workforce Development
Greenville Technical College

Will Whitley
Chief of Staff/Director of Events – Corporate Communications
Michelin North America

For more information about the Riley Institute and its programs, visit

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