Skip to main content

Upstate leaders become Riley Fellows, present community action projects

Upstate diversity leaders
In addition to crafting service projects, DLI participants examine sensitive issues related to diversity and inclusion, explore “blind spots” and discuss how to suspend assumptions.

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

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 focused on:

  • Enhancing educational opportunities for local youth through programs that expose students to valuable life lessons and skills including strategies for character-building;
  • Assisting adult men experiencing homelessness transition to a better situation;
  • Providing a personal piece of luggage to children in foster care offering them a sense of belonging, continuity, and respect;
  • Improving safety and accessibility for every rider in the Greenlink transit system; and
  • Fostering community dialogue around racial terror aimed to raise awareness, build trust, and break down barriers.
Upstate Diversity Leaders
Graduates of the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative become Riley Fellows and members of a powerful, cross-sector, statewide leadership network.

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. Each class is crafted to reflect the diverse demographics in South Carolina. In addition to the Upstate, DLI classes are selected annually in the Midlands and Lowcountry.

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

“We are excited to add this group of thoughtful leaders, unafraid to take on a challenge and passionate about this state, to our alumni list,” said Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute.

The newest Riley Fellows in the Upstate are:

Miranda Asson
Community Relations Director/On-air Personality

Melissa Bailey-Taylor
Medical Director
Prisma Health

Meghan Barp
President and CEO
United Way of Greenville County

Gina Blohm
Director of Development
Community Foundation of Greenville

Jonathan Cote
Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP

Sally Morris Cote
Director of Planning and Evaluation Capacity Building
The Riley Institute at Furman

Gary Daniels
Vice President, Business Development
Wells Fargo

Kenneth Dean
Mount Zion Baptist Church

Sophia Dopher
Learning and Development Manager

Mary Garvey
Director of Innovation and Inclusion
Institute for Child Success

Yukichi Hagins
Real Estate Professional
Yukichi Hagins Realty

Gwen Hall
Director, Talent and Organizational Development | Human Resources
Prisma Health

Lakeia Harris
Section Manager, Benefits

John Harvey
Executive Vice President, Human Resources

Baker Hatcher
Regional Manager
MAU Workforce Solutions

Marlon Hunter
Chief Executive Officer

Megha Lal
Greenwood County Community Foundation

John Lattimore
Senior Director of Project Management
Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County

Elizabeth Mann
Interim Dean, Public Service, Arts & Sciences
Greenville Technical College

Brad Mock
Chief Medical Officer
AnMed Health

Judy Pham
Process Engineer
Michelin North America

Donnie Porter
Public Affairs Manager
City of Greenville Police Department

Dorothy Priester
Executive Director
Cherokee County First Steps

Carlotta Redish
Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources
Spartanburg School District 7

Shawn Reid
Fiscal and Program Operations Specialist
Duscha Management, LLC
Fountain Inn

Ansel Sanders
President and CEO
Public Education Partners

Chris Scalzo
Circuit Public Defender, 13th Judicial Circuit
South Carolina Commission on Indigent Defense

Feliccia Smith
Professor of Business
North Greenville University

Katy Pugh Smith
Executive Director
Piedmont Health Foundation & Greenville Partnership for Philanthropy

Liz Smith
Professor and Chair, Department of Politics and International Affairs
Furman University

Ellen Stevenson
Organizational Consultant
Optimal Performance

Scott Strong
Vice President
Snider Fleet Solutions

Summer Tebalt
Director of AccessHealth Spartanburg

Troy Terry
Executive Director of Graduate and Evening Studies
Furman University

Tiffane Thompson
Director, Consumer Experience
Michelin North America

Mike Ungar
Competency Manager
Michelin North America

Sally Wills
Executive Director
LiveWell Greenville

Lisa Wine
Production Section Manager
BMW Manufacturing

About the Riley Institute at Furman University
The Riley Institute at Furman University broadens student and community perspectives about issues critical to South Carolina’s progress. It builds and engages present and future leaders, creates and shares data-supported information about the state’s core challenges, and links the leadership body to sustainable solutions. It is committed to nonpartisanship in all it does and to a rhetoric-free, facts-based approach to change. For more information, visit

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Last updated .

Furman library, COVID-19 enrollment

Furman responds to Black alumni petition

Racial bias incidents across the country led Black Furman alumni to petition the university with several requests. The university has replied with specific steps to address their concerns.

Photo of a statue bust wearing a mask.

Furman Focused website provides guidance for fall return

Website is a resource and a glimpse into the extensive preparations.

Illustration of a coronavirus in a jail cell

Justicia fights for COVID-19 protections for people who are incarcerated

Legal clinic gives students firsthand experience with law while keeping virus in check

Committed to First-Generation College Students

Furman University was elected to first cohort focused on advancing first-generation student success.