Forty leaders from the Lowcountry 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 teaching water safety to children; inspiring goals in kindergartners from low income neighborhoods through a college tour; providing a “Porch Party Trailer” full of resources to encourage interaction among Charleston neighborhoods; launching a mentoring program between members of the Charleston Symphony Youth Orchestra and students from a Title 1 elementary school; and showcasing future career opportunities to middle school students through forums and onsite field trips.
“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, non-profit heads, chamber of commerce directors and community leaders.
In addition to the Lowcountry, DLI classes are selected annually in the Upstate and Midlands.
Each class is crafted to reflect the diverse demographics in South Carolina.
The full roster of Riley Fellows is available online at riley.furman.edu. The Riley Fellows of the 13th Lowcountry DLI class are:
Director of Development
Coastal Conservation League
Senior Projects Reporter
The Post and Courier
Director, Department of Traffic and Transportation
City of Charleston
Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission
Director of Operations
Metanoia Community Development Corporation
North Charleston Fire Department
Vice President, Professional Services
Nexsen Pruet, LLC
Shareholder- President/ Manager
Craver Law Firm PA/Crystal Enterprises, LLC
Chair; Director of Administration
Charleston County School Board; J. Henry Stuhr Funeral Chapels and Crematory
Board Member; House Call Educator/Consultant
Engaging Creative Minds; Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Lucinda Dale Gardner
Alliance For Full Acceptance (AFFA)
Reading Partners South Carolina
External Affairs Manager
Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston County School District
President, League of Women Voters of the Charleston Area
Lieutenant of Internal Affairs
Mount Pleasant Police Department
Executive Vice President
Coastal Community Foundation
Hope Lanier Freeman
Director, Communication & External Affairs
CPN, TCCC, Gaillard Performance Center
Chief Diversity Officer
Berkeley County School District
Vice President, Human Resource Management
President and CEO
Roper St. Francis (Carolinas Healthcare System)
East Cooper Land Trust
Vice President, Principal
SVP CRA Officer
South State Bank
Director of Evaluation and Public Policy
Trident United Way
Director of Development
Gibbes Museum of Art
Charleston County Government
Vice President of Local Area Programs
Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce
Berkeley County First Steps
SVP, External Affairs
SC Ports Authority
For more information about the Riley Institute and its programs, visit riley.furman.edu.