41 Upstate leaders graduate from the Riley Institute’s award-winning diversity program

Upstate ClassUPSTATE LEADERS GRADUATE FROM THE RILEY INSTITUTE’S AWARD-WINNING DIVERSITY PROGRAM

Participants of the 41-person class join a network of more than 2,300 Riley Fellows across the state.

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Upon graduating this month from the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI), 40 leaders from across the Upstate have new tools and perspectives to help leverage diversity to improve organizational outcomes and drive social and economic progress in South Carolina.

These individuals, all members of the 29th DLI class in the region, took part in intensive discussions and scenario analyses that allowed them to openly examine sensitive issues related to diversity and inclusion with fellow leaders, explore “blind spots,” and gain tools to develop diversity strategies within their own organizations. DLI has become a cornerstone of Furman University’s Riley Institute as more than 2,300 leaders from across the state have graduated since the program’s inception 17 years ago.

Graduates of DLI become Riley Fellows, members of a powerful cross-sector of South Carolinians that includes corporate CEOs, legislators, superintendents, religious and nonprofit heads, and business and community leaders.

While the class was originally scheduled to conclude in the spring after beginning in January, it was put on hold as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and resumed virtually in September. The pandemic, along with the current call for racial justice, underscores the need for such a program, said Dr. Donald Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute.

“The extreme hardship brought on by the pandemic has exacerbated the existing social and economic divisions that we address through our Diversity Leaders Initiative,” Gordon said. “The road ahead will present its share of challenges, but our new group of Riley Fellows are uniquely positioned to create real-world solutions within their own enterprises.”

Classes are facilitated by expert Juan Johnson, an independent consultant who was The Coca-Cola Company’s first-ever vice president for diversity strategy.

DLI participants are selected through a rigorous application and interview process after being nominated by existing Riley Fellows. They are accepted based on their capacity to create impact within their organizations and communities.

As part of the program, participants work alongside classmates to develop a capstone project that addresses a specific community need.

One of the five capstone groups sought to address the learning gap for low-income elementary students who lack access to print materials at home. Participants organized a book drive that led to the collection of 1,000 inspirational books —double the group’s goal —for children attending Spartanburg County District 7 schools.

Combating the social isolation older adults are experiencing as a result of the pandemic, another group helped connect members of Active Day of Greer, an adult daycare center, with students of Riverside Middle School. Through video chats and letter-writing, older adults remain productive and valued in the community while igniting a sense of community responsibility in young, emerging 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 riley.furman.edu. These are the graduates of the 29th Upstate DLI class:

Keith Allen
Vice President of Sales & General Counsel
Snider Fleet Solutions
Greensboro

Cole Alverson
County Administrator
Spartanburg County
Spartanburg

Chris Ballard
Major General (Retired)
US Army
Greenville

Joy Blue
Director of Development
Center for Developmental Services
Greenville

Kelvin Byrd
Dean
Greenville Technical College
Greenville

Adrick Ceasar
Director of Operations and Rehabilitation
Elite Integrated Therapy Centers
Greenville

David Chapman
President
Vita, Inc.
Greenville

Parkes Coggins
Vice President Hospital Integration
Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
Spartanburg

Robert Dewick
Project Manager
Michelin

Jennifer Disney
Professor and Chair, Department of Political Science & Director, Women's and Gender Studies Program
Winthrop University
Rock Hill

Ben Dorr
Pastor
Westminster Presbyterian Church
Greenville

Manjesh Dubey
Section Manager, Bodyshop
BMW
Greer

Stephanie Ellison-Johnson
Senior Associate Athletics Director for Sports Administration/ Senior Woman Administrator
Clemson University Athletics
Clemson

David Feild
Market President
Colliers International
Greenville

Cierra Fowler
Deputy Director of Resident and Community Engagement
Spartanburg Housing Authority
Spartanburg

Allison Foy
Executive Director of Alumni and Parent Engagement
Furman University
Greenville

Margaret Gifford
CEO
Watervine Impact
Travelers Rest

Melanie Gordon
Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator
Christ Church Episcopal School
Greenville

Anthony Herrera
Executive Director, Office for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
Furman University
Greenville

Amy Hinson
Attorney/Partner
Parker Poe
Greenville

Alan Johnson
Lieutenant
Greenville Police Department
Greenville

Dean Jones
Director
Greenville County Workforce Development
Greenville

Danny Joyner
President & CEO
Berkshire Hathaway C. Dan Joyner Realtors
Greenville

Leslie Latimer
Executive Director
Palmetto Shared Services Alliance
Greenville

James Lee
Staff Psychiatrist
Springbrook Behavioral Health
Travelers Rest

Chris Manley
President/CEO & CEO of Engenius
Rebuild Upstate
Greenville

Stuart Mauney
Lawyer/Partner
Gallivan, White & Boyd
Greenville

Cameron McDowell
Executive Director, Eastside YMCA
YMCA of Greenville
Taylors

Cedrek McFadden
Vice Chair of Clinical Affairs, Department of Surgery
Prisma Health
Greenville

Laura Morrow-Fox
Executive Director - Talent Acquisition
Prisma Health
Greenville

Ramon Nieves-Lugo
Principal
UniComm Media Group
Greenville

Erica Powell
Co-Founder/Co-Owner
Booty Bar and Erica Powell Enterprises
Greenville

David Pressley
Product Performance Director Business to Business
Michelin
Greenville

Terry Pruitt
Chief Academic Officer
Spartanburg School District 7
Spartanburg

Lee Anne Scales
Campaign Director
United Way of Greenville County
Greenville

Karen Schwartz
Director - Digital Services Platform
Michelin
Greenville


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Alice Searcy
Corporate HR Director
Michelin
Greenville

Cathy Stevens
Program Director
The Riley Institute at Furman
Greenville

Maureen Tiller
Principal
Greenville County Schools
Simpsonville

Wendy Westmoreland
Director of Human Resources
Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County
Greenville

Amy Wood
Evening News Anchor
7 News WSPA TV
Spartanburg