First-Ever Statewide Class Graduates from the Riley Institute’s Award-Winning Diversity Program

Graduates of the first-ever statewide Diversity Leaders Initiative class

Graduates of the first-ever statewide Diversity Leaders Initiative class

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Upon graduating from the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI) inaugural statewide class on December 17, 46 leaders from across the state have new tools and perspectives to help leverage diversity to improve organizational outcomes and drive social and economic progress in South Carolina.


Participants 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. Since its inception 17 years ago, DLI has become a cornerstone of Furman University’s Riley Institute as more than 2,300 leaders from across the state have graduated from the program.

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.

Classes are typically organized by region, taking place in the Upstate, Midlands, and Lowcountry, but the need to transition to virtual programming as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic created the opportunity for broader convenings unrestrained by geography.

“While this difficult moment in history is one marked by physical distance and isolation, we must rise as one South Carolina to meet the challenges our communities face,” said Dr. Donald Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute. “This statewide class is prepared to bring forth real-world solutions for social and economic divisions exacerbated by the pandemic.”

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

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

As part of the statewide class, participants worked together to develop awareness campaigns for five South Carolina-based nonprofits: Appleseed Justice, Engaging Creative Minds, Family Connection, PASOs, and United Ministries.

A second statewide class will take place in spring 2021.

The full roster of Riley Fellows is available online at riley.furman.edu. These are the graduates of the fall 2020 DLI class:

Edward Anderson
Executive Director of OnTrack Greenville
United Way of Greenville County
Greenville

Amy Barrett
Executive Director
Urban Land Institute
North Charleston

Neil Batavia
Shareholder
Dority & Manning, P.A.
Greenville

Jody Bedenbaugh
Partner
Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP
Columbia

Karl Brady
Donor Relations Manager
Carolina Youth Development Center
North Charleston

Ivette Burgess
Human Resources Director/City Clerk
City of Beaufort
Beaufort

Willis Cantey
President
Cantey Tech Consulting
North Charleston

Laura Cantral
Executive Director
Coastal Conservation League
Charleston

Genevieve Caplette
Leadership Development Manager
Michelin
Greenville

Francisco Cardona Mena
Operations and Performance Improvement Manager for Semifinished Products in NA
Michelin NA
Greenville

Mary Caskey
Attorney
Haynsworth Sinkler Boyd PA
Columbia

Jeremy Cass
Dean of Faculty
Furman University
Greenville

Dan Claas
AVP Group & Individual Underwriting
Blue Cross Blue Shield of South Carolina
Columbia

Galen DeHay
President
Tri-County Technical College
Pendleton

Wolfgang Dieminger
Department Manager, Launch Control, Plant Projects Series, Change Coordination
BMW MC
Greer

Kacey Eichelberger
Chair, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville | Prisma Health Upstate
Greenville

Adrienne Fairwell
Assistant General Manager
South Carolina ETV
Columbia

Matthew Ferguson
Executive Director
Education Oversight Committee
Columbia

Elizabeth Fletcher
Senior Vice President, System Strategy & Community Health
Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System
Spartanburg

Kenya Ford
IT Integration Manager
BMW Manufacturing
Greenville

Sh'Kur Francis
Senior Pastor
New Hope United Methodist Church
Anderson

Herb Frazier
Executive Committee Member; Writer
Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Corridor Commission
Charleston

Ryan Gilchrest
Managing Editor
The Post and Courier Greenville
Greenville

Jill Goulette
Director B2B Customer Experience
Michelin
Greenville

Kayla Green
Executive Editor
The Sumter Item
Sumter

Julio Hernandez
Chief of Staff- Inclusion & Equity
Clemson University
Clemson

Wanda Cheeks Holmes
Director, TK Gregg Community Center
City of Spartanburg
Spartanburg

Tammie Hoy-Hawkins
President and CEO
Community Works
Greenville

Mark Humphrey
Director of Family Medicine
Prisma Health Midlands
Columbia

Michael Jennings
Chief Diversity Officer
Furman University
Greenville

Danny Kassis
Vice President, Customer Relations and Renewables
Dominion Energy South Carolina
North Charleston

Jesica Mackey
Senior Project Advisor
NP Strategy
Columbia

Jonathan Markowitz
Professor and Vice Chair for Academic Affairs
University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville | Prisma Health Upstate
Greenville

Andy Miles
Account Director
Companion Data Services, (LLC) | BlueCross BlueShield of SC
Columbia

Amy Mirabelli
NA RDI Competency Manager and NA Competitor Products Analysis Manager
Michelin North America
Greenville

Jay Norman
Vice President
Whiting-Turner
Charleston

Jeff Payne
Vice President - Human Resources
AgFirst Farm Credit Bank
Columbia

Heather Pierce
HR Leader
LS3P
Charleston

Katie Quine
Marketing and Communications Manager
The Riley Institute at Furman University
Greenville

Mike Seemuller
Medical Director - AnMed Health Wren Family Medicine
AnMed Health
Piedmont


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Sue Shugart
Chief Executive Officer
KershawHealth
Camden

Jasmine Smith
Attorney
Robinson Gray Stepp Laffitte, LLC
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Steve Spinks
CEO
Spinx Company
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Tammy Stephens
AVP, Operations
BCBS of SC
Camden

Greg Whittaker
Agent/Regional Manager
South Carolina Dept. Probation, Parole, & Pardons
Orangeburg

Matt Williams
Executive Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer
KnowledgeWorks
Cincinnati, OH