Forty-one Lowcountry Leaders Have Completed the Diversity Leaders Initiative Class

Staff Report From Georgia CEO

Friday, December 13th, 2019

The Riley Institute at Furman has announced that 41 leaders from the Lowcountry and surrounding area have completed the Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI) class.
DLI class members are identified through a rigorous process including 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. Program designer and facilitator Juan Johnson, a former Coca-Cola vice president with a deep and varied background in issues of diversity and inclusion, has led each of the DLI classes since the program’s inception in 2003.
As part of the program, participants 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 connecting at-risk students to local businesses and access to shadowing and internship opportunities; establishing a personal mentoring program for vulnerable children; addressing transportation challenges for community members who need to access medical care; supporting people in need with food and personal care products through an easily accessible outdoor public pantry; and raising awareness of the widespread lack of access to menstrual hygiene products, and encouraging the South Carolina legislature to make hygiene products more affordable by exempting them from sales tax.
“I watched in admiration as these leaders raised thoughtful questions and encouraged courageous vulnerability,” said Don Gordon, executive director of The Riley Institute. “I am excited to see how their committed leadership will help drive progress in their communities and organizations.”
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.