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Women’s Leadership Institute celebrates this spring’s 58 graduates

Last updated June 15, 2021

By Furman News

On June 1, 2021, Furman’s latest class of the Women’s Leadership Institute celebrated its program graduation. The Women’s Leadership Institute is a leadership training program for both established and developing female leaders. Its curriculum is focused on teaching evidence-based leadership theory and its practical applications to help participants inspire followers, lead groups and achieve organization goals – all to better understand the unique challenges women face in the workplace.

This class consisted of 58 women, representing 44 organizations and eight states. They women gathered — virtually due to COVID-19 precautions — for an hour and a half on Tuesdays and Thursdays between April 15 and June 1. The curriculum included cultural awareness, leading teams, accepting and giving feedback, negotiating, communicating effectively, design thinking, developing personal brands and more than a dozen other topics.

“The Women’s Leadership Institute was a great way to learn about myself, my leadership style and how to better lead and communicate with others,” said Elizabeth-Kelly Pope, chief of staff at Sharp Brain Consulting. “I began instituting what I learned immediately personally and professionally and am excited about the progress I see already. It was great to learn from and with so many amazing women and build a support system along the way. I look forward to using all my new tools to improve myself and those I work with.”

“The Women’s Leadership Institute provides women with tools and techniques to help them succeed in their chosen careers and in life,” said Furman President Elizabeth Davis. “It was exciting to see such a strong class come together during a challenging time and commit to developing their skills while building a stronger network of women leaders across South Carolina.”

This year’s graduates are:
Justine Allen, program and event manager, Ten at the Top
Pamela Altman, director of advancement services, South Carolina Governor’s School for Science + Mathematics Foundation
Tawni Ash, interim controller, Gordian
Megan Bagwell, corporate public relations manager, Michelin North America
Erica Barbuto, senior account manager – team lead, Gordian
Julie Bartels, director of marketing, Hood Construction
Kathryn Boucher, executive director, Spartanburg Philharmonic
Shelby Broomfield, STEM outreach coordinator/program director, SC Coalition for Mathematics & Science/Dreams Imagination & Gift Development Program
Jessica Burgess, product business manager, Synnex Corporation
Terri Byrd, executive coordinator, Alabama Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF)
Brigitte Chapman, director of alumni relations, SC Governor’s School for Science + Mathematics Foundation
Alyssa Chapman, national vice president – SLED sales, Gordian
Molly Claycomb, director of financial reporting and accounting policy, United Community Bank
Ariel Cohn, architect, senior associate, LS3P
Jessica Dahle, product development scientist, Fitesa
Morgan Danyi-Burton, assistant director, Center for Inclusive Communities, Furman University
Gina Dhanani, COO, Double Cola Co. USA
Jennifer Dickert, family violence intervention client coordinator, Compass of Carolina
Beth Dill, director of total rewards, BlueCross & BlueShield of South Carolina
Erika Dominguez, senior account manager, Gordian
Dallas Erwin, outreach associate, South Carolina’s Coalition for Mathematics and Science
Leslie Farmer, communications lead, Lockheed Martin
Anne Fleming, senior director of alumni communications, Furman University
Erin Ford, executive vice president/COO, SCBIO
Lauren Heimberg, domestic violence and sexual assault case manager, Family Guidance Center
Nikki Hutchison, associate state director/advocacy, AARP
Star Jamison, professional academic advisor/career coach and peer leadership coordinator, USC Upstate
Chase Kay, sales manager, Gordian
Sarah King, program coordinator – SNAP-Ed., Clemson University Youth Learning Institute
Mallory Kleinman, project engineer, Industrial Project Innovation
Marcia Leake, associate vice president, human resources, Tri-County Technical College
Ruth Perkins-Lee, director of fellowship gatherings, Cooperative Baptist Fellowship
Theresa Lunsford, microbiology research and development analyst, Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation
Melanie Matney, chief operating officer, SC Hospital Association
Casey Minor, assistant controller, Furman University
Wesley Mitchell, director of sales and marketing, Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation
Kelly Morrow, attorney, partner, Robinson Gray Stepp & Laffitte LLC
Erin O’Connell, director of nursing, Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida
Melissa Patterson, controller, AFF Group
Amanda Peterson, executive assistant, Moore Inc.
Gina Polizzi, associate director of training and advising operations, Midlands Technical College
Elizabeth-Kelly Pope, chief of staff, Sharp Brain Consulting
Courtney Powell, planning administrator, City of Greenville
Janelle Robinson, program coordinator/assistant professor/therapist, Lenoir Rhyne University
Katherine Royal, marketing and research, NAI Earle Furman
Jana Scroggins, senior vice president, United Community Bank
Caitlyn Shaw, associate, healthcare project manager, LS3P Associates Ltd.
Lisa Shelnutt, commercial real estate division manager, United Community Bank
Heather Smith, project manager/engineer, Industrial Project Innovation (IPI) LLC.
Robin Stack, chief finance officer, Greenville County Schools
Meredith Stone, executive director, Baptist Women in Ministry
Jennifer Sutton, CEO/founder, BRIGHT+CO Marketing
Loren Thomas, multimedia communication specialist, City of Greenville
Euricka Thomas, QA manager, Gordian
Annah Toates, attorney, Bell Carrington Price & Gregg LLC – Law Firm
Elisa Walker, interior designer, McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture
Sylvia Weber, director of application support, United Community Bank
Kimberly Williams, business solutions director, Midlands Technical College

This program is hosted by Furman’s Center for Corporate and Professional Development and was supported by United Community Bank Foundation as the presenting sponsor and SCBio as the presenting partner.

“Part of our mission at United Community Bank is to help improve the financial health and well-being of our communities. Supporting the unique development opportunity offered by Furman University Women’s Leadership Institute aligns perfectly with that goal,” said Melinda Davis Lux, executive vice president and general counsel with United Community Bank. “Personally, I’m also very passionate about mentorship for our next generation of leaders, and I’m thrilled that our team has been able to contribute to this very impactful program.”

The Center for Corporate and Professional Development exists to provide organizations with professional development and performance consulting tools needed to excel in today’s business climate and aligns under Furman’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Women who want to participate in future Women’s Leadership Institute programming can learn more at

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