39 Lowcountry leaders graduate from the Riley Institute’s award-winning diversity program

Katie Quine
Marketing and Communications Manager
The Riley Institute at Furman University
864.294.3368; katie.quine@furman.edu


Class participants join a network of more than 2,300 Riley Fellows across South Carolina.

GREENVILLE, S.C. — Thirty-nine leaders from across the Lowcountry have new tools and perspectives to leverage diversity to improve organizational outcomes and drive social and economic progress in South Carolina, gained through their participation in the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI).

These leaders, who graduated from DLI’s 15th Lowcountry class on December 16, 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 18 years ago, DLI has become a cornerstone of Furman University’s Riley Institute. 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 network of South Carolinians that includes corporate CEOs, legislators, superintendents, religious and nonprofit heads, and business and community leaders.

“Society faces enormous challenges on multiple fronts in 2021. Now more than ever, leaders must come together to identify ways to unite communities in the pursuit of better outcomes for all,” said Dr. Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute. “I look forward to seeing how our newest Riley Fellows continue to drive positive change in their workplaces and communities with the tools they’ve gained in DLI, even in these unprecedented times.”

DLI is facilitated by expert Juan Johnson, 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.

Class members worked together to develop capstone projects, partnering with nonprofit organizations to respond to real challenges and opportunities in their communities. These nonprofits included Village to Village Foundation, My Community’s Keeper, Freedom Readers, Liberty Hill Neighborhood, and Our Lady of Mercy.

The full roster of Riley Fellows is available online at furman.edu/riley. These are the graduates of the fall 2021 Lowcountry DLI class:

Amer Ahmad
Ahmad Injury Law
Atlanta, GA

Cathy Almquist
Vice President for Education
Trident Technical College
Charleston, SC

Annie Andrews
Associate Professor of Pediatrics
Medical University of South Carolina
Charleston, SC

Erin Aylor
Senior Vice President of Marketing
Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce
North Charleston, SC

Tracy Bradshaw
Executive Director
Charleston, SC

Mamie Bush
Director of Sales and Marketing
Hilton Garden Inn Charleston Waterfront/Downtown
Charleston, SC

Angela Christian
County Administrator
Georgetown County
Georgetown, SC 

Herbert Drayton
Managing Partner
HI Mark Capital
North Charleston, SC 

Gil Einstein
William R. Kenan, Jr., Professor of Psychology – Retired
Furman University
Greenville, SC

Bryson Geer
Nelson Mullins
Charleston, SC

Henry Givens
Vice President
TD Bank
Mt. Pleasant, SC

Rich Gough
Technical College of the Lowcountry
Beaufort, SC

Marc Greene
Commander, Joint Base Charleston
US Air Force
Joint Base Charleston, SC

Eric Greenway
County Administrator
Beaufort County Council
Beaufort, SC 

Sean Holleran
Vice President
First National Bank
Mt. Pleasant, SC

Jermaine Husser
VP of Mission Enterprise
Palmetto Goodwill
North Charleston, SC

Christopher Ibsen
Dolphin Architects & Builders
Johns Island, SC

Adrienne Johnson
Senior Staff Attorney
Law Office of the Public Defender, DeKalb County
Decatur, GA

Missy Johnson
Elliott Davis
Charleston, SC

Amanda Jones
Director, Pastoral Care and Clinical Pastoral Education
Roper St. Francis Healthcare
Charleston, SC

Margaret Lawton
Associate Dean for Academics, Professor of Law
Charleston School of Law
Charleston, SC

Arden Lowndes
Associate Attorney
Copeland Stair Kingma & Lovell, LLP
Charleston, SC 

Chris McKinney
CEO/Executive Director
Santee-Lynches Regional Council of Governments
Sumter, SC

Eliot Middleton
Middleton & Maker Village BBQ
Awendaw, SC

Ashley Nelson
Program and Communications Officer
Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation
Pawleys Island, SC

Keith Price
Georgetown County School District
Georgetown, SC

John Rhoden
Executive Director
Sea Island Habitat for Humanity
Johns Island, SC

Frank Rodriguez
Beaufort County School District
Beaufort, SC

Jason Sakran
Director of Expanded Learning
Charleston County School District
Charleston, SC

Nikki Seibert
Food System Consultant
Charleston, SC

Tom Swanciger
Executive Director
Father to Father
North Charleston, SC

Scott Teodorski
National Park Service
Beaufort, SC

Alicia Thompson
Office Managing Partner, Myrtle Beach Office
Burr & Forman, LLP
Myrtle Beach, SC

Allison Van Diest
Senior Director of Marketing & Intelligence
Charleston, SC

Rob Wehrman
Duffy & Young
Charleston, SC

Guang Ming Whitley
Town of Mount Pleasant
Mt. Pleasant, SC

Wayne Wilcher
Director of Contracts, Procurement, & Archived Services
Charleston County School District
North Charleston, SC

Kimberly Willis
Director, Community Health
Roper St. Francis Healthcare
Charleston, SC

Nicole Wren
Manager Talent Acquisition
Santee Cooper
Moncks Corner, SC


About the Riley Institute at Furman University

Furman University’s Richard W. Riley Institute advances social and economic progress in South Carolina and beyond by building leadership for a diverse society, hosting expert speakers to broaden perspectives on critical issues, supporting public education, and creating knowledge through community solutions-focused research. It is committed to nonpartisanship in all it does and to a rhetoric-free, facts-based approach to change. Learn more at furman.edu/riley.