Skip to main content

Forty-eight Midlands Leaders Join Diversity Leaders Initiative

Back to Articles

Erika Kirby selected to participate in the Riley Institute’s intensive 5-month Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI) program. This article was originally featured on

Forty-eight leaders from across the Midlands have been selected to participate in the Riley Institute’s intensive 5-month Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI) program. For over 20 years, DLI has brought together community stakeholders and equipped them with the skills and perspectives necessary to leverage diversity in their organizations in ways that drive social and economic progress in South Carolina. 

Participants are selected following nomination by a DLI graduate and a thorough application and interview process. Each class includes leaders who represent the varied demographics in our state and who seek to institute diverse and inclusive practices within their communities and organizations. 

Juan Johnson, the designer and facilitator of the program, has crafted a curriculum that includes interactive case studies, scenario analyses, and experiential learning tools. With five meetings over the course of five months, this program will explore modules related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Among the topics explored in these discussions are the differences between bias and discrimination, the role of context, differences in mental and physical abilities, generational diversity, and diversity frameworks. 

The DLI program concludes with groups undertaking community action projects. With these capstone projects, this new class of DLI participants will identify challenges in their communities and will work together to address them. Many of our DLI graduates have developed projects that continue to produce tremendous good within their communities. 

Dr. Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute, remarks, “Today’s leaders are responsible for making positive contributions that benefit everyone, particularly the most marginalized among us. This program creates opportunities to tackle challenges faced by diverse segments of our community and introduce enduring solutions and systems-level change within organizations and businesses across South Carolina.” 

Graduates of DLI become Riley Fellows and join a diverse community of changemakers in South Carolina. Listed below are the participants of the spring 2024 Midlands DLI class.

For a full list of participants, view the original article on