BEAUFORT, S.C. (Sept. 7, 2023) – Beaufort City Councilman Neil Lipsitz joins other distinguished leaders from across South Carolina to participate in the Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI), an award-winning program of Furman University’s Riley Institute.
Now in its 20th year, the program equips participants with tools and perspectives to leverage diversity to improve organizational outcomes and drive social and economic progress in South Carolina. Councilman Lipsitz is one of 42 individuals to be a part of the 17th Lowcountry cohort.
Both Mayor Stephen Murray and City Councilman Mitch Mitchell are Riley Fellows.
“Today’s leaders have an obligation to drive change across our state that impacts all levels of society, improving outcomes for everyone,” said Dr. Don Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute. “This class offers participants the tools and experiences to understand the nuanced challenges facing diverse segments of our community and to develop meaningful solutions.”
DLI class members are selected through a rigorous application and interview process after being nominated by existing graduates of the program, known as Riley Fellows. They are accepted based on a variety of factors, including their interest in and commitment to the program and their capacity to create impact within their organizations and communities. Each class is crafted to reflect South Carolina’s demographic makeup.
Lipsitz will take part in a highly interactive curriculum consisting of case studies, scenario analyses, and other experiential learning tools that maximize interaction and discussion among classmates and facilitate productive relationships. Working alongside classmates, he will also develop a capstone project that raises awareness of community need. The classes begin in mid-September and extend through December.
DLI classes are facilitated by expert Juan Johnson, an independent consultant who was The Coca-Cola Company’s first-ever vice president for diversity strategy.
“DLI is unique among South Carolina’s leadership programs,” Johnson said. “In addition to developing new relationships and affecting positive change in their communities, participants gain deep knowledge of how to effectively manage and lead diverse workers, clients, and constituents.”
Once participants of this class graduate in December and become Riley Fellows, they join a powerful cross-sector network of South Carolinians who include corporate CEOs, legislators, superintendents, religious and nonprofit heads, and business and community leaders.
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, broadening student and community perspectives on critical issues, hosting expert speakers, 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.