ACC South Carolina Spotlight on Diversity
AVP & Deputy General Counsel, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
Steven Johnson, a Riley Fellow and ACC South Carolina member, on his experience in the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative:
What inspired you to become involved in the program?
I have always heard good reviews about the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative program from friends and colleagues that participated in the past. In researching the program, I confirmed their endorsements and saw that it was a first-class program and curriculum. I jumped at the opportunity to be considered as a Riley Fellow. I’m fortunate. BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is always so supportive of employees utilizing opportunities to learn, cultivate, and develop themselves to grow as a person and professional. I’m always looking for ways to improve as a father, colleague, and citizen. I knew the DLI Program would help me in that endeavor.
What was the most meaningful aspect of the program?
The diverse cross-sector of participants and interactive curriculum, along with the Community Action Project. My class of Fellows was compiled from a wide swath of truly diverse backgrounds: CEOs, Physicians, Lawyers, Politicians, Administrators, Municipal & State Government, Business, Education, Entrepreneurs. Everyone had a different perspective or way to think about each topic we discussed. Each session and interactive discussion was progressively better than the last. It was eye opening hearing the different viewpoints of my classmates whether the topic was a socioeconomic discussion or real-world experience of how someone was treated in their workplace, school, or community because of where they came from or the way they looked or dressed. We also had an opportunity to break into small groups to work together on a Community Action Project. Our Community Action Project small group worked with a local non-profit that engages with at-risk students in local public schools. We helped the non-profit create a marketing and fundraising plan from scratch. It was an excellent experience.
How were you able to balance your work duties with this additional personal & professional development?
BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is always encouraging and fostering opportunities for employees to learn and grow.
Would you encourage other chapter members to participate in DLI?
I wholeheartedly encourage anyone considering the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative to go for it. It is a golden opportunity to learn about diversity and inclusion and differing viewpoints to help you, as an individual, grow and improve and initiate social and economic progress in your workplace, community and South Carolina. The best part, too, is the program is homegrown from right here in South Carolina.
About the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative (taken from the Riley Institute Website)
The Riley Institute’s award-winning Diversity Leaders Initiative (DLI) equips leaders with the tools and perspectives needed to leverage diversity as a way to improve organizational outcomes and drive social and economic progress in South Carolina.
Carefully selected, established leaders from all sectors of South Carolina society, nominated by DLI alumni and invited to apply, take part in DLI, which offers a unique, highly interactive curriculum that imparts deep knowledge and skills to effectively manage and lead increasingly diverse workers, clients and constituents. Since 2003, more than 2,400 leaders across the state have graduated from the program and become Riley Fellows, members of a powerful cross-sector of South Carolinians that includes corporate CEOs, legislators, superintendents, religious and nonprofit heads, and business and community leaders.
To read more about the Riley Institute’s DLI, please visit https://www.furman.edu/riley/diversity-strategies/diversity-leaders-ini…