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Jason Sakran Selected to Become Riley Fellow and Joins Diversity Leaders Initiative



Charleston City Council member, Director of Expanded Learning for Charleston County School District, and small business owner Jason Sakran has been selected to become a Riley Fellow. He now joins a network of more than 2,300 leaders committed to creating social and economic progress in South Carolina.

Sakran 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 18th year, the program equips participants with tools and perspectives to leverage diversity as a way to improve organizational outcomes and drive social and economic progress in South Carolina. Sakran is one of 42 individuals to be a part of the 15th Lowcountry cohort.

“Society faces enormous challenges on multiple fronts in 2021,” said Dr. Donald Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute. “Now more than ever, leaders must come together to identify ways to unite communities in the pursuit of better outcomes for all. The participants in this class will gain unique frameworks and tools as they lead in these unprecedented times.”

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. Participants 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.

Sakran 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, Sakran will also develop a capstone project that raises awareness of community needs.

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 that includes corporate CEOs, legislators, superintendents, religious and nonprofit heads, and business and community leaders.

“With more than 2,300 Riley Fellows statewide, each new class amplifies the impact of leaders willing to work together to make South Carolina a better place to live and work for all its residents,” Gordon said.

To see a full list of participants and for more information about the Diversity Leaders Initiative, visit

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