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Upstate Diversity Leadership Awards Dinner 2005

The Inclusion Infusion Team: Row 1 (l-r) George Acker, Joe Davenport, Russell Harris;
Row 2 (l-r) Reginald Avery, Sarah Miller, Wayne Culbertson, Diane Eldridge (Sandra Hayes not in photo) 

The First Annual Upstate Diversity Leadership Awards Dinner

Palmetto Expo Center
May 10, 2005 

The Riley Institute at Furman announced the first annual Upstate Diversity Leadership Awards Dinner hosted by the Greater Greenville Chamber of Commerce in cooperation with the Anderson Chamber of Commerce and the Spartanburg Chamber of Commerce. The dinner was held at the Palmetto Expo Center on May 10, 2005.  This inaugural event drew over 600 people from across the Upstate.

The idea for this event originated during the 2004 Upstate Diversity Leaders Initiative hosted by the Riley Institute. In addition to classroom training, the group was divided into teams, each charged with identifying and developing a diversity-related project. The "Inclusion Infusion" team suggested an annual event that would recognize organizations, programs, and individuals for their positive contributions to promoting diversity in the Upstate.

The guest speaker for this inaugural dinner was Juan Johnson. Juan Johnson is a Senior Associate with the Riley Institute as well as the facilitator for the Riley Institute Diversity Leaders Initiative. After an illustrious career of 21 years with Coca-Cola, Inc., where he served as the company's first ever Vice President for Diversity Strategy, Johnson recently launched his own business, Juan Johnson Consulting and Facilitation. Juan’s original background is accounting and finance. He achieved certifications as both a CPA and CMA and worked for Arthur Andersen & Company before joining Coca-Cola in 1984. In addition to his accounting certifications, Juan holds an MBA from Atlanta University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from Southern University. For his complete biography, click here.

Awards were presented to recognize three individuals and three organizations for their outstanding achievement in promoting diversity in the Upstate.


Outstanding IndividualCalder D. Ehrmann (award sponsored by Wachovia Bank)

Outstanding High School StudentKeith Clifford Barksdales, Jr. (award sponsored by Bi-Lo)

Outstanding College Student: Nadezhda (Nadia) Savova (award sponsored by Furman University)

Outstanding Non-Profit Organization: University of South Carolina Upstate (award sponsored by BMW Manufacturing Co)

Outstanding BusinessAnMed Health Office of Diversity (award sponsored by the University of South Carolina Upstate)

Outstanding Contribution to International Diversity: The International Center of the Upstate (award sponsored by Michelin North America)

 Press Coverage

The Greenville News