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Upstate's Diversity Champions Honored at 14th Annual Upstate Diversity Leadership Awards Dinner

Published Tuesday, May 29, 2018 3:00 pm

(Greenville, SC) Upstate diversity leaders were honored Thursday, May 24, 2018, at the 14th Annual Upstate Diversity Leadership Awards Dinner. The event, hosted by the Greenville Chamber and the Riley Institute at Furman University in partnership with the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce, recognized the following organizations and individuals for outstanding achievement in promoting diversity and inclusion in the Upstate:

  • Jim Dant - Calder. D. Ehrmann Outstanding Individual
  • Adahlia Nix - Outstanding College Student
  • Charlotte Capers Snoad - Outstanding High School Student
  • Adela Mendoza - Outstanding Contribution to International Diversity
  • GE - Outstanding Business
  • Monaview Elementary School - K-12 School: William "Bill" T. Wylie VALUED Lives Award for Excellence in Diversity
  • Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine - Carolinas - Outstanding Nonprofit Organization

The dinner featured a keynote presentation by Juan Johnson, President of Diversity Leadership in Action.

“The Greenville Chamber is honored to work alongside the Riley Institute at Furman to celebrate and honor the diversity champions in the Upstate working tirelessly to build an inclusive community,” said Greenville Chamber President/CEO Carlos Phillips. “We are thrilled to highlight the outstanding accomplishments of these leaders, and hope it inspires others to ensure our region is an inclusive place where businesses succeed and people prosper.”


Calder D. Ehrmann Outstanding Individual Award: Jim Dant

Born Jewish, raised Catholic, and educated Baptist, Jim is an example of the benefits of diversity, exemplifying the best of each tradition. As senior minister of First Baptist, Jim is committed to making the church a place of justice and peace in Greenville for all people.

Jim humbly but bravely extends welcome to individuals who may have felt excluded in places of worship. He points to our common humanity with a distinctive blend of genuine grace and firm conviction. Jim has guided First Baptist to become a place where members of the LGBTQ community are welcome to worship and serve without restrictions.

Jim’s most recent book, This I Know: A Simple Biblical Defense for LGBTQ Christians, takes each biblical challenge to this community and provides simple and understandable responses.

Outstanding College Student Award: Adahlia Nix

Adahlia is founder of the For Frankie free laundry service. The initiative first began at the Coin Laundry on Poinsett Highway where on Wednesday nights, homeless and low-income individuals can wash their clothes, have a conversation with volunteers, and enjoy a snack.

After being featured on Mike Rowe’s program “Returning the Favor,” she was given much needed resources to expand her organization, including a mobile laundry truck that will allow her to take her service to assist those in need where they are.

Adahlia works at the Miracle Hill Children’s Home in Pickens, where she serves as a house parent to children who must stay home from school. She’s also been involved with the SWITCH initiative in the Upstate that fights human trafficking and sexual exploitation.

Adahlia is a student at Greenville Technical College in the Human Services Program.

Outstanding High School Student Award: Charlotte Capers Snoad

Charlotte Capers Snoad is a senior at Mauldin High School with a passion for justice and equality, particularly for women and the LGBTQ community.

In middle school as a Youth In Government delegate, she realized girls had not won a statewide election at the high school level and decided to confront this issue head on. She helped organize a Girls Leadership Conference which included a trip to Washington, D.C. where they shadowed women making a difference in their organizations and communities.

As a high school student, Charlotte Capers has created a nonprofit organization called EmpowHER. Its mission is to inspire young women to seek leadership positions in every area of their lives: at school, in their extracurricular clubs and in their communities of faith.

Outstanding Contribution to International Diversity Award: Adela Mendoza

Adela began her work in South Carolina in 2009 as the Statewide Program Manager for the South Carolina Victim Assistance Network, helping to establish international cooperative relations among foreign consulates and US organizations in order to increase access to legal services for immigrant victims of crime.

Adela currently works as Executive Director of the Hispanic Alliance Network, the largest Hispanic-focused Network in the region. More than 2,500 individuals and organizations strong, it is representative not only of the Hispanic community, but of almost every nationality, cause, and perspective.

Adela created the Student Dreamers Alliance, a groundbreaking model for empowering Hispanic students to develop community, identity, and opportunity through knowledge and advocacy.

Outstanding Business Award: GE

GE created Balance the Equation campaign to encourage more women in STEM careers and announced a goal of 20,000 women in technical roles by 2020. GE is committed to obtaining a 50-50 representation for all their technical entry-level programs. Other internal training programs, commitment to supplier diversity best practices, and employee affinity groups support GE’s efforts to ensure a positive work environment is created for all its employees.

Outside of the company, GE is dedicated to investing in students. GE Girls is a project connecting 28 female students from Greenville County middle schools with female GE employees in STEM careers, giving them the confidence to pursue careers in this field. GE’s Hispanic Forum organizes Junior Achievement engagement, often focusing on local schools with Spanish-speaking students. In addition, their African American Forum has organized tutoring with Southside High School.

K-12 School: William “Bill” T. Wylie Valued Lives Award for School Excellence in Diversity: Monaview Elementary School

Monaview has the highest Hispanic population in the Greenville County School district. The school’s atrium includes 23 large flags of each nation represented within the student body.

The school provides professional development for its staff that focuses on family engagement. Poverty simulations, book studies, and involvement with organizations like the Hispanic Alliance, help teachers understand the needs of their diverse students and build collaborative partnerships with their families.

Monaview has created a Parent Resource Room that gives parents access to computers, programs, and technology to help them learn English. In addition, Monaview has a Hispanic psychiatrist who provides informative and welcoming workshops for parents after school.

Outstanding Nonprofit Organization Award: Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine - Carolinas

Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine - Carolinas (VCOM) is a four-year osteopathic medical school offering the Doctor of Osteopathic Medical degree, providing licensing in every state and every field of medicine from family practice to neurosurgery. Their mission is to prepare globally-minded, community-focused physicians to meet the needs of rural and medically underserved populations and promote research to improve human health.

VCOM actively recruits minority students who are underrepresented in health care but very representative of the growing diverse communities in the US. Its student body is 27% non-white with 14% of its students identify with an underrepresented population.

VCOM offers a variety of programs and opportunities for its students to work with underserved and rural communities, introducing them to the anatomical sciences and educating the community about its role in osteopathic medicine.

ABOUT THE GREENVILLE CHAMBER The Greenville Chamber, now in its 130th year of operation, is the largest business organization in Upstate South Carolina with over 2100 Investors supporting the vision of a globally competitive Upstate economy where businesses succeed and people prosper. For information, visit our website.

ABOUT THE RILEY INSTITUTE AT FURMAN UNIVERSITY Furman University’s Richard W. Riley Institute broadens student and community perspectives about issues critical to South Carolina’s progress. It builds and engages present and future leaders, creates and shares data-supported information about the state’s core challenges, and links the leadership body to sustainable solutions. It is committed to nonpartisanship in all it does and to a rhetoric-free, facts-based approach to change. For more information visit their website.


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