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Jasmine Smith to participate in Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Jasmine Smith, an attorney with Robinson Gray, has been named to the Fall 2020 class of the Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative.

The Riley Institute at Furman started the DLI in 2003. The program’s more than 2,300 graduates have included a wide array of business, governmental and community leaders committed to advancing social and economic progress in South Carolina.

While DLI classes are typically sorted by state geographic region, the fall 2020 class is the first-ever statewide cohort. The intensive four-month program will be held virtually due to COVID-19, a pandemic that underscores the need for such a program, said Dr. Donald Gordon, executive director of the Riley Institute.

“The extreme hardship brought on by the pandemic has exacerbated the existing social and economic divisions that we address through our Diversity Leaders Initiative,” Gordon said. “The road ahead will present its share of challenges, but our new group of leaders are uniquely positioned to create real-world solutions within their own enterprises.”

DLI class members are selected through a rigorous application and interview process after being nominated by existing Riley Fellows. Participants are accepted based on their capacity to create impact within their organizations and communities.

Participants gather for several day-long sessions, during which they learn to understand their diversity and inclusion “blind spots” and how to suspend assumptions. They come away with focused decision-making skills and deep knowledge of how to effectively manage and lead increasingly diverse workers, clients and constituents.

Jasmine’s practice at Robinson Gray deals with commercial litigation, professional liability and ethics, probate and estate litigation, and appellate advocacy, focusing on family law.

She earned a master’s degree in counselor education, specializing in marriage and family therapy, before earning her Juris Doctor from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 2012. She is very active in the South Carolina Bar and her community, serving on numerous committees and boards.

“We’re proud of Jasmine for being selected as one of the leaders to participate in this prestigious and worthwhile program,” said Cal Watson, the law firm’s managing member. “While she and our firm will derive benefit from the program, I’m sure the other participants will gain from her perspective as well.”

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. Learn more at