MYRTLE BEACH S.C. (WBTW) — The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce has hired a new director of diversity, equity and inclusion to help improve practices in the workplace and in the community.

Coastal Elite Pirates professional basketball team owner and chamber member, Jahzavier Anderson, said he’s happy they’ve hired someone who looks like him for the position.

Out of the more than 2,000 businesses and non-profits part of the chamber, 143 of them are minority-owned.

Anderson said he’s hoping the new director will help that number grow.

“I think she’ll do a better job at going inside the community, letting people know what it is, because I just found out two years ago what it really was, so that’s how I really joined the commerce,” Anderson said.

MBACC director of diversity, equity, and inclusion Danette Patton will be responsible for a lot of things, including looking at HR practices for recruiting and retaining talent internally for the chamber and being an overall resource for chamber members.

“Be more involved when it comes down to, we have heritage and cultural months that are coming up, so making that important within the chamber and then getting out into the community,” Patton said.

Chamber president and CEO Karen Riordan said they did an organizational assessment last year and hiring a director for diversity equity and inclusion was one of the primary recommendations from that assessment.

“We’ve had a number of people in the organization, who been working on DEI, but we felt like to really stress how important this role is and how committed we are to DEI, that it was really important we make one strategic hire in 2022 and that would be to hire a new director,” Riordan said.

Anderson said he hopes the new positions will allow for more diverse voices to be heard and supported.

“The chamber helps me out tremendously,” Anderson said. “They always push me in the right direction, anything I needed they were there so for them to make this step as choosing someone of color is a big plus in my book.”

Patton started in her new role on Aug. 1.