Sumter chamber announces new hire and honor



The Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce recently made two announcements, one a new hire and the other an honor.

Ariel Wilkie has joined the Greater Sumter Chamber of Commerce as director of partner development, according to a news release from the chamber. Originally from Sumter, Wilkie comes to the chamber from Sumter School District as a ninth-grade English teacher and student government class adviser at Sumter High School.

A graduate of the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor's degree in English, Wilkie's primary responsibilities will be helping the chamber grow through new member recruitment while working with the business community to ensure they maximize the benefits and services available to them through chamber membership.

"The City of Sumter is a wonderful, unique place with such a strong sense of community. I'm incredibly excited to start my new position as the director of partner development and interact with members of the community!" Wilkie said in the release. "I'm looking forward to working with local businesses to help them get the most out of their chamber membership."

In other chamber news, Chris Hardy, chamber president and CEO, was recently selected by The Riley Institute at Furman University as a participant in the prestigious Diversity Leadership Fellowship.

According to a news release, The Riley Institute helps advance broadly shared opportunity and prosperity in South Carolina and works to remove barriers to economic and social progress and empower individuals and communities to seek sustainable solutions to critical challenges.

"This is truly an honor to have been selected to participate in this program," Hardy said in the release. "Being a nomination-based leadership program, it makes it that much more special to be considered as a 2020 Riley Institute Fellow. I truly believe that what I will learn, and the relationships made during this program, will be of a huge benefit to our chamber of commerce. Diversity is a topic in our community, and many others around our state and country, that at times is difficult to understand. Many understand what diversity means, but few understand how to create change within it. I am excited to share what I learn to make our organization and community better for the future."

Founded in 1999, the institute is named for former governor of South Carolina and former United States Secretary of Education Richard W. "Dick" Riley. It is committed to nonpartisanship in all it does and to a rhetoric-free, facts-based approach to change. Through its Centers for Education Policy and Leadership, for Diversity Strategies and for Critical Issues, the institute focuses on leadership, knowledge and impact.

It builds and engages present and future leadership across South Carolina, creates and shares data supported information about challenges critical to the state's progress and their solutions, and links the leadership body to those solutions to drive progress on the ground.