MBACC Board Announces Karen Riordan as New President and CEO

The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Karen Riordan as the new President and CEO.

Riordan brings over 25 years of marketing and leadership experience to Myrtle Beach. She is the current President and CEO of the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance (GWCTA).


“I am really excited about the opportunity to lead business and tourism growth in this amazing destination,” said Riordan. “This move allows me to lead the next chapter of phenomenal tourism success for the area, while serving a vibrant business community with over 2,800 Chamber members. Like the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance, it is a very special model that has the Chamber of Commerce leading all business and tourism initiatives to grow economic impact and support the community.”

“This is a perfect time for Karen Riordan to become the Chamber’s next President and CEO. After a rigorous nationwide executive search, we’ve selected a very strong leader at a time when the Chamber is in a very strong position following years of exceptional growth,” said board chairman, Carla Schuessler.

“Our excitement about Karen Riordan’s ability to steer and operate the organization is strengthened by her leadership experience with businesses, destinations and marketing,” says Jim Creel, Jr., chairman of the Search Committee. “We all felt energized by Karen and knew she would be a success due to her visible and contagious passion for Myrtle Beach.”

Prior to GWCTA, Riordan worked at top creative advertising agencies, including Arnold Worldwide, SmithGifford, Pagano Schenck & Kay, and Hill Holliday in Boston and Washington, D.C.  Over the course of her career she has led marketing campaigns for leading tourism brands, including Visit Williamsburg,The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, Amtrak, Choice Hotels International and Celebrity Cruises.

Riordan was recently named the Chamber Executive of the Year for 2018 by the Virginia Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (VACCE). 

She serves on the VACCE Board of Directors, as well as the Boards of Williamsburg Landing and the Heritage Humane Society.  She is the former President of DC Ad Club Board and former Chair of Advertising Week DC, and a member of the American Advertising Federation (AAF). In 2013 she received the AAF’s highest honor, the Silver Medal Award for community service.  In 2012 she was named one of Washington’s “Women Who Mean Business” by the Washington Business Journal.

“The staff, the board of directors, and business community have already been so welcoming – I am eager to get started and continue their long-standing tradition of excellence in Myrtle Beach and the Grand Strand as a whole,” said Riordan.

Riordan will begin her new post in late August.

For photos and more information on Karen Riordan, as well as more information on the search process, please visit:

Watch the Facebook Live Stream of the Press Conference here -

And hear more from Karen in the video below.