After postponing the 2020 Pique young professionals event twice, we at Ten at the Top have made the decision to cancel this year’s event. It was becoming clear that an in-person event would not be possible, and trying to reproduce the experience of Pique in a virtual format seemed unfair to attendees who purchased tickets for an event that is geared around networking and includes an opportunity to sit face-to-face with executives from a variety of sectors. But we still wanted to have something in 2020 for young professionals, so we’ll be hosting a series of “Sneak Pique” virtual events in the months leading up to an in-person event in 2021.
Jessica Miserendino, Import Manager at AFL, Ten at the Top board member, and chair of the Pique planning committee
Jessica Miserendino, Import Manager at AFL, Ten at the Top board member, and chair of the Pique planning committee, answered some questions about Sneak Pique, while keeping some of the “sneak” parts under wraps.
Q: Instead of doing a virtual event to replace the in-person event, you’ve decided to do a series of virtual “Sneak Pique” events. Can you explain what that means?
The Sneak Pique will be a series leading up to our in person event “Pique” that is planned for Spring 2021. In our current pandemic state, where contact is limited, the Sneak Pique series is designed to allow young professionals to continue to interact with each other in a safe, socially distanced environment. There will be a variety of topics and activities covered to help young professionals in their personal and career development. Many of us are missing the social interaction of life before COVID, so this is a great opportunity to collaborate with other Upstate YPs.
Q: Are you planning to charge anything for the virtual events?
These events will be held free of charge! We understand that many are struggling financially during this pandemic and want to provide the opportunity for everyone to participate in Sneak Pique.
Q: Since Pique is largely a networking event, how will you incorporate networking into the Sneak Pique virtual events?
Luckily, many of the virtual meeting platforms now allow you to easily facilitate networking from a distance. We plan to utilize the breakout rooms feature to host round table sessions and to allow for smaller groups to connect. There will also be some fun ice breaker events where participants will answer trivia questions or play Bingo games.
Q: The pandemic has made us all much better acquainted with virtual events than we were before, and they do have some advantages. Have you thought about continuing with periodic virtual events between the big annual meeting once things get back to normal?
Virtual events have certainly come a long way from the traditional pre-pandemic webinars and has forced us all to get creative with how to connect and network from a distance. It’s amazing that we have the technology now to continue to interact with colleagues, friends, and family members while sitting in the comfort of our homes (although our Zoom backgrounds may show us sitting on an island somewhere). One major advantage of the virtual Sneak Pique is that there is a greater opportunity to engage with those young professionals that live in outlying counties. We are looking forward to seeing some new faces and reaching a larger audience through the virtual meetings.
Q: Who can attend the Sneak Pique events? Do you need to be a member of a YP group?
We welcome anyone between the ages of 23 and 40 to join in Sneak Pique! You do not need to be a member of a young professional group to participate and we encourage you to spread the word to fellow YP coworkers and friends.
Developing a successful and fulfilling career takes years of intentionality and patience. The journey demands boldness, drive, and the faculty to find the joy in your day-to-day work. For better or worse, there’s no direct formula or pathway, but rather innumerable opportunities to advance yourself each step of the way.
An often overlooked resource when it comes to professional growth actually comes from outside the workplace. When looking for that next stepping stone in your career, consider getting involved within your community to take advantage of all of the professional and personal growth development options available. The Upstate is brimming with opportunities for personal growth that may be outside one’s normal work environment. Volunteering with local nonprofits is a great way to fulfill personal passions and goals, contributing to an overall sense of purpose and growth. Moreover, representing your company by serving on a nonprofit’s board can create networking opportunities and open doors to sharpen your leadership experience and public speaking.
Many also find that it’s helpful to surround themselves with like-minded individuals. Within your company, you may choose to find a mentor who can help you navigate your organization, as well as the ins and outs of the industry. As someone who has more experience than you, your mentor can help ensure you’re on the right trajectory, introduce opportunities for growth, and advocate on your behalf.
Others find that it’s helpful to speak with people closer to their own age. That’s one reason companies in the Upstate have recognized the benefits of young professionals groups, or community- or company-sponsored groups that allow for social engagement, professional development, and community involvement. These groups afford their members growth opportunities, allowing collaboration and creativity to flourish as each individual member is encouraged to contribute to the overall goal of the group. For example, Ten at the Top hosts an annual event called Pique that facilitates a gathering of Upstate young professional groups in order to “pique their interests for impacting our community and region.”
Not only do community engagement groups and mentorships like these allow you to strengthen your professional skills, but they provide a way to explore your interests. In doing so, you may discover passions or talents you weren’t aware of. They may inspire you to pursue an advancement you weren’t sure was right for you, or even to forgo a pay increase and move laterally within your company to develop a new skillset. In some cases, people may even switch industries in order to advance themselves and follow their passions. Regardless, exploring opportunities for growth requires a level of vulnerability and a leap of faith, but keep in mind that personal fulfillment should grow alongside professional advancement.
It’s also important to realize that not all companies have defined career paths, and in navigating yours, don’t wait for it to be outlined for you. Be clear with your managers about what you want, but don’t rush into a role just because the pay is greater or the title more “impressive.” Understand from your managers and mentors how they got to where they are, and meanwhile, become an expert in the job you have. If you fail to focus your energy in the right place, you may tarnish your reputation in your own role.
As you work to advance yourself, remember that your career isn’t just about the destination. Remain open to new possibilities and unexplored avenues, be bold in your dreams and your asks, and remember that the people most apt to help you are in your own backyard and workplace.
Ken Peterson is Senior Director of Human Resources at Greenville-based ScanSource, Inc. with 18 years of Human Resources experience and 12 years of Operations experience. He will be serving as a panelist at this year’s Pique young professional conference.
Jessica Miserendino is Import Manager at Duncan-based AFL and serves on the board of directors for Ten at the Top. She has also served as Professional Development committee chair for AFL’s Young Professionals group for the last 3 years.
Ten at the Top’s (TATT) signature young professional event, Pique, will be held on March 23rd at the Huguenot Mill and Loft in downtown Greenville, with ScanSource as the presenting sponsor. The keynote speaker will be Greenville author Sallie Holder, whose book, Hitting Rock Middle: The Roadmap from Empty Success to True Fulfillment, was released in January of this year.
A graduate of Vanderbilt University and the University of South Carolina Law School, Holder previously served as an attorney at Ogletree Deakins Law Firm and lives in Greenville. In addition to her recently released book, Sallie is a dynamic speaker who leaves audiences with the tools they need to make the changes they desire. She’s an expert on leadership, teams, change management, mindset, and motivation.
The material in the book comes from Holder’s own personal experience. After experiencing early success as a young attorney and other corporate positions—named a “Top Professional of the Year,” she had a six-figure income and enjoyed what society sees as a successful lifestyle—she coined the term “Hitting Rock Middle” to describe her feelings of dissatisfaction and emptiness.
Now an entrepreneur, business coach, and author, she has created a step-by-step plan to help others create a path to their greatest potential with true fulfillment and success. She shares that plan in her book, and she will speak to the young professionals at Pique about those themes. Holder’s books will be on sale at the event, and she will be available to sign the books.
“I am thrilled to have Sallie Holder on board as our keynote speaker for this year’s Pique conference,” said Virginia Cebe, a ScanSource employee, President of the ScanSource Charitable Foundation, and member of TATT’s Pique planning committee. “As a Greenville native, Sallie’s connection to the Upstate is strong. I truly believe that her primary message focused on ‘Hitting Rock Middle’ will empower the young professionals attending this conference to take their careers to new heights.”
Her speech will wrap up an afternoon event with panel sessions, executive roundtables, a LinkedIn Lounge where attendees can have a professional headshot made, and plenty of opportunity for networking for the Upstate’s young professionals.
Registration and networking begin at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, March 23rd, at Huguenot Mill and Loft (101 West Broad Street, Greenville, SC 29601), with the event beginning at 2:00 p.m. A networking reception will begin at approximately 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased here. For more information, visit the website or contact Sharon Purvis.
Ten at the Top hosted over 300 young professionals at the Greenville ONE Center on Monday for the fourth annual PIQUE: Young Leaders Elevating the Upstate, presented by ScanSource and emceed by WSPA-TV’s Jamarcus Gaston. From discussions about the spoken and unspoken generational differences in the workplace and the steps needed to take to moving up the career ladder, attendees were engaged, alert, and ready to ask their burning questions throughout the entire event. Following the wrap-up panel, young professionals enjoyed food and beverages thanks to Coffee Underground, Cribbs Catering, and Growler Haus as well as a live art demonstration by Clemson-based artist Peter Barry sponsored by the Melting Pot Music Society. (All photos courtesy of Bart Boatwright.)
WSPA-TV’s Jamarcus Gaston welcomes attendees to the 4th annual PIQUE.
Chunsta Miller, General Manager of the Anderson Mall, gave a presentation on Developing Executive Courage.
Young professionals had the chance to talk with executives from a variety of fields in the Executive Networking Roundtables.
Networking is a time for making new connections, but also finding a familiar face.
Sessions were engaging and interactive, with plenty of audience participation.
In a panel session on Moving up the Ladder, West Pelzer Mayor Blake Sanders (left), Leesa Owens, Director of Government and Community Relations at Michelin (center), and Dr. Jermaine Whirl, Vice President of Learning and Workforce Development at Greenville Tech (right) shared steps young professionals can make to prepare themselves for advancement.
GREENVILLE, S.C.– Ten at the Top’s (TATT) fourth annual PIQUE: Young Professionals Elevating the Upstate Summit, presented by ScanSource, is set to include many regional business leaders for its workshops and roundtables. This event focuses on the collaboration and connection of young professionals (ages 21-40) in the ten counties comprising the Upstate community.
“There are many dynamic young professionals as well as a number of young professional groups located here in the Upstate,” said Ten at the Top Executive Director Dean Hybl. “We started this event in 2016 as a way for young professionals from across our region to connect with each other and also with executives and community leaders who are engaged today in shaping the Upstate. The young professionals of today are the executives and decision-makers of tomorrow and PIQUE is a great annual opportunity for our young leaders to grow their engagement and connections around issues that are impacting the Upstate.”
Event workshops will feature the following:
Executive Networking Roundtables
Young leaders have a thirst for knowledge, advice, and mentorship. This workshop will feature an interactive session of roundtable networking. Established business and community leaders (executives) from all sectors, regardless of age, will be invited to lead a discussion about how they got where they are, how they found what they needed to successful and the barriers they have overcome to reach success. Due to the popularity of this workshop, it will be offered during both workshop sessions.
Carol Burdette, CEO, United Way of Anderson County
Karen Burgess, Campus President, ECPI University
Tracey Boucher, Vice President, Supplier Service Networking & Security, ScanSource
Val Carolin, President & CEO, Salem Media Group
Chris Corley, Owner, Corley Plumbing Air & Electric
Roy Costner, Chairman, Pickens County Council
David Feild, Market President, Colliers International
Danielle Gibbs, Regional Director, U.S. Senator Tim Scott
Angelle LaBorde, President & CEO, Greenwood SC Chamber of Commerce
Hank McCullough, Senior Manager of Government Relations, Piedmont Natural Gas Company
Mark McKinney, General Manager, Cintas Corporation
Ken Peterson, Senior Director Human Resources, ScanSource
Laurie Rovin, Executive Director, A Child’s Haven
Allen Smith, President & CEO, Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce
Walker Smith, Director, Advocacy & Community Relations, Bon Secours St. Francis Health System
Paige Stephenson, President & CEO, United Way of the Piedmont
Brian Ziegelheafer, Executive Director, BGEN
Developing Executive Courage Most young leaders aspire to reach the executive level within their careers, which takes courage and resilience along the way. In this workshop, Chunsta Miller, General Manager of the Anderson Mall, will share her 20 years of retail experience and journey to becoming an executive. Miller will discuss the challenges and opportunities she has dealt with at her current position and how she stays courageous when faced with tough decisions.
Lions, Tigers, Millennials – Oh My! A panel consisted of a Baby Boomer (1944-1964), a Gen-Xer (1965-1979), and a Millennial (1980-1994) will be discussing the spoken and unspoken generational differences in the workplace. This group of professionals will focus on sharing the positives and negatives of working alongside other generations with the goal of learning that people may be more alike than they realize.
Speakers are set to include:
Daja Dial, Marketing and Communications Manager, Oconee Economic Alliance
Stacey Flax, Senior Strategic Communications Coordinator, Renewable Water Resources (Re-Wa)
Barry Nocks, PhD, FAICP, Graduate Professor in City & Regional Planning, Clemson University
Moderator: Alex Moore, Director of Marketing and Communications, United Way of the Piedmont
Moving up the Ladder Young professionals constantly think about the “next step,” whether that be a promotion, pay increase or increase of responsibility within the workplace. There is no right or wrong way to move up the career ladder, but steps can be taken to be ready for that next big opportunity. This panel will address the steps young professionals can take to prepare for moving up the ladder and flourishing within positions of higher leadership.
Speakers are set to include:
Leesa Owens, Director of Government and Community Relations, Michelin North America
Blake Sanders, Planning & Projects Manager City of Easley/Mayor of West Pelzer
Jermaine Whirl, Vice President of Learning and Workforce Development, Greenville Tech
Moderator: Todd Horne, VP of Business Development, Clayton Construction
Reading Between the Lines: Creating a Positive Conversation Within the Workplace Creating a culture of open and positive communication is a priority for employers. Miscommunication between bosses, peers, and subordinates can often be stressful for all parties involved and detrimental to overall productivity. This panel seeks to address communication challenges that often arise in the workplace and give tips on how all parties can work together to create a positive open dialogue.
Speakers are set to include:
Chris Corley, Owner, Corley Plumbing Air and Electric
Madison Skinner, Human Resources Manager, ScanSource
Sharon Wilson, Director of Conscious Leadership Development in the Academy of Leadership and Professional Development, Prisma Health–Upstate
Moderator:Chad Lawson, Communications Manager, Spartanburg Water
“Young professionals are entering the workplace looking for a culture of growth and development, volunteerism, collaboration, and inclusion,” said John Harvey, Vice President of Worldwide Human Resources at ScanSource. “Companies throughout the Upstate share these values, and through events like PIQUE, employees and regional leaders alike have an opportunity to come together from across county lines, learn about what’s working for neighboring organizations, and create a dialogue around how we can continue to make the Upstate such a great place to live and work.”
Attendees will have the opportunity to choose their personal agenda between multiple workshops as well as coordinated networking opportunities to meet with an executive in their respective industry or interest area to discuss relevant insights and the attendee’s professional goals. PIQUE tickets cost $25 and may be purchased here. Advanced registration is required, and space is limited.
The 2019 PIQUE Young Professionals Summit will be on Monday, March 25 from 1:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. at the Greenville ONE Center with a networking reception to follow, featuring live art demonstrations from various Upstate art professionals.
About Ten at the Top Comprised of public, private and civic leaders from across the ten-county Upstate South Carolina Region, Ten at the Top was created to connect and encourage regional collaboration through data-driven research and regular convening of leaders and citizens to address key issues facing the region. Ten at the Top works with regional partners to foster collaboration and strategic planning to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life for Upstate residents both today and as the region continues to grow. For more information, visit www.tenatthetop.org.