An Annual Upstate Young Professional Conference

2019 PIQUE

March 25, 2019

The Greenville One Center

Click Here to Register!



pique: stimulate (interest or curiosity)
Join other young professionals from across the Upstate as we pique your interest for impacting our community and region.

The ten counties of the Upstate including Abbeville, Anderson, Cherokee, Greenville, Greenwood, Laurens, Oconee, Pickens, Spartanburg, and Union counties is home to numerous young professionals. The millennial generation (ages 21-39) is quickly surpassing the Baby-Boomer generation and they will soon be our region’s leaders.

For this reason, Ten at the Top realized the importance of creating an opportunity for young professionals to connect with other young professionals from across the Upstate, meet Upstate business and community leaders, and provide valuable personal and professional development opportunities. To this end, Ten at the Top began hosting an annual regional young leaders event called the PIQUE with a goal of bringing together existing young professional groups from across the Upstate.

Ten at the Top is a nonprofit that promotes regional collaboration to improve quality of life and economic vitality in the Upstate of South Carolina.

Approximately 200-300 young leaders from across the ten counties of the Upstate are expected to attend. Ten at the Top board members and executives representing Upstate businesses and organizations will also be in attendance.


Our 2019 Planning Committee has been working hard to make this event a success!

Rebecca Albert, Anderson University

Christina Auckland, Denny’s

Rachel Baker, Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System

Evan Carr, EC Media

Virginia Cebe, Scansource

Laura Cox, Anderson County Economic Development

Michael McCarthy, Greenwood County Indicators Project

Elizabeth Miller, SYNNEX Corp.

Christopher Nicholas, Ethan Rivers, LLC

Leigh Ann Puryear, Duke Energy

Britton Rodgers, Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce

Sam Sloan, USC Upstate

Mary Pat Smith, Anderson United Way

Tiffany Tate, Upstate SC Alliance

2019 Schedule of Events

1:00 PM Registration & Networking

2:00 PM: Event Kick Off with Jamarcus Gaston! 

2:25 – 3:20 PM: Workshops – Session One (Attendees Choose One to Attend)

Executive Networking Roundtables

Developing Executive Courage

Lions, Tigers, Millenials.. Oh My!

3:35 – 4:25 PM: Workshops -Session Two (Attendees Choose One to Attend)

Executive Networking Roundtables

Moving up the Ladder

Reading Between the Lines

4:25 PM: Wrap-up Panel

Sponsored by the Upstate SC Alliance (More Information Coming Soon)

5:10 PM: Networking Reception

Executive Networking Roundtables (Repeated)

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

Developing Executive Courage

Many of us aspire to reach the executive level within our careers. What they don’t tell you is that it takes a lot of courage and resilience along the way. In this session, you will hear from Chunsta Miller, General Manager of the Anderson. You will hear about her 20 + years of retail experience and journey to executive. She will discuss the challenges and opportunities that have risen since becoming the Manager of the Anderson Mall and how she stays courageous when faced with tough decisions.

Speaker: Chunsta Miller, General Manager, Anderson Mall

Lions, Tigers, Millennials – Oh My!

We read about it, we think about it, now let’s talk about it.

A panel of professionals ready to discuss the spoken and unspoken generational differences in the workplace. The panel will consist of a Baby Boomer (1944-1964), a Gen-Xer (1965-1979), and a Millennial (1980-1994). This panel will focus on sharing the positives and negatives of working alongside other generations with the goal of learning that we may be more alike than realize. We can all work better together after understanding more about what motivates each of us to be successful.

Moderator: Alex Moore, Director of Marketing and Communications, United Way of the Piedmont


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

Moving up the Ladder

As a young professional, you might always be thinking about the “next step” whether that be a promotion, pay increase or increase of responsibility within the workplace. There is not right or wrong way to move up the ladder within your career, but there are steps that can be taken to distinguish yourself and be ready for that next big opportunity that comes your way. This panel will address some of those steps that can be taken to prepare for moving up the ladder and flourishing within positions of higher leadership.

Moderator: Todd Horne, VP of Business Development, Clayton Construction 


Blake Sanders, Planning & Projects Manager City of Easley/Mayor of West Pelzer

Leesa Owens, Director of Government and Community Relations, Michelin

Dr. Jermaine Whirl, Vice President of Learning and Workforce Development, Greenville Tech

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 very stressful for all parties involved and be detrimental to overall productivity. This panel seeks to address communication challenges that often arise in workplace environments and give tips on how all parties can work together to create a positive open dialogue within the workplace.

Moderator: Chad Lawson, Communications Manager, Spartanburg Water


Chris Corley, Owner, Corley Plumbing Air and Electric

Madison Skinner, Human Resources Manager, ScanSource

George Shira, VP of Human Resources Chemical Division, Milliken & Company


Chris Corley, Corley Plumbing Air Electric, Inc.

A helpful and concerned father-in-law offered Chris Corley this advice, “Learn a trade and you’ll never be without a job.” Following up on that advice, Chris applied, and was selected for, a plumbing apprenticeship with the Oklahoma City Plumbers union. “It was one of the best life decisions I’ve made,” says Chris.  The Corley family eventually relocated to Greenville and Chris went to work for his in-law’s family plumbing company.

In 1986, with an investment from his father, Chris decided to start his own company and won a bid to install the plumbing and HVAC system for a large tenant at Haywood Mall. Over the next few years, Chris was motivated by providing for his wife and 4 children, who as he says, “put a strong emphasis on having a roof over their head and expected to eat every day.” No job was ever turned down, and at one point, he was working full time during the day on one project and completing another in the middle of the night. Every time he wanted to throw in the towel, someone came along to offer work.

In the early 90s, Chris recognized that a successful business model wasn’t going to be possible unless he narrowed his focus and specialized in one area. After hard decisions and the only layoffs in the history of the company, Corley Professional Services set out to become the preferred residential home services company of the Upstate. In the late 90’s, an electrical division was added, then in 2010 a heating and air division. Today Corley Plumbing Air Electric, Inc. is a thriving family owned small business that serves residents of Greenville and Spartanburg counties.   

Chris Corley has run his company by emphasizing that, “We will always do the right thing, even if it hurts.” His visionary approach to challenging the way things are being done helps to push his company to new levels. Ask any of the sixty-eight employees of the company and they’ll tell you that Chris is a man who sets the tone for a culture that is driven by the company’s four core values of character, excellence, unselfishness, and engagement.  


Daja Dial, Oconee Economic Alliance

Daja Dial is a native of Spartanburg, SC, and a graduate of Clemson University. The former Clemson Cheerleader and Miss Clemson University, currently works for the Oconee Economic Alliance as the Marketing and Communications Manager. In 2015, Daja was crowned Miss South Carolina and competed for the title of Miss America where she was a preliminary swimsuit winner, a STEM award finalist, and a top 7 finalist for the title of Miss America. In her current role, Daja is responsible for the management of the overall marketing and communication strategy as well as investor relations for the Oconee Economic Alliance. Since joining the OEA team nearly two years ago, Daja has been key to expanding the Think Oconee brand and strengthening its presence throughout North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. In her spare time, Daja is in the gym and on the radio waves as Daja owns a studio gym in Clemson, SC with her fiancé CJ Davidson and is also a co-host of the Tiger Tailgate Show, a pregame radio show for Clemson Football on the Clemson Tigers Network.



Todd Horne, Clayton Construction Company

Todd Horne is the Vice President of business development at Clayton Construction Company, Inc. where he identifies and develops relationships with industry professionals to generate new business opportunities. Clayton Construction is a commercial construction company that specializes in turn-key construction projects in the Southeast.

Horne was hired in 2008 to expand the company’s focus by seeking out clients in the private sector: retail groups, large industrial enterprises, health care and churches. Clayton Construction has been named one of the fastest-growing in the state, with 42 employees and record revenues of $73 million in 2018 – up from about $8 million when Horne joined the team.

In addition to his role with the construction company, Horne took a leadership role with the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce in 2016. Working alongside Chamber President Allen Smith, put a youthful spin on leadership in Spartanburg, and showed potential residents and businesses that Spartanburg is a city on the rise. Serving as chair of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce afforded Horne the opportunity to work with and recruit a variety of businesses to the Spartanburg community.

When the Upstate Business Journal sought nominations for its 2016 Who’s Who, which recognizes people and organizations that make an economic impact on the Upstate and go above and beyond their professional roles, Horne was an obvious candidate. Candidates are evaluated on 2015 accomplishments, overall resume, and ways in which they go above and beyond their professional roles. A top scorer in the competition, Horne advanced to the Wild Card Category that launched a social media campaign to determine the winner. Of the seven business leaders of the 2016 Class of Who’s Who, Horne was named winner of the Who’s Who Wild Card.

Horne is actively involved with the Spartanburg West Rotary, United Way, Ten at the Top, and the USC Upstate Alumni Association. Horne has received numerous awards including Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year, Leadership Spartanburg Emerging Leader Award, Leadership Spartanburg Alumni Association’s Alumnus of the Year, Young Professional of the Year, and in 2016 was recognized as the Distinguished Alumni of the Year for the University of South Carolina Upstate.

Born in Columbia and raised in Greenville, Horne attended the University of South Carolina Upstate where he met his wife, Stephanie and earned a bachelor’s degree in communications. The Hornes have been married for 10 years and have two children, Holton (4) and Harper (6).

Chunsta Miller, Washington Prime Group

Chunsta Miller was recently named General Manager of Anderson Mall/Mall of Georgia Crossing.  Miller has over 20 years of retail experience. Previous to her roles as General Manager, she served as Store Manager of Belk from 1997-2018.  Where she has managed in several stores throughout Belk including Greenwood SC, Laurens SC, Greenville SC, Charlotte NC, Spartanburg SC, and Waco TX.

Miller serves on several boards including United Way, Chamber of Commerce, Friends of Healthy Learners, Greenville Women’s Leadership Network, Museum and Railroad Historic Board, Student improvement Council and Greenwood Women’s Leadership Council. Miller was the recipient of the 2016 Under 40 Stars Award, 2017 Go Girl Award and in 2017 Awarded Pacesetter Store of the Year. She is a graduate of Leadership Greenwood Class of 2016.

 Miller was recently named Best of Belk 2018 for her community engagement.  Miller received her BS from Converse College in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. In her spare time she enjoys hosting events, motivational speaking, serving on parent teacher organization board, working with the Women’s Ministry at her church, and spending time with her husband James and 3 children James Jr., Christopher, and Madison. 


Alex Moore, United Way of the Piedmont

Alex Moore is the Director of Marketing and Communications for United Way of the Piedmont, overseeing the day to day and long term strategic marketing of the organization. She develops innovative ways to communicate the important work of nonprofits to the Upstate community. Alex is also a small business consultant, helping local micro-businesses and entrepreneurs grow their passions through marketing. Alex has been in the nonprofit sector for most of her career, and has also worked in business development for a Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), in addition to helping establish a Community Development Credit Union. Alex is passionate about helping others have “aha!” moments, when they can discover something new or think of something in a new way. 





Barry Nocks, PhD, FAICP

Barry Nocks has over 40 years of experience as a practicing planner, educator, administrator, consultant and citizen planner.  He is professor emeritus in the Graduate Program in City & Regional Planning at Clemson University, having previously served as professor, Director of the MCRP program, Associate Dean for Research & Outreach of the College of AAH since 1979. Dr. Nocks has taught graduate courses in planning theory and process, quantitative methods, social and health planning, local planning administration, planning practice, studio and negotiation.

He has served on the Planning Accreditation Board, the organization that accredits professional planning programs in the US, as well as the Board of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning.  He has also served on the SCAPA executive committee and several APA and AICP committees.  In Greenville, he has served on the City Planning Commission, the City’s Design Review Board and has been active in regional efforts in the Upstate since 2006, currently serving on the TATT Board of Directors.  He has also been engaged as a consultant and volunteer with a variety of public and private organizations in the Carolinas and throughout the country.


Leesa Owens, Michelin North America, Inc.

Leesa Owens has served as the Director of Community Relations for Michelin since 2014.  In this role, Mrs. Owens encourages employee involvement in local community actions where Michelin can have the greatest impact, in the areas of education, environment and community enhancement.  June of 2017 Mrs. Owens expanded her responsibility to include state and local government affairs. 

Prior to joining Michelin’s Communication and Brands team, Mrs. Owens has 17 years of experience in human resource roles. In Mrs. Owens most recent human resource position she was responsible for Michelin’s leadership development programs aimed at accelerating the potential of future leaders. She also directed the company’s mentoring program, providing direction, coordination and training to encourage positive relationships between mentors and mentees within the Company.

Mrs. Owens started her Michelin career with Tire Centers, LLC (TCi) in 2006 as the Senior Regional Human Resources Manager.  In addition, held the Director of Career Management position.  She also has served as a Human Resources Manager and Director of Recruitment and Retention for Finlay Enterprises and Human Resources Manager for contingent workforce at Whirlpool, Inc.

Mrs. Owens is a graduate of Boise State University and has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis on human resources. She also completed her master’s degree in organizational leadership from Sienna Heights University.

Mrs. Owens has held leadership positions on various public and private boards and associations, including among others, the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, Public Education Partners, Harvest Hope, 2017 United Way Campaign Cabinet, United Way of Greenville County Women’s Leadership, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, South Carolina Tires Association, Pelham Green Association, and Upstate STEM Collaborative. Leesa is married to Marty Owens and together they have a combined family of three children:  Lyric (22), Garrett (21) and Abby (16). 


Blake Sanders – City of Easley & Town of West Pelzer

Blake is the Planning and Projects Manager for the City of Easley’s newly created Planning Department.  He is a Clemson graduate in Landscape Architect (2006).  Prior to joining the City of Easley, Blake worked on streetscapes, greenways, parks, and downtown master plans across the US.  In Easley he has worked on the Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, the Doodle Trail, Citywide Parks and Recreation Master Plan, Doodle Park, among many others.  Blake is also the Mayor of the Town of West Pelzer, located in Anderson County.  Blake and his wife (Ashley) enjoy spending time doing anything outdoors with their children (Lane-10, Gracie-6).



Madison Skinner,  ScanSource

Madison Skinner has worked at ScanSource for more than seven years, and has been Human Resources Manager for the last three years.  In her role, Madison is responsible for growing ScanSource brand recognition at colleges and universities across the US. She works to build good relationships through in-class presentations and recruiting events centered on the Company’s core values, in hopes of recruiting the most talented young professionals for both full-time employment and internships at ScanSource.

A proud graduate of Clemson University—where she earned a B.S. degree in Management—Madison enjoys spending time with her family, including her husband and two small children. 




Dr. Jermaine Whirl, Greenville Technical College

Dr. Jermaine Whirl is the Vice President of Learning and Workforce Development at Greenville Technical College. In his role he serves as the Chief Academic, Continuing Education, and Economic Development Officer of the college and is responsible for all credit and non-credit instruction, policy making, compliance, and development activities. He also serves as the official economic development liaison to the Greenville Area Development Corporation and the SC Department of Commerce. His areas of supervision include the following academic schools and support areas of the college: School of Business and Technology, School of Health Sciences, School of Arts & Sciences, School of Academic Advancement & Support, School of Education and Professional Studies, and Economic Development & Corporate Training Division.

With the college since October 2016, Whirl previously served as vice president of Economic Development and Corporate Training.  A Charleston, South Carolina native, he earned his associates of arts degree at Trident Technical College, a bachelor’s degree in economics at Winthrop University, a master’s degree in economics/finance at Charleston Southern University, a second master’s degree in adult education & human resource development at Georgia Southern University, and a doctorate in organizational leadership at Valdosta State University.

Whirl came to GTC from Gwinnett Technical College in Georgia where he served for two years as dean of the School of Business and the School of Art & Design. Academically, he’s served as a dean of adult education, dean of academic affairs, visiting professor of business, and instructor of business economics.


Check back…more speaker info coming soon! 

Executive Networking Roundtables

For many young leaders who want to make an impact on their local community, one major barrier is having access to current decision makers who are helping shape the region. For this reason, we are asking executives of any age to participate in the PIQUE to network, answer questions and make connections with future leaders of the Upstate. 

 2019 PIQUE Executives:

Carol Burdette, CEO, United Way of Anderson County

Val Carolin, President/CEO, Salem Media Group

Danielle Gibbs, Regional Director, U.S. Senator Tim Scott

Hank McCullough, Senior Manager of Government Relations, Piedmont Natural Gas Company

Paige Stephenson, President/CEO, United Way of the Piedmont

More executives coming soon!

Why should you consider sponsoring #thePIQUE19?

Our past sponsors were able to support a great event while gaining exposure to a large audience of motivated young leaders. We have sponsorship packages that fit everyone’s budget and need your help to put on a great event.

Do I have to be a member of one of the partner organizations to attend?

No, we welcome anyone that is interested in attending.

I represent a young professional organization. How do I sign on as a partner organization?

Please email Adelyn Nottingham ( for information about becoming a partner organization. Becoming a partner organization will allow your members to select your group in the registration process, allowing you to receive $5 of each ticket sold to one of your members. It’s an easy process to sign on, so what are you waiting for?!

How do I make sure my young professional group gets their $5 kickback?

When you register, select the name of your YP group. We’ll do all the other work behind the scenes.

What if my YP group isn’t listed?

If you don’t see your YP group listed, then they haven’t signed on as a partner organization. Let us know they’re missing so we can get them signed on for next year.

Where do I register?

By clicking here! 

Who can attend the event?

Anyone! You don’t need to be part of a young professional group to attend. Not sure if you’re considered a young professional? No worries, we still look forward to seeing you there.

Didn’t see the answer to your question here?

Just email Adelyn. She’s happy to answer any questions you have.

Adelyn Nottingham – Program Manager
Office Phone: 864-283-2313

Presenting Sponsor

Event Wrap-up Panel Sponsor

Executive Networking Roundtable Sponsor

Reception Sponsor

Workshop Sponsors

Leadership Maker Sponsors

Lanyard Sponsors

Sustainable Supporters

Catering Sponsor

Beverage Sponsor


Partner Young Professional Groups

150 Executive Center,  #202
Greenville, SC 29615
PHONE: (864) 283-0345