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.