An Annual Upstate Young Professional Conference

    October 15, 2024

    PIQUE, Ten at the Top’s signature event for young professionals, will be held on Monday, October 15, 2024 at Hyatt Regency in Greenville. The event focuses on connecting young professionals across the Upstate, giving them opportunities to network and hear from experts on topics that are relevant to their working lives.

    In this 9th year of PIQUE, the program will feature three breakout panel sessions and executive roundtables, a LinkedIn Lounge, a keynote speaker, and a networking reception. There will be plenty of opportunities for getting to know each other, sharing ideas, and developing future collaborations.

    For information on becoming a sponsor of PIQUE, please contact Justine Allen at jallen@tenatthetop.org.


    Tuesday, October 15

    1:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
    Reception 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.

    Hyatt Regency

    220 North Main St, Greenville SC

    1:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. • Check In & Networking

    1:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. •LinkedIn Lounge head shots & expo area – Atrium

    1:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m. • Welcome from Milliken & USC Upstate

    Session One

    2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. • Workshops – (Attendees Choose One to Attend)

    Executive Networking Roundtables – Innovation Gallery

    From Idea to Enterprise: Unleashing Entrepreneurial Potential – Kingsley

    Igniting the Entertainment Industry’s Growth in the Upstate – Colosseum

    Session Two

    2:55 p.m. – 3:40 p.m. • Workshops – (Attendees Choose One to Attend)

    Executive Networking Roundtables – Innovation Gallery

    Intergenerational Communications: A Conversation with The YoProKnow’s Kamber Parker – Forum

    From Idea to Enterprise: Unleashing Entrepreneurial Potential – Kingsley

    Session Three

    3:50 p.m. – 4:35 p.m. • Workshops – (Attendees Choose One to Attend)

    Executive Networking Roundtables – Innovation Gallery

    Intergenerational Communications: A Conversation with The YoProKnow’s Kamber Parker – Forum

    Igniting the Entertainment Industry’s Growth in the Upstate – Colosseum

    4:45 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. • Keynote Speaker • Bea Wray | “Using the Power of Vision to Transform Challenges into Triumphs” – Atrium

    5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. • Networking Reception  – Atrium

    Keynote Speaker, Bea Wray!

    Bea Wray
    Author – Keynote Speaker
    Bea Wray has dazzled audiences for 20 years speaking about entrepreneurship,
    leadership, and women in business. She is the author of Barnes and Noble bestseller What
    an MBA Taught Me … But My Kids Made Me Learn . Bea is a Convene Chair hosting CEO
    roundtables enabling business owners to lead more profitable and impactful companies.
    Bea is the Charleston Southern University Hans A. Nielsen College of Business’s
    Entrepreneurship Instructor. She has launched several high-tech and non-tech companies.
    One exit afforded Bea 6 years off on a resort bridgeless island where she dedicated her
    time to raising her three children. Bea serves as a founder, mentor, investor, and board
    member to several companies. She has also served as the Executive Director of the
    entrepreneurial non-profit The Creative Coast and was the Chair of the ForbesBooks
    Entrepreneurship Practice Group. She holds an MBA with Distinction from Harvard
    Business School and graduated Summa Cum Laude from Emory University. Bea enjoys
    outdoor activities with her husband, children, and grandchildren in Charleston, South

    Speaking Engagements include:
    SCRA Summit ConvergeSouth
    Geekend DigSouth
    Mayor’s Business Roundtable Startup Weekend
    Women in AutoCare One Million Cups
    Women in Consumer Finance FastStart Business Plan
    Rhodos Learning University of South Carolina Elysian Magazine
    TEDxSavannah Emcee TEDx Hilton Head Emcee
    TEDx Hilton Head Speaker & Emcee Ohio State Bar Association
    McNair Innovation Summit Women Presidents Assoc.
    National Consumer Reporting Assoc. Conference Vistage
    Leading Business Women Microsoft

    Bea’s favorite introduction focused not on her successes, but on her failures saying:
    “Bea attempted to lead an innovation center but was not selected for the final round of
    interviews. Bea played a significant role in launching four startup companies. One had a successful
    exit; the others suffered painful, long deaths. Bea received a 13 percent on her university biology
    dissection exam and later flunked German Class. Bea secured no roles through numerous
    musical auditions. We are delighted to welcome Bea Wray on Iterative Innovation and Cultural

    Your chance to have one-on-one time with Upstate leaders! 

    List of participants coming soon!

    Dive into the world of entrepreneurship and learn how to turn your innovative ideas into thriving businesses. Our panelists, who have successfully launched and scaled their ventures, will discuss ideation, market analysis, business planning, fundraising, and overcoming challenges along the entrepreneurial journey.


    Peyton Hoppes

    Peyton resides in Spartanburg with his wife, Lysney, and their two young children, Whitely (3) and Wilkes (1), in the community he calls home. His engagement extends to various boards – serving as Secretary for Project R.E.S.T and as the Social Chair for Spartan West Rotary Club. Peyton and his wife are actively dedicated to their local church, Hope Point, and are involved in several local ministries.

    Driven by a fervent commitment to empower independent business owners and self-employed professionals, Peyton specializes in offering comprehensive financial solutions to drive their aspirations. Through a targeted approach encompassing financial planning, tax optimization, and business expansion strategies, he assists clients in refining both personal and business financial pathways for sustainable success.




    John Bauknight, IV

    Senior Associate

    NAI Earle Furman

    John is President and Co-founder of Longleaf Holdings USA, a Spartanburg-based investment firm that started and sold several business ventures including Shred First, LLC, Total Records and Information Management, LLC, Total Training Services, LLC, and Total Storage Services, LLC.

    Additionally, they still operate Longleaf Holdings, LLC, a commercial real estate and development firm that has also taken a minority position in several start-up businesses, the most recognized being Southern Tide.

    In 2007, John and Nick (his longtime Partner in Longleaf} acquired RJ Rockers Brewing Co of Spartanburg. Bauknight along with founder and Brewmaster Mark Johnsen relocated the Brewery back to downtown Spartanburg in 2009.

    Bauknight continues to be heavily involved in Spartanburg County’s entrepreneurial community, including helping to launch the Spartanburg Angel Network in 2015.


    Christopher “CeeJ” Jefferson


    Oak and Ave Property Group

    As an entrepreneur CeeJ was named “Spartanburg Young Professionals” 2019 young professional of the year. After winning the inaugural StartMe competition for business start ups in 2016, he is now a real estate developer/realtor and CEO of Oak & Ave Property Group. A one stop service for preparing buyers for home purchase, home sells, new builds, and renovations. Oak & Ave is one of the fastest growing real estate firms in the Upstate currently servicing over 200 clients. In the past two years Oak & Ave has built over 15 affordable housing units within The City Of Spartanburg.


    Molly Cashman

    Owner, Co-Owner

    Blue Moon Bodega, Blue Moon Specialty Foods

    Molly Cashman is the Owner of Blue Moon Bodega, and is a co-owner of Blue Moon Specialty Foods where she partners with her Dad.

    While he was growing the business at farmers markets and local events, Molly was cutting her teeth in the corporate marketing world. She spent a decade working for top notch companies, including Amazon.com, Wyche Law Firm and Pure Barre – learning everything she could about marketing, business development, finance, customer service and more.  After years of being her Dad’s cheerleader from the sidelines, Molly decided it was time to leave the corporate world and take the leap into the entrepreneurship with her Dad. They opened a gourmet food market and restaurant in Spartanburg called Blue Moon Specialty Foods featuring Yep! Shake along with many of her Dad’s other famous recipes. They hired an all-star team of chefs and bakers and stay busy serving breakfast and lunch to their regulars, catering and hosting events for local Spartanburg businesses, delivering food to other retailers around the southeast, and preparing food with love for people near and far. They recently expanded their operation with a new larger commercial production kitchen and warehouse, along with a second retail location called the Blue Moon Bodega.

    Molly is the proud wife to her better half, Jeff Cashman, and a busy mom of three kids, two springer spaniels, and a cat.


    Joseph McMillin


    Joseph McMillin was a co-founder and the former CEO of Atlas Organics, an organic waste recycling company based in Spartanburg, SC. While at Atlas Joseph helped grow the company through both organic growth and acquisitions to manage over 500,000 tons per year of organic waste, turning it into compost and other landscape supplies.  Under his leadership Atlas grew to one of the largest organics recycling companies in the United States with over 225 employees and 14 facilities spanning coast to coast. Atlas deployed over $100MM into organics recycling infrastructure to help municipalities, business, and communities hit their sustainability initiatives. Joseph is a native to Spartanburg and a 2013 graduate of Wofford College. 




    The Upstate is positioned to become a vibrant hub for creativity, talent, and economic growth in the entertainment industry. How can the Upstate leverage it’s unique assets to create a thriving entertainment sector and how can we attract investment and encourage collaboration between local businesses and entertainment ventures? What about cultivating a skilled and diverse workforce to work in the business?

    President and CEO of the Urban League of the Upstate, and driving force in these efforts, Dr. Gail Awan, will explore strategies to attract and nurture creative talent, and foster a supportive entertainment ecosystem with a panel of experts in the “business.”



    Dr. Gail Awan

    CEO, President

    Urban League of the Upstate

    Dr. Gail Awan began her tenure as President/CEO of the Urban League of the Upstate in September 2021. The Urban League of the Upstate mission is to empower the African American community and other underserved individuals throughout the region. An affiliate of the National Urban League, the organization, has served in the upstate for over 50 years. The National Urban League, a nonpartisan, historic civil rights organization established in 1910, has addressed essential issues such as education, income, jobs, health, housing, and quality of life.

    The ULUS provides direct programs and services in Pickens, Anderson, Greenville, Spartanburg, and Union Counties.

    With a doctorate in Management and Decision Science, Awan has dedicated her life to serving the underrepresented. She has worked with various organizations, including ten years leading AmeriCorps’ City Year program in Columbia. Since beginning her tenure at ULUS, Awan has participated in leadership programs, including The Riley Institute’s Diversity Leaders Initiative, Prisma Health’s Medical Scholars, and Leadership Spartanburg. She also serves as the Vice Chair of the SC New Play Festival and REEM Greenville Board of Directors. She currently resides with her family in Spartanburg.



    Will Stewart

    Pronk Studios


    Will Stewart began his film career as a Director of Photography studying under American Society of Cinematographers member Shane Hurlbut. He moved on to create 9/8 Central, a rapidly growing video production company in the Upstate of South Carolina, filming for national brands like Kenmore, Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, John Deere, Michelin, Samsung, LG, and Ryobi, among others.


    In 2021, he earned an EMMY through his work on “Clemson’s Greatest Games,” a 12-part docuseries about the most exciting games in Clemson football history.


    In 2022, he launched Pronk Studios which brings Hollywood-level technology to the Upstate, housing Spartanburg and Greenville’s first virtual production LED wall.


    He lives in the Upstate with his wife and two daughters.


    David Estrada


    David Estrada is the Global Executive Producer at Cargo Studios. He leads a team of filmmakers with an extensive background as a director, producer, journalist, editor, photographer, and videographer in the advertising and film industries. His work ranges from TV journalism, motion picture & network TV development, owning and managing a production company, and 10 years of agency experience. His journalistic style is to get back to the root of the issue and find a narrative arc – even when the purpose is to sell a product. He aims to drive viewers to empathize and be motivated to action when watching his films. He doesn’t identify as a storyteller, but as a professional listener.



    Marty Elliott

    Marty has worked in Sports and Entertainment for more than 28 years operating stadiums, arenas, theaters and festivals.

    She is currently buying talent for a 13,000 seat Amphitheater and preparing for the ground-breaking of an exciting new 1,700 capacity music venue, TRUELINE,  where she will serve as booking manager and talent buyer for the state-of-the art music venue coming in the heart of downtown Greenville in 2024.



    Destiny Macon

    Hush Girl Productions

    In 2014, Destiny graduated from the University of South Carolina with a bachelor’s degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering. After working in construction project management for three and a half years, Destiny realized that her true passion was filmmaking. She set out to hone her craft of writing and directing by completing the Wide Angle Program (hosted by producer Effie Brown) and obtaining a screenwriting certificate from UCLA. In 2020, she launched Hush Girl Productions, LLC, which offers freelance screenwriting and copywriting services to filmmakers as well as media companies. She received a ~$30,000 grant from the South Carolina Film Commission’s Indie Grants program to fully fund her short film, TALK BLACK, which was selected as a finalist in the HBO Short Film Award Showcase and is now streaming on HBO Max. Destiny is currently in development on the feature length version of TALK BLACK, an afro-futuristic sex comedy, BOY TOY, as well as a psychological thriller, BURN HOUSE, that she co-wrote with multi-hyphenate collaborator – Sh’kia.



    Billy Dunlap

    One Spartanburg, Inc.

    Billy Dunlap is the Chief Tourism Development Officer at OneSpartanburg, Inc. and has served in that role since July 2022. Prior to joining OneSpartanburg, Billy was the President/CEO of Visit York County in Rock Hill. He served in that position for four years, leading the tourism efforts in York County.

    Billy owned and operated Dunlap Media, LLC for 15 years, a digital media and marketing company in the Upstate of SC. In his spare time, Billy has officiated NCAA Division I men’s basketball for 28 years, working in the SEC, Southern Conference and many other conferences around the Southeast.





    There are five working generations in the workplace right now! Learning why generations act based on their behaviors and upbringing gives YPs an advantage in industry and business culture. This custom workshop will help the young professional audience sharpen their own communication tools to create a positive shift in company culture, and create a safe place for conversations about developing as future leaders.


    Julia Levi

    Habitat for Humanity Greenville

    Julia currently serves as the Major Gifts Officer at Habitat for Humanity of Greenville County. With over a decade of experience in the nonprofit space, she has a passion to tell compelling stories that empower people to support and invest in causes that change lives.

    She holds a Master’s Degree in Transformational Leadership from Bethel Seminary and earned her undergraduate degree at Winthrop University.


    Julia is a South Carolina native who spent nine years in Southern California working as a Development professional and lecturer in Non-profit management. She also serves on a ministry team that serves people from many walks of life and in many different contexts to advance the Gospel. She is passionate about equipping people to achieve their goals and telling stories of how they can help change the world!


    Kamber Parker

    Young Professional Expert and Founder of The YoProKnow

    Voted as Young Professional of the Year for the Greenville Chamber in 2021, Small Business of the Year in 2022, and recently awarded the SC Women In Business Award, speaker and consultant Kamber Parker started her company The YoPro Know in 2018, a platform designed to be the bridge between ambitious young professionals and the companies that wish to hire them and most importantly, retain them. Kamber has spent the last 5 years interviewing thousands of young professionals identifying their key struggles, successes, and ultimately, ways to make them more successful in the workplace. Her business offers consulting services for companies looking to increase young professional recruitment, retention, and engagement, and she is passionate about supporting workforce development efforts.


    PIQUE Committee 

    Revis Butler – Proterra, Urban League of the Upstate

    Giovanni Calise – Anderson University

    Evan Carr – EC Media

    Jonathan Cauthen – Anderson County Chamber of Commerce

    Rebecca Dhanarine – Greenville County Schools

    Heath Flood – Loop Recruiting

    AJ Gladney – Ajay’s Social & Cocktail

    Peyton Hoppes – Parallel Financial, SYP

    Rivers Hughes – Hughes Investments

    Natalie Jones –Anderson County Chamber of Commerce

    Connor LeRoy – The LeRoy Group, SYP

    Julia Levi – Habitat for Humanity Greenille

    Jessica Miserendino (co-chair) AFL

    Alex Moore – United Way of the Piedmont

    Britton Rodgers – United Way of Anderson County

    Cesar Salas – Hispanic Alliance

    Nikoya Shaw – Upstate Workforce Board

    Reah Smith – Lake Keowee Real Estate

    Jason Weidman (co-chair)  Purpose Financial


    Presenting Sponsor

    Executive Networking Roundtable Sponsor

    Workshop Sponsors

    Leadership Maker Sponsor

    Sustainable Sponsors

    Partner Young Professional Groups

    Catering Sponsor