Ten Counties. One Upstate. Stronger Together


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Young Leaders Elevating the Upstate
hosted by Ten at the Top

Thank you for making #thePIQUE2018 a success! We will see you in 2019!


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 county 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.

Click here to register!

Our 2018 PIQUE Planning Committee is planning a great event for you!

Erin Callicott, USC Upstate
Evan Carr, Entrepreneur
Morgan Dorriety, Bank of America
Jonathan Holder, Jeff Holder Builders
Kimbrell Hughes, Hughes Investments
Meredith Lindsey, A LINE Interactive
Michael McCarthy, Greenwood County Community Indicators Project
Alaina, Schnipke, Denny’s
Mary Pat Smith, Anderson Area Chamber of Commerce
Tiffany Tate, Upstate Alliance
Program Overview

1:15 – 2:00: Registration & Networking
Southern Bleachery

2:00PM: Event Kick Off TBD

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

Executive Networking Roundtables

Networking & Building Professional Relationships

Driving Innovation through Engagement & Inclusion

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

Executive Networking Roundtables

Navigating Workplace Politics, Structures and Cultures

Young Professional Development and Success

4:35PM: Wrap-Up Panel - Global Leadership in the Upstate
Sponsored by Upstate Alliance Moderator: Morgan Crapps, Special Counsel at Nexsen Pruet
Anita Patel, International Trade Manager at South Carolina Department of Commerce
Nicole Johnson, Director of Sales of Boyd Cycling
Gabriel Montauti, International Culinary Project Manager of Denny’s

5:10PM: Networking Reception hosted by 13 Stripes Brewery Catering provided by Cribbs Catering

Executive Networking Roundtables (Repeated) Executives:TBD
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 be successful, and the barriers they’ve overcome to get where they are.

Each executive will be seated at a table with seven young leaders and will lead a ten minute conversation. After ten minutes is up the executives will rotate, allowing each table of young leaders to meet three executives.

Due to the anticipated popularity of this workshop it will be offered in both sessions.

Networking & Building Relationships
Moderator: Chad Lawson, Spartanburg Water
Todd Horne, Vice President of Business Development, Clayton Construction
Velda Carter Hughes, CEO & Owner, Hughes Agency
Tammy Johnson, President/CEO, High Spirits Hospitality
Keaton Stroud, Editor, The Scout Guide Greenville
Many young leaders have the skills, talent, and willingness to learn that makes them ideal employees. However, young leaders sometimes have difficulties finding opportunities in their career field. Networking and building meaningful relationships aids young professionals in their endeavors to solidify employment and grow their professional network. This workshop seeks to give young professionals an in-depth insight on how to effectively network and establish mutually beneficial relationships, like mentors, throughout their career.

Driving Innovation Through Engagement & Inclusion
Moderator: Betsy Neely Sikma, Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce
Marion Crawford, President & CEO, Crawford Strategy
Deborah McKetty,President & CEO, Community Works, Inc.
Erica Powell, President & CEO, Erica Powell Enterprises

Diversity is a key driver in innovation and is a critical component of being successful on a local and global scale. Diverse experiences, backgrounds and perspectives help young leaders develop new ideas and understand the importance of collaboration. This workshop will help young leaders gain understanding on how they can drive innovation through engagement and inclusion throughout their career.

Navigating Workplace Politics, Structures and Cultures
Moderator: Emily Cox, WESCO
Ann Angermeier, Executive Director, Upstate Workforce Board
Ingo Angermeier, Former President and CEO of Spartanburg Regional Health Services District, Inc.
Atty. G. Hubbard Smalls, MBA, JD, LL.M, 
Brad Smith, Managing Principal, McMillian Pazdan Smith

Navigating your workplace can often be tricky, especially as a young professional. It is important to be aware and understand workplace politics, structures and cultures. Not all workplaces are the same, therefore, it is important to know how to navigate your work environment in a professional manner. This workshop seeks to prepare young leaders with tools and information to succeed in any structure, culture, no matter the politics.
Young Professional Development and Success
Moderator: Shannon Creighton, Limestone College of Business
Pam G. Batson, CFP First Vice President-Investments Senior PIM Portfolio Manager, Weinkle Batson Financial Consulting Group
Madison Skinner, Human Resource Manager, Scanscource

Most young leaders seek to be the employee of choice and separate themselves from the pack.. An important aspect of one’s early career is learning to distinguish ones self and transition a job into a career. There are many industry challenges in the workplace, but young professionals can grow to be the most talented and prepared professionals.This workshop discusses the importance of young professional development and methods to achieve success within your early career. Attendees will learn how to be seen as professional colleague and start shaping career paths early.

Ann Angermeier, Executive Director

Ann was born in Union, South Carolina. Her father wanted her to pursue a degree in nursing. She then briefly switched majors to teaching. Sick patients and young children were no doubt relieved that she graduated from Converse College with a Bachelor’s in Business Administration. Ann has also completed a number of graduate hours at Converse. She began her professional career in Spartanburg at Union Camp Corporation. Ann has also worked in the private sector for three additional companies before stumbling into a job in workforce development. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Upstate Workforce Board.  Ann also operates a non-profit, the Upstate Workforce Futures Corporation that supports workforce development efforts throughout the Upstate.

Ann currently serves on several boards and committees. Some of these include: The USC Upstate Foundation Board of Directors, Ten at the Top Board of Directors, Union County Development Board. In 2009, Ann participated in Leadership South Carolina and has been a part of many leadership programs throughout counties in the Upstate including: Spartanburg, Union, Cherokee and Greer. Ann participated in the Upstate Diversity Leadership Academy at Furman Graduate and is licensed by Emily post Institute to teach Business Etiquette and Golf Etiquette.

Ann considers herself a recovering competitive golf addict and is now a fair-weather golfer. Some consider her to have too much affection for her cats. She is married to Ingo Angermeier and they happily call Spartanburg their home.

Caroline Aneskievich, Human Resource Planning Analyst, BMW Manufacturing

Caroline is driving her career forward at BMW Manufacturing as a Human Resource Planning Analyst. In her role she steers long-term human capital resource planning and strategic projects. She recently completed the Global Leader Development Program (GLDP), an international, 18-month program aimed to cultivate top talent and prepare participants for an international career. She has worked in Plant Spartanburg, South Carolina, BMW Headquarters in Munich, Germany and at BWM Group’s newest plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico. Caroline is a three time Clemson graduate- Bachelor of Arts Spanish & International Trade 2010, Bachelor of Science Marketing 2011, and Master of Business Administration in 2015. She also earned her second Masters in International Business from IESEG School of Management in Paris, France. She has studied on four different continents and is currently learning her fourth language.

Her Clemson Tiger Rag is well traveled as she has visited 30 countries before 30 years old. Caroline is a recent graduate of Greenville Chamber’s Pacesetters program and volunteers with the Greenville Literacy Association and serves on Clemson University MBA Alumni Council. In her free time she enjoys improving her tee shot and sipping new red wines.

Ingo Angermeier, PhD 

Ingo Angermeier is the former President and CEO of Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System (SRHS). With more than 30 years of administrative experience in healthcare, he brought great improvement and progress to healthcare in Spartanburg before retiring in 2011. Under his leadership, the hospital system grew to include three hospitals (including the Village at Pelham and the Hospice Home) and implemented the Regional One helicopter program. Angermeier was also instrumental in the design of SRHS’ state-of-the-art emergency center, which gets about 110,000 visits a year and is one of the busiest in the state.

Ingo has earned three graduate degrees and has run 7 major medical centers. He has served as a professor in three medical schools and has published over two dozen research articles on topics of organizational development and corporate culture. Ingo has testified before congress many times and his papers have been presented on four continents. In spite of all his accomplishments, his cats thoroughly ignore his commands. Ingo is one of the founding board members of Ten at the Top and is still an active board member.

Pam G. Batson, CFP®  
First Vice President – Investments Senior PIM Portfolio Manager

Pam Batson is First Vice President – Investments and Senior PIM Portfolio Manager for the Weinkle Batson Financial Consulting Group. Pam has been in the financial services industry since 1995 and was one of the first portfolio managers at her former firm, Morgan Stanley. Pam is among a select group of advisors entrusted by the firm to manage investment portfolios for clients with the highest level of service and discretionary authority. She has been recognized with many distinguished awards and has extensive experience helping clients navigate difficult financial markets.

Pam is also a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ practitioner. This industry leading certification requires the completion of extensive course work in the areas of asset management, retirement planning, estate investment planning, insurance, tax planning strategies, and risk management. Pam believes that continuing education is a critical component of the group's due diligence process and she frequently attends programs at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business where economic concepts such as Modern Portfolio theory and active vs passive investing are evaluated. Pam is former board member of The International Center of The Upstate and Furman University Connections: Women Leaders of the Upstate. Pam and her husband, Reggy, and daughter, Anna, reside in Greenville SC where they are active members of Greenville First Presbyterian Church. Away from the office, Pam enjoys boating, cycling, and international travel.

Emily Cox, Senior Account Representative 

Emily Cox is an Upstate native and a proud graduate of Converse College with a B.A. in English.

The first 17 years of her career were spent working in media, starting at WSPA-TV, then Cox Radio, and finally as an account executive at Fox Carolina TV. Emily worked with local and regional business owners to help create marketing strategies and impact consumer mindsets. She accomplished numerous goals and developed strong relationships across the media industry.

In 2016, Emily decided to venture from media when she went to work fulltime at a local non-profit, Urban League of the Upstate, to manage Fund Development and Marketing efforts. It was a great time to give back, raise awareness and funds, and help an organization that has impacted thousands of lives across the Upstate.

In November 2017, Emily made a career change to return to sales with WESCO, a supplier of industrial automation and electrical supplies for manufacturers across the Upstate. She’s the happiest she’s ever been and enjoying exciting challenges in a new field.

Emily believes that giving back to the community that has been so good to her is both a privilege and a necessity. She’s given her time to numerous organizations, including the Junior League of Greenville and her alma mater Converse College, and many others that have needed support. In her spare time, she is a freelance contributor to The Clutch, where she shares her favorite cocktail finds across the Greenville area.

She has a husband, Anthony, who works for Habitat for Humanity.

Morgan Crapps, Special Counsel, Nexsen Pruet

Whether it’s a start-up or Fortune 500 firm, Morgan’s goal is to work with companies from around the world and help them connect the dots to ensure the highest levels of success in the Carolinas. Before joining Nexsen Pruet, she worked for the South Carolina Department of Commerce. In her various roles there, she focused on growing the state’s economy by recruiting companies and assisting them with everything from site selection to incentives to permitting.

Morgan’s work took her around the world, where she served as an ambassador for the State of South Carolina and engaged with federal government officials, international organizations, consulates, consultants, and company leadership. She assists business leaders and executives with issues involving:
  • Identification of targets & areas of opportunities
  • Site selection
  • Negotiation of tax credits and incentives
  • Facilitation of deals with utility providers, service providers and other governmental agencies

Morgan graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Law. Prior to attending law school, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Clemson University, where she graduated cum laude. She is also a graduate of the Economic Development Institute at the University of Oklahoma. She is active in the South Carolina Economic Developers Association (SCEDA) and is the Founding Chair of SCEDA Women. Morgan is also an active member of the Southern Economic Development Council’s Young Professional Committee, the Junior League of Columbia, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Lexington Clemson Club. She is a native of Morgantown, WV.


Marion Crawford, President & CEO

Marion Crawford is President and CEO of Crawford Strategy, a full-service marketing and brand strategy firm headquartered in Greenville, South Carolina. She has more than 25 years of experience in the field of marketing and communications, particularly in the financial services, healthcare and the travel industry segments. As CEO, Marion oversees all aspects of the Company, but she is particularly involved in crafting compelling brand messages for Company clients. Since its inception in 2010, Crawford Strategy has grown from three to more than 25 employees, and over the past several years has added significant media, digital and website services in-house.

Marion started her career in the journalism field, first working on the Nightly News Desk at NBC in New York, and later as a news writer and on-air reporter for WSPA-TV (CBS) in Spartanburg and WLOS-TV (ABC) in Asheville. Additionally, she spent five years with ScanSource, Inc., where she worked in sales, business development and marketing. Marion holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia, and serves on the Regional Selection Committee for UVA’s Jefferson Scholar Foundation. In 2013, she was inducted into the Greenville Tech Entrepreneurs Forum, a prestigious group of local business leaders. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Peace Center, the Cancer Society of Greenville County and the Greenville Country Club. She is also a Past President of the Board of Artisphere. Marion resides in Greenville, South Carolina, with her husband, three children and two dogs.

Dr. Shannon Creighton

Dr. Shannon Creighton, native of Gaston County, NC,  became MBA Director at Limestone in 2016 after eight years at Appalachian State University as a Walker College of Business faculty member. He received his Doctor of Business Administration in International Business from Walden University in 2017. He holds an MBA and Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration from Appalachian State.

Todd Horne, Vice President -Business Development

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 2017 – 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 has 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, Hub Bub, 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 (3) and Harper (5).

 Velda Carter Hughes, CEO & Owner

Velda has more than 35 years of experience in the public relations, marketing, advertising and event business.  She hails from a newspaper family that once owned four newspapers in North and South Carolina.  A graduate of the University of North Carolina School of Journalism, Velda started her career at The Greenville News.  She later became a partner in a public relations and event firm for the next 15 years before starting Hughes Agency in 2001.

Since 2001, Velda has grown Hughes Agency to a staff of 20 and made it one of the most recognized public relations, marketing, advertising and event firms in South Carolina.  A team of award-winning industry professionals with decades of experience, Hughes Agency delivers measurable results for a variety of consumer, lifestyle and corporate clients.  Velda brings to the team her unmatched networking capabilities and vast public relations experience.

Nicole Johnson, Director of Sales, Boyd Cycling

Nicole Johnson, has a spirited personality and sense of adventure.  Nicole has a degree in PR and Communications and spent the early years of her career working in the Media and High Tech industries.  She quickly realized at a young age that she wanted to be an entrepreneur and have her own business some day.  Nicole met her husband, Boyd in 2004 on the cycling circuit.  Her and Boyd raced bicycles professionally all around the USA and in other parts of the world.  In 2009 they decided to start their business and took a leap of faith designing and manufacturing high performance bicycle wheels. BOYD Cycling celebrated their 9th anniversary in September and the passion and interest continues to this day on providing innovative and aerodynamic wheelsets that cyclists can enjoy for years to come.  Nicole's experience now encompasses how to launch a successful business and how to make it work and grow internationally.


Tammy Johnson, President & CEO

As the President & CEO of High Spirits Hospitality, Tammy is responsible for not only overseeing all the daily operations of her companies, but also focusing on business growth and strategic planning. She got the entrepreneurial bug at the young age of 16, when she began working in the hospitality business. Tammy has held every restaurant role you can think of- from waitress, to bartender, to line cook. Prior to opening Liquid Catering from her garage at the age of 26, she was the Catering Sales Manager for Sticky Fingers. Since then, she hasn't looked back and has successfully launched the four other businesses that make up High Spirits Hospitality; The Old Cigar Warehouse is an impressive event venue in the West End, Bravo1 Protection is one of the area's leading private security companies, and High Spirits Events produces several public events throughout the year. In 2017 Tammy oversaw the opening and continued management of Topside Pool Club.

Aside from operating five businesses, Tammy is an active volunteer and community leader. She is currently serves on the board for euphoria, a food, wine, and music festival; The University Center of Greenville; and the Board of Advisors for the Greenville Chamber. Tammy is currently in her third term of serving on the City of Greenville's Accommodations Tax Commission, a committee that vets grant money to non-profit organizations. In 2017, Tammy graduated from the "Streetwise MBA" class as part of the Greenville Chamber's Minority Business Accelerator program. Tammy was also a former board member of the Clemson Area SBDC; the 2012 Chair of PULSE, the chamber's young professional program; was a graduate of Leadership Greenville Class 39; and is active with the Leadership Greenville Alumni Association.

She has been recognized with many awards including 2017 50 Most Influential by Greenville Business Magazine, 2014 SC Young Entrepreneur of the Year by the Small Business Administration, 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year by Business Black Box magazine, 2012 Greenville's Best & Brightest under 35, 2013 finalist for Greenville Chamber's Young Professional of the Year,  and was a 2016 finalist for the Greenville News Emerging Leaders award.

When Tammy isn't running the show at the office, she enjoys a good drink (anything with bubbles or bourbon), a walk through Falls Park, or binge-watching her favorite TV show. She's also a mommy to an adorable son, Kit.

Chad Lawson, Communication Manager

Chad Lawson is the communications manager for Spartanburg Water. He was previously the vice president for global health and wellness for Porter Novelli, a public relations agency with 90 offices in 60 countries. He also served as the director of public affairs and marketing for Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.

Prior to moving to the Upstate, Chad was the communications director for Arkansas Congressman Mike Ross, who represented 26 counties in the state’s largest congressional district.

He was also a  reporter and editor for newspapers in his native Arkansas, as well as in South Carolina. He graduated as a Stephens Scholar from Harding University with a bachelor’s degree in public relations, studying in London, reporting for three newspapers and serving as a speechwriting assistant for then-Governor Mike Huckabee’s communications office. He also holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative nonfiction from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University.

Deborah Mcketty, President & CEO
Deborah McKetty is the President/CEO of CommunityWorks, Inc. (CW), a regional U.S. Treasury certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) in South Carolina committed to building brighter futures for underserved families and communities through financial education, lending, and investing.

Deborah is a native of Greenville, South Carolina where she is also very active in her community. She is an alumna of Furman University Diversity Leadership Institute, a recipient of the Greenville Women Making History Award, a recipient of the United Way Spirit Award for Nonprofit Leadership, a finalist for the SBA Ally Award in South Carolina, and recognized by the South Carolina Association of Community Development Corporations (SCACED) with the Eagle Award of Excellence in Community Economic Development. She chairs the board of directors for the S.C Community Capital Alliance, SC Association of Community Economic Development, Richmond Federal Reserve Community Investment Council, Greenville Chamber of Commerce Board of Advisors, United Way of Greenville County’s Community Impact Cabinet, United Way Financial Stability Council and she was a 2016 recipient of the Max Heller Neighborhood Improvement Award.

Deborah holds a Masters in Urban Planning from Texas Southern University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of South Carolina. She is certified by the National Development Council as a Housing and Economic Development Finance Professional.

In 2005, Deborah spearheaded a local affordable housing study through the United Way of Greenville County that resulted in the establishment of the Greenville Housing Fund (GHF) - a local nonprofit housing trust fund committed to increasing local housing opportunities for low and moderate income residents. Under her dynamic leadership, GHF expanded its mission, changed its business model, and transitioned into CommunityWorks Carolina in 2012. Since CommunityWorks’ inception, she has guided the organization in providing a full range of products and services to include down payment assistance for first-time homebuyers, microbusiness loans, small dollar consumer loans, financial wellness checkups, and Individual Development Accounts (IDA’s-matched savings accounts). Deborah has guided the organization in serving over 2,000 families and generating over $130 million in local economic impact. In a move to fill a banking need for unbanked and underbanked households in the Greenville community, she led the development and chartering of the first federal credit union opened in South Carolina in 14 years. CommunityWorks Federal Credit Union opened its doors in July 2014 and has already provided over $1.5M in loans to low-wealth families and serves an active membership of over 1300 local residents. In 2013 she successfully launched a microbusiness lending program that has received local attention and national recognition by becoming an SBA, USDA, and SC Department of Commerce microbusiness lender. To date, the organization has financed over 85 small and minority owned businesses totaling over $2M in loan.

Gabriel Montauti, International Culinary Project Manager, Denny’s Corporation

Chef Gabriel Montauti is a graduate of Johnson & Wales University.  Through his work related to cook in bag technology at Sealed Air, he gained experience in numerous categories of food processing.  As an Operational Specialist at Denny’s, he used his culinary expertise to ensure the operational viability of programs while maintaining the highest culinary standards.  The successful launch of Denny’s on Demand delivery program is a testament to his range of experience.  His successes resulted in his promotion to his current role at Denny’s.  As the International Culinary Project Manager, Mr. Montauti is responsible for creating supply chains of both locally sourced and imported items that enabled Denny’s to expand into 3 new countries and improved the overall supply chain of current Denny’s locations in several others.

Chef Montauti is married and has 3 girls ages 8, 6, and 1. In his spare time he enjoys spending time with his family in the outdoors, grilling, and traveling overseas.

Anita Patel, International Trade Manager, South Carolina Department of Commerce

Anita Patel is the International Trade Manager for the South Carolina Department of Commerce (SCDOC), where her mission is to assist companies with increasing their sales and revenue through exporting. In this role she manages the deliverables for the Export Incentives program for the state. Patel duties also include providing export counseling, implementation of trade workshops/seminars, organizing international trade missions, managing program goals, client and partner relations, communication and referral system, conduct evaluation and assessments, grant management and report generation and surveying.
Prior to joining the SCDOC, Patel was the Director of Research for ECI-Find New Markets, a private non-profit organization. In this role, Patel worked with companies to identify new markets for their products and services. She also assisted with product positioning and creating customized market entry strategies to help clients grow their business. Additionally, she managed three U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) grants and a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) grant.
She is the Vice Chair of the South Carolina District Export Council, and a member of the South Carolina International Trade Coalition and Columbia World Affairs Council. Patel is a graduate of Francis Marion University with a bachelor’s in marketing.

Erica Powell, President &  CEO

Erica Powell graduated from Clemson University in 2015 where she earned a Bachelor's degree in Psychology. During her time at Clemson, Erica was a scholarship student athlete on the Clemson Cheerleading team. Erica is a cancer survivor, and has had progressive vision loss since childhood as a result of her cancer treatment. As a student athlete with a visual disability, Erica recognized the opportunity to advocate for disability pride and self-advocacy during her time at Clemson. Since making that realization, Erica has become an entrepreneur and travels the country as a Professional Speaker. Through speaking, Erica gets to use her personal story of overcoming barriers in life to teach audiences how to create an unstoppable mindset and reach their greatest potential! Erica is a marathon runner, fitness enthusiast, business owner, and lover of her crazy lab puppy named Grant!

Betsy Neely Sikma, Vice President of Talent & Economic Inclusion

Betsy Neely Sikma, Vice President of Talent and Economic Inclusion at the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce. Betsy is a Spartanburg, SC Boomerang. With more than 14 years of Nonprofit leadership experience, she returned to her hometown in 2017 to join the team at the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce. Prior to her time at the Chamber, Betsy worked in the Community Development Financial Institution industry serving most recently as Vice President, Strategic Development and Marketing and Innovation Team Chair for Accion in Chicago, a member of the Accion US Network.  In 2014, Betsy was an Emerging Leader in the CDFI Industry's CitiLeadership Fellowship. She is currently enrolled in the Furman University Women’s Leadership Institute.

Betsy is President of the of Board at Mental Fitness Inc., a member of the board of trustees at WeVote USA, a member of the SC Test Prep Board, a member of the GlobalBike board of directors, a member of the Marketing and Development Committee for the Spartanburg Philharmonic Orchestra, a member of the Business Advisory Council for Fostering Great Ideas, and a member of the Community Advisory Board for Upstate Warrior Veterans. Betsy holds a BA at Furman University, an MTS from Vanderbilt University, and a certificate in Nonprofit Finance at Kellogg School of Management. She enjoys hiking, singing loudly while driving, sporadic reading, living room dance parties, and photography. Her favorite subjects are her partner, Jay and their two daughters, Wren and Rowan.

Atty. G. Hubbard Smalls, MBA, JD, LL.M

Atty. G. Hubbard Smalls is currently the professor of law and accounting at the University of South Carolina (Upstate) and the former dean and tenured professor of accounting for the Tyrone Adam Burroughs School of Business and Economics. Atty. Smalls has over 20 years of extensive corporate and higher education experience with emphasis in the areas of business and commercial law, accounting, and taxation.

He received his BS in engineering from South Carolina State University and MBA in Finance from Atlanta University.  After working for General Electric, General Motors and the Celanese Corporation he was placed on active duty as an officer with a top-secret special operations unit during the Gulf War. While serving his country during various military conflicts, he was appointed to the position of Assistant to the Deputy Chief Finance Officer for the United States Army Military Intelligence Command. Atty. Smalls went on to receive his Juris Doctorate in Law from Howard University Law School and subsequently worked with Lockheed Martin, IBM, Morgan Stanley and as an associate with the law firm of Nelson Mullins. He was later appointed the Chief of Staff and General Counsel for the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Service, were he oversaw all day-to-day operations including, but not limited to, finance and budgets, compliance, diversity and inclusion programs and legal matters for the agency’s statewide operation.  He received his LL.M in taxation and partnership accounting from Georgetown University and completed additional post-doctorial studies in higher education management at Harvard University. He is currently a doctorate candidate at the Fox School of Business at Temple University.  He has published in peer-review journals such as the Journal of Economic Integration-Center for International Economics, Journal of African Business and the South Carolina Bar Journal.  Atty. Smalls has created and/or operated several business entities including a commercial paper servicing firm and various consumer retail franchises.

Atty. Smalls’ higher education experience includes work as an accreditation evaluator for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, managing director of a Community Development Corporation, Business Development Center and as a college administrator on the academic affairs’ executive team. Atty. Smalls has served on several corporate boards, including his current membership as Chairman of the largest no-profit charity in South Carolina, the over $100 million dollar Sister’s of Charity Foundation Board. Atty. Smalls has a young daughter (Madison London) with his wife Shella, who is an accomplished attorney and member of the Fluor Corporation, executive management team (Greenville Office).

Brad B. Smith, Managing Principal 

Brad Smith is the managing principal of McMillan Pazdan Smith Architecture.  As a Managing Principal, Brad’s role includes staff development, continuous integration of firm culture and internal communications. Brad has a diverse background of project experience including healthcare, higher education, commercial, civic and community projects. A gifted facilitator, Brad often guides planning, programming and design charrettes to engage stakeholders in the creative analysis of needs and effective solutions. He is past Chairman and current Board Member of South Carolina’s State Board of Architectural Examiners and was President while serving 10 years on the board for the Clemson Advancement Foundation.


 Keaton Stroud, Editor-in-Chief

Upon graduating from Clemson University with a major in Graphic Communications Keaton Stroud moved to New York City to follow her lifelong dream of working for in the magazine industry. She expanded her design knowledge and skills working in the editorial, fashion, and home decor industries. Keaton worked for several magazines including ELLE Decor and Lucky Magazine as well as the contemporary fashion designer MILLY by Michelle Smith. Her final position in NYC was with arguably the most iconic department store in the world, Saks Fifth Avenue where she was an Editorial Designer and Art Director.

Keaton then decided to take the talents and experiences she had gained back home and land a bit closer to family. Shortly after moving back to South Carolina, Keaton built a client base and perused her dream to start her own creative company, DECO Creative. Within weeks of launching, her team was providing brand development, graphic design, photography, and web design to businesses across the upstate. During this exciting time in her new business, Keaton was presented with the opportunity of a lifetime. For Keaton, the decision to support and celebrate local businesses, as Editor-in-Chief of The Scout Guide Greenville was easy and she is excited to highlight the people and places that make Greenville, South Carolina a truly unique city.


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 that reason, we are asking executives, of any age to participate in the PIQUE to network, answer questions, and make connections with the future leaders of the Upstate.

Check back occasionally as the participating executives list will be updated as their participation is finalized.

Kenworth Reeves, Owner, 13 Stripes Brewery
Brian Ziegelheafer, Executive Director, BGEN
Kelly McWhorter, Executive Director, Greenwood Regional Tourism & Visitors Bureau
Laura Ringo, Executive Director, Partners for Active Living
Paige Stephenson, President & CEO, United Way of the Piedmont
Mark Bound, PhD., Executive Director, The Haven
Carol Burdette, President & CEO, United Way of Anderson
Tracie Frese, Executive Director, Upstate International
Shannon Hansen, General Manager of IMG Sports Marketing, Furman University & Wofford College
Hank McCullough, Senior Manager Government Relations, Piedmont Natural Gas Company
Ann Wright, Vice President of Advancement, Greenville Tech Foundation
Catriona Carlisle, Executive Director, Greenville Meals on Wheels
Calvin Hurst, Regional Vice President, TD Bank's Upstate Commercial Market
Ashleigh Black, Owner, Southern Bleachery
Karen Burgess, Campus President, ECPI University
Tyler Senecal, Entrepreneurial Programs Director, Wofford College
James Bennett, Owner, Upstate Home Care Solutions
Betsy McMillan-Hipp, Director, Worldwide Marketing, ScanSource
Laura Turner, Upstate Regional Director, Office of United States Senator Lindsey O. Graham
David Buckshorn, CEO< Wesley Commons
Brian Stearns, Owner, Ringo Fire Digital
Seth Withers, Inside Sales, Hincapie Sportswear
Jonna Turner, Executive Director, Cherokee County Chamber of Commerce
Val Carolin, General Manager, Salem Media Group
Tori Fowler, Business Solutions Consultant, SC Works Greater Upstate
2018 PIQUE Photos
Become a Sponsor

Why should you consider sponsoring #thePIQUE18?

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.
Click here to view the #PIQUE18 Sponsorship Packet


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 (anottingham@tenatthetop.org) 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 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? You can click here to register.

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

Mobile Phone: 304-993-4758

Presenting Sponsor

Event Wrap-up Panel Sponsor

Reception Sponsor

Workshop Sponsors

Leadership Maker Sponsors

Lanyard Sponsors

Sustainable Supporters

Venue Provided By

Catering Provided By

Beverage Sponsor

Partner Young Professional Groups