Today’s young professionals are tomorrow’s leaders


By Jessica Miserendino and Madison Skinner

As the Upstate continues its rapid growth, investing in our young professionals is vital. They are the holders of our future, the ones who will be decision-makers and community leaders, and we must prepare them for the challenges they will encounter on their path to make the Upstate economically successful and rich in community vibrancy.

More and more professionals entering the workplace are expecting professional development opportunities, training, and even educational support. To better recruit and, more importantly, retain millennials and increasingly Generation Z employees, companies must think of creative ways to incorporate professional development. Fortunately, because of the demand, we are seeing an increase in these types of programs here in the Upstate.






For example, formal leadership-training programs help prepare employees for increased responsibility and management opportunities within an organization. As aspiring leaders have the opportunity to collaborate with each other – as well as learn from and interact regularly with executives – companies begin to foster a culture of growth and development, giving young professionals the opportunity to step outside their comfort zones and acquire firsthand knowledge and experience.

Companies may also invest in future leaders through mentorship programs and formal leadership-coaching programs. Through a company’s human resources or organizational development teams, mentors and mentees can be paired based on career aspirations or development focus areas.

Alongside internal initiatives, organizations throughout the region can foster collaboration across county lines by supporting their employees’ participation in networking and development programs. Organizations like Ten at the Top aim to facilitate these collaborative opportunities through events that bring young professionals and Upstate leaders together in a fun, informal environment. Events like Ten at the Top’s fourth annual PIQUE young professional conference, to be held on March 25 at the Greenville One Center, offer workshops, networking sessions, and a variety of panels designed to address a wide variety of young professionals, whether they are just embarking on their professional journeys or have established seasoned careers.

Upstate companies and organizations are investing in the future of our region by uniting young talent with today’s business and community leaders. Through these conversations, we create a healthy dialogue centered on how we can continue to make the Upstate a great place to live and work. Partnerships and bonds will be formed that will encourage collaboration and cooperation across all 10 Upstate counties. It’s the investment in people – no matter the age or generation – that will lead to growth for the Upstate.

Jessica Miserendino is import manager at Duncan-based AFL and serves on the board of directors for Ten at the Top. For more details about the PIQUE event, visit

Madison Skinner is director of human resources at Greenville-based ScanSource Inc. and will serve as a panelist at this year’s PIQUE conference.


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