Young professionals converge in Spartanburg for PIQUE


About 250 young professionals descended on Spartanburg Thursday for the second annual PIQUE event held this year at Wofford College.

The event, hosted by Ten at the Top (TATT), seeks to connect emerging leaders ages 21 to 40 from across the 10-county region of the Upstate.

Participants were able to take advantage of four workshops, a panel discussion on diversity, opportunities to network with their peers, and to hear from or interact with more than 50 regional business and community leaders.

“Young professionals are the CEOs and presidents of tomorrow,” said Tiffany Tate, assistant director for TATT. “This is about making sure they have the knowledge and the connections to be successful.”

The inaugural PIQUE event was last year in the ONE building in downtown Greenville. It also attracted about 300 people.

Tate said the change of venue was planned, as event organizers want to involve all of the communities in the region in the effort.

The 2016 event included two workshops focused on helping attendees build their social media brands and serve on a board.

Tate said for this year’s event, the number of workshops increased to four and the topics were “beefed up” to attract even more interest from business leaders who could impart their knowledge.

Those topics included entrepreneurship and alternative career paths, the multi-generational workplace, rethinking the executive of the future, and how to land a job you aren’t qualified for. The panel discussion was about “Breaking Glass Ceilings in the Upstate.”

“It’s really pretty amazing to be a part of something like this,” said Cal Wicker, treasurer for Spartanburg Young Professionals and assistant vice president for BB&T in Spartanburg. “It’s a great learning experience and an opportunity to interact with other young professionals from across the region.

Tate said PIQUE is the brainchild of Todd Horne, who served as vice president of business development for Clayton Construction Co. and chairman of the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce.

She said the aim of the event is not to replace young professional groups operating in the Upstate, but to provide something that is complementary to what those groups are already working on.

“We were having a meeting about diversifying our board, and Todd, who is a member of the board, said ‘Hey, why don’t we have a young professional event?’” Tate said. “We work with young professional groups [from across the region] to plan the event. We wanted it to be representative of the Upstate. We wanted it to be something that would be appealing to all races and genders… What we’ve found is there are a lot of people who are willing to work on things for the benefit of their communities.”

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