By Allie Eskew, Project and Events Director
I have spent the past eight years at Piper Communications. In 2013, I came in as a project assistant and eventually worked my way up to my current role, Project and Events Director, where I focus heavily on event management. Being Cortney’s first and only full-time employee, I realized I needed to figure out a way to stay at this company.
Before coming to work for Piper Communications, I worked at a recruiting firm for 2 years. While my previous job gave me transferable skills and immersed me into a professional setting, it was important to me to transition into something I was more passionate about.
Coming from a very corporate, male dominated environment, it was very impactful for me as a young professional to see an intelligent, confident female running a successful business. When Cortney walks into a room, everyone pays attention. I’ve learned a tremendous amount from Cortney. She has been a great mentor for me over the years. I also believed the future of Piper Communications looked bright and wanted to be a part of it.
Through the years, my role shifted more into event planning. I enjoy event planning because it really fits my personality. I am very detail oriented and like to have a plan for every scenario that may arise and a solution to go along with it. Forward-thinking solutions are important, and I never want to be caught off guard, so it’s a crucial skill to have when you are in this position. My first events were small roundtables for Tennessee Advanced Energy Business Council and throughout the years it turned into larger events, including Innov865 Week.
One of my most prominent tasks throughout the years has been planning Innov865 Week. This week-long event began years ago with just one event: Startup Day. Startup Day began as a way to showcase entrepreneurs in Knoxville. Over the years, the event and mission has evolved into what it is today and includes creating impactful event programming and resources throughout the year for local entrepreneurs, not just limited to one event. Innov865 Week is one of my most memorable events to plan since I’m so passionate about Knoxville. I love being able to showcase what all is going on in our city and being able to communicate that to the community and really take pride in all that is being accomplished here locally. This past year, everything shifted when Innov865 Week had to go virtual.
COVID-19 has had a huge impact on the event planning industry. Once the pandemic hit many people outside of the event planning industry believed all events would have to be cancelled. We really had to think outside of the box, and it took a lot of research and strategizing. For most events we were a well-oiled machine, we knew what we were doing. When COVID-19 hit we had to throw out everything we knew and start from scratch. In going virtual, it forced us to come up with a Plan B and it also forced me to get creative. Though this past year has been frustrating, I think the entire industry adapted well to the pandemic and technology really stepped up to the plate.
I’ve experienced a lot of growth at Piper Communications over the years – team wise and client wise. But our main mission hasn’t changed. Obviously, the clientele has grown, and we have more of a footprint now not only locally, but regionally and nationally. Overall, Cortney is very strategic on who she takes on as clients which has contributed to our growth and reputation in the community for making an impact and getting results.
Find out more about Allie Eskew, Piper Communications’ Project and Events Director, here.