Lessons in Leadership

Lessons in Leadership: Smedes York’s Take on Ethics and Social Change

On November 29th York Properties Board Chairman Smedes York participated in a panel at City Club Raleigh entitled “Ethics & Social Change in the Spirit of Economic Development.”  Moderated by Wendy Gates Corbett, President and Lead Presentation Consultant at Refresher Training, LLC, the other panel participants were Ashton Smith (Citrix) and Steven Pearson (IBM).

Key takeaways from Smedes’ comments included:


Strong partnerships are critical to maintaining a healthy region.  We do not need or want to merge communities.  Key examples of strong regional partnerships include Raleigh Durham Airport, United Way of the Greater Triangle, and the Regional Transportation Alliance, among others.  Even though Raleigh is the largest city, our region only succeeds by respecting all our communities as equals.

Wake County schools

A first-rate Wake County school system is vital. The merger between the city and county school systems, effective in 1976, was essential. The city system was not “coterminous” with the city limits and we were moving toward an inner-city school district.  Our legislative delegation at the time acted with deep courage and leadership to affect this change.

York Properties and Business

At York Properties we do not want to be a “parasite company.” We are imbedded in the community; our company and our employees support many community initiatives.

A key word is “civility” for our brand and culture. I gave the example of Senator Jesse Helms welcoming his “polar opposite” Senator John Edwards. When asked why, he replied, “I believe in civility.”

A successful employee must “learn to learn.” Technology changes but what does not change is the value of face-to-face communication. John Naisbitt’s book “Megatrends” stressed a concept of “high tech-high touch.”   The more technology there is the more a personal touch (such as a phone call or a hand-written note) is noticed and appreciated.  Attitude and the ability to work as part of a team are essential. An individual needs to be put in a position where he or she can excel.  Albert Einstein put it particularly well:

Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.


A “purple state” in my mind is not a disadvantage but an advantage. A purple state means we are neither Republican dominated (red) or Democratic dominated (blue) so there is balanced discussion. One party domination tends to result in negative legislation like HB2.


Sam Jones BBQ Coming to Raleigh

Renowned fourth-generation pitmaster and James Beard semifinalist, Sam Jones is opening a barbecue restaurant in Raleigh. Sam Jones BBQ is projected to open late Summer 2019 after renovations are complete. Brian Wallace brokered the deal between Sam Jones BBQ and the Landlord, James Goodnight.

A Place at the Table Featured on Today

We’re so excited that our friends at A Place at the Table were featured on the Today Show on Monday, November 19 to talk about the awesome things they’re doing in our city! We’re so honored to have been a small part in their journey to their open doors and love continuing our relationship by volunteering our time and eating their delicious food!

Watch the segment below:

Shop Local: Des Livres et Délices

If you can’t Brie with the wine you love… love the wine you’re with!
Come find your raison d’être at Des Livres et Délices at Five Points.

Recently relocated from Paris and Burgundy, France, Laurence et Phillippe started a new adventure in Raleigh with their book shop and gourmet market. Be sure to stop by to browse their wonderful selection or attend one of their many events.

Virginia Davis awarded Manager of Excellence

We are so proud to announce that out of thousands of members, Virginia Davis received the award from the Community Association Institute for Manager of Excellence at the chapter conference in Concord.

Congratulations, Virginia! We are so impressed by your hard work and dedication to your communities.

Seaboard Wine Now Open at High Park Village

Joining some of Raleigh’s favorite tenants, Seaboard Wine has made the move to High Park Village. They’re open and ready to help you pick your new favorite wine. Summer rosé, anyone? We hope you’ll enjoy the same wonderful shopping experience in a location with better parking and none of the downtown construction traffic.

Seaboard Wine is located in High Park Village, off of Whitaker Mill Road. Co-tenants include Ladyfingers Catering, Taste, Small Plates & Wine Bar,  and High Park Nail Spa.

Malcolm Lewis represents Mills Construction

Malcolm Lewis represented Mills Construction Co., a full service general contractor, in the leasing of 16,270 square feet in the Atlantic Business Park at 4501 Atlantic Ave in Raleigh, NC.
The 56,920-square-foot office building was developed by Tri Properties in 2000. Other major tenants located within the Atlantic Business Park include ROI Revolution, Raleigh Police Recruiting and Regional Acceptance Corp.

Plus Piano Bar Coming to Glenwood South

Raleigh, put on your dancing shoes! Plus Piano Bar is coming to Glenwood South this summer. Get ready for interactive shows featuring world-class talent on stage, in a one-of-a-kind venue downstairs at 510 Glenwood, across from the Hampton Inn. What will your first song request be? York’s own Rhinestone Cowboy Thomas Hester represented the tenant on the deal. Opening planned for August 2018.

Dedication at Oberlin Rising

Please join us on Saturday, April 21 at 11:00 AM at 801 Oberlin Road for the Dedication of Oberlin Rising.

Oberlin Rising is the product of artistic and historical collaboration between Thomas Sayre, Friends of Oberlin Village and Smedes York to mark the memories, beliefs and traditions of the Oberlin Village community.

The park was privately funded by the Smedes York Family.