Unlocking the Secrets of Leading as an Outsider in York County

Aaron J. Anderson
8 min readOct 25

It is no mistake that York County has a unique culture. When our family left Raleigh, it was rated the best City to live in America. Growth was fast-paced, new restaurants, retail, and malls were abundant. Raleigh was gaining a reputation as the Silicon Valley of the East due to the growth of its technology scene. There was a surge of outsiders moving in from New York and California but the city still maintained its warm southern charm. There was a palpable sense of excitement and opportunity that permeated the air.

I was too young and inexperienced when I left Raleigh to realize that the economic growth of that region was unique.

When I moved to York it took me about six months to realize that York was very different than Raleigh. They were each unique communities with their own respective strengths and weaknesses.

That was 20 years ago and since then, I have had numerous conversations with locals and transplants about what makes York so unique.

There are a couple of very subjective observations worth noting that I have learned make York’s local landscape unique.

  1. York’s insiders are more numerous than outsiders.

Those born in York County and raised here also have families who have been here for generations. From what I have observed, this region has not seen rapid growth from people outside of the County.

Breaking into old circles of friends and places of influence can feel challenging. York’s long-timers often talk about where they went to high school. That kind of long history felt strange to me and if I was overly sensitive would be a constant reminder that I was not a part of this key local history.

2. York is a patchwork of communities.

York is not monolithic. There are numerous communities that sit shoulder to shoulder that make up the region. York is considered a metropolitan area, actually known as the York-Hanover MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area). York and Hanover, while sharing similarities, are very different communities. York City has its own unique features and so does southern York County with its influx of people from Maryland. We have rural, farming communities, suburban ones, and parts of the…