My Story with Heidi York, Person County (NC) Manager

ELGL’s mission is to connect, communicate, and educate. One way we do that is by “telling our story.” In our new ongoing series we allow ELGL members to tell their story, describing how they got into local government and a little about their path and journey in the field. Check out Heidi York’s story below.


heidi york

Heidi York – Person County Manager, North Carolina

I started working in local government because….I’ve always been driven by a desire for public service; to improve lives and communities.  I changed my mind about attending law school which was my plan during undergrad, and an MPA degree seemed practical.  Once at UNC- Chapel Hill, city and county management interested me and appeared that my skills and abilities were a good fit for that career path.

My first experience in local government was…..My junior year of high school, I interned over the summer with the County Executive’s Office in my home county in Maryland.  I returned the following summer working as a customer service and community liaison for the County Executive who also happened to be a female…looking back, she became a role model to me and inspired me to become a leader in local government.

My most frustrating experience in local government was….I will admit that I experience frustration often in my job.  I approach issues as a problem solver, so when I encounter an attitude of “no can do” I often challenge folks to find creative solutions and to start with a default of “yes we can” and try to figure out how to get to the solution we want without having to start with no.

My top three career accomplishments are:

  1. Well my goal, which is a constant work in progress, is to balance a demanding career and being a dependable and devoted mother and wife.
  2. Assembling an outstanding, dedicated, and impressive team of professionals to which I have the pleasure of working with each day in Person County.
  3. Putting myself through college and graduate school even if it meant holding a full-time job during undergrad.

I am currently working on……

  • Securing a future site for our Senior Center
  • Negotiating a purchase agreement for an expansion recreation project
  • Preparing for an upcoming annual Board of Commissioners retreat…

My suggestions for interviewing…..

  1. Do your research: understand the organization, the current issues, and the position for which you are applying
  2. Respond with confidence but remain humble
  3. Be personable and present yourself professionally

I am afraid of… Having regrets

I think local government could better tell its story……

This is something I have been giving a lot of thought to and I’m not sure I have the answer yet.  I don’t believe there’s a quick fix or a silver bullet, but rather a consistent presence that allows government to forge positive relationships within the community.  It is within these opportunities that we build champions, advocates, and partners that are more successful at telling our stories than ourselves.

I think you should ask the next person completing this profile…..

If you have the chance to start your career all over again, what would you do differently and what job would you have?

You should have asked me….

What sets you apart and makes you unique?