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By Spencer Lazzari
VP of Operations
Proforma BrandCentric Solutions

The Young Professionals Network is an opportunity to meet people from all different kinds of industries. Recently, we’ve heard from several team members of CALYX Engineers and Consultants about their impressions of YPN events. We were delighted to hear what YPN has meant to them. Check it out below.

“YPN has offered a new and diverse avenue to meet and network with business professionals that are typically not in the network for engineers. The wide variety of programing and speakers at YPN events is also a refreshing change to the normal engineering seminars and conferences. Seeing and hearing lessons learned from some of Raleigh’s best business successes has allowed me to view my own engineering career and development in a new light.” – Chris Johnson, PE, Building Structures Project Manager 

“I’ve enjoyed the three YPN events I have attended thus far. My daily routine keeps me hunkered down in my cubicle while I’m busy designing. As I grow professionally, I find myself engaging in more interaction with others. The YPN events are giving me some great no-pressure opportunities to practice my networking skills. I felt a little uncomfortable approaching people at the first event because it was a different environment than I have grown accustomed to. By my third event, I felt completely at ease walking up to random people and introducing myself. I realized I had a lot more in common with the other professionals than I expected. The presentations at the events are filled with useful information that helps me be informed with current business trends. I look forward to attending again in the future.” – Caleb Robinson, Land Development Designer

“As a project manager for CALYX, I attend a fair amount of social events for work. By attending the YPN Conference and breakout sessions at the Convention Center, I have learned to use those events more efficiently to create and develop networking opportunities. I also enjoyed the real estate YPN event as I was in the process of buying a new house. Needless to say, both YPN events I’ve attended so far have been very relevant and useful to me.” – Dan Hesington, PE, Building Structures Project Manager

As you can see, Raleigh YPN has value for all. No matter your position, be sure to register and attend our upcoming YPN programs
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“Always Look Forward"

​​To this day, Tom Greco remembers wise words that his mother once spoke to him.

“Your eyes are in the front of your head for a reason,” he recalled his mother told him. “So always look forward.”

That’s a mentality that Greco carries with him in his current role as the president and CEO of Advance Auto Parts. He spoke as a part of our C-Suite Perspectives series.

Greco joined the company in that role in 2016 after serving as the CEO of Frito Lay North America, a unit of PepsiCo, Inc.

When he first joined Advance Auto Parts, Greco said the company was experiencing a large amount of turnover.

“It was a difficult time frame,” he said. “We live or die by what happens in our stores. When you lose someone who works in our stores, they go to our competitors.”

Greco set out to change the company culture.

“The first thing I did was I hired a head of HR and we went to work to find a leadership team to do what we needed to do,” he said. “I’m very proud of my leadership team. The first thing you have to do is have people on your leadership team who can get the job done.”

In the area of people, Greco talked about the importance to his company of “championing inclusion,” referencing how Advance Auto Parts has hired talented female executives.

Other aspects of the company’s value and mission include accountability, acting with urgency, growing talent, and, as Greco’s mother once told him, moving forward.

Greco said the turnover rate has dropped significantly and the company is growing.

In November 2018, Advance Auto Parts announced it would move its corporate headquarters to Raleigh, bringing 435 new jobs and marking the first Fortune 500 Company to call Wake County home.

“It’s so attractive to live here because we have great schools and such a strong technology base to tap into,” said Greco.

We want to thank him for sharing the story of Advance Auto Parts and his perspectives on the importance of company culture.

If you would like to read more about the discussion on social media, check out our C-Suite Perspectives Twitter hashtag, #CSuitePers.

We also want to thank our event sponsors for their continued commitment and support. Their partnership with us makes our C-Suite Perspectives series possible.

Our next C-Suite Perspectives will be on Aug. 23, also at The Umstead Hotel and Spa. We will hear from Martha Frye, senior regional vice president for the Southeastern Regional Operations for Nationwide Insurance. Register today to discover what she has learned on her corporate journey.
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By Felicia Woodard
business banking market manager for the Carolinas at Bank of America

In the past 20 years, Wake County has grown by more than half a million people. That’s a gain of 90 percent, which is a much larger increase than the national rate of 18 percent.

To improve as a community, growth is inevitable. We must advance in a strong and sustainable way. At Bank of America, we call that responsible growth.  It’s growing with no excuses but growing the right way.
For this reason and others, we were proud to be the presenting sponsor of the Raleigh Chamber’s Economic Development Forum and be part of this important discussion. We are keenly focused on responsible growth. Our environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles help define how we deliver responsible growth to our clients and to our communities.

During the forum I highlighted two of Bank of America’s strategic initiatives related to responsible growth. First, our enterprise-wide capital deployment initiative helps unlock the necessary financing to address local challenges related to affordable housing, healthcare, education and other critical areas. A recent example of this was a $1.25 million capital loan to our good friends at Habitat for Humanity in Durham.  At a 1% interest rate, they will utilize the capital to fund some much-needed infrastructure in response to their affordable housing needs.  We work with local CDFI’s through the Tory Burch Foundation to help female small business owners access the capital they need to grow their businesses.  As one of the world’s largest banks, we’re in a unique position to mobilize capital to drive global and local change.

We also seek to address issues fundamental to economic mobility, as we help build sustainable communities. Our economic mobility investments help move individuals and communities forward through workforce readiness, community development and basic needs. We develop partnerships with nonprofits and public sector organizations and support long-term pathways to success. In 2018 alone, we invested more than $1,000,000 and 6,200 volunteer hours into the nonprofit community here in the Triangle.  By bringing together our collective networks and expertise to help fuel economic and social progress, Bank of America can help further responsible, sustainable growth.

During the Raleigh Chamber’s economic development forum, attendees had the opportunity to hear from great speakers and other organizations who have joined this discussion about our future. Ted Abernathy, managing partner for Economic Leadership, delivered an excellent keynote and helped us explore the path of Wake County and the Triangle for the next 20 years. He shared his key trends of 1) acceleration, 2) disruption, 3) connectivity and 4) complexity.

We all clearly see the trajectory of our market, as well as the work ahead to ensure we continue to advance responsibly.     
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By Spencer Lazzari
VP of Operations
Proforma BrandCentric Solutions
 
The message from the last Raleigh YPN event was clear: Raleigh continues to grow. While having more than 60 people migrate to Wake County every day has benefits, it also creates a logistical challenge. What exactly is the best way to transport all of these people? Several people from the transportation industry came to share some of the things currently in the works.

Andy Willard and Ashley Schultz from GoTriangle came to talk about all of the success of the bus program. From new routes to improved stops, there was a lot to discuss. One of the highlights was the Youth GoPass, which allows youth between the ages of 13 and 18 to ride the bus for free. There was a big focus on using buses to alleviate traffic, as well as planning for routes that make the most sense for riders.

Next Crystal Feldman, from the Raleigh-Durham Airport Authority, spoke about the airport’s plan to accommodate all of the growth in our region—Vision 2040. From adding new gates to replacing the runway, the airport authority is committed to serving more than 10 million passengers annually. Additionally, Crystal took a sidebar to explain some keys to her professional success. As vice president of communications, government & community affairs, Crystal shared an important message about challenging yourself, being resilient, and leaving a positive impression on everyone you encounter.

We then heard from Natalie Griffith Ridout from the Regional Transportation Alliance. Natalie shared some of RTA’s priorities, including alleviating congestion along I-40, and accelerating the 540 southeast extension. She mentioned GoRaleigh’s contribution to alleviating traffic, specifically the Bus on Shoulder System.

Finally, all of the panelists returned to the stage to answer audience questions, ranging from allocation of funds to the recent surge of scooter transportation. Combine all the knowledge with a fun, transportation-themed icebreaker and you have an event that was one for the books. Be sure to join us for our Young Professionals Network Social on July 16!

Sources:
http://www.wakegov.com/data/bythenumbers/Pages/default.aspx
http://rduvision2040.wpengine.com/
https://goraleigh.org/
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Change is all around us. Disruption and reinvention are key to our present and our future.
If you ask Ted Abernathy about the future, he’ll talk with you about trends.
“Trends are changing every job and every industry,” he said.

Abernathy, the managing partner of Economic Leadership LLC, was the keynote speaker at our Economic Development Forum, taking a closer look at what the Triangle will be like in 20 years. Economic Leadership LLC is a consultancy that is currently working in more than a dozen states to develop economic and workforce strategies.

“Dozens and dozens of trends are impacting how we do business every day,” said Abernathy.
He said four trends, in particular are impacting everything, including the business community:
  • Acceleration
  • Hyper-connectivity
  • Constant disruption
  • Rising complexity
“Your response speed in business constantly needs to be accelerating,” said Abernathy. “Also, hyper-connectivity is all around us. There are 4.1 billion people on the internet and there will be 30 billion connected devices by next year.”

Twenty years ago, Abernathy told the audience at the forum, our region created the first 13-county strategic plan, focusing on priority growth opportunities.
Today, we are seeing the impact of that plan.

As we look to 20 years in the future, Abernathy said our area is going to become even more regional.
“We are going to need to connect all these communities that are growing,” he said.
Abernathy also discussed how a focus on the talent pipeline is critical.

“We can’t get enough talent,” he said. “Every one of your businesses is driven by that.”
The cost of childcare also is beginning to have an impact on the talent pipeline, said Abernathy.
“It’s expensive to have children and fewer millennials are having children,” he said.

He discussed how, as time goes on, that impacts the talent pipeline.

Abernathy encouraged the audience to keep adapting.

“All over the region, people are thinking about new ideas,” he said. “The question is how we will put them into practice?”
We want to thank Abernathy for giving us a clearer picture of what the future could have in store. His address and all the discussion at the forum generated a lot of interest on social media as our official Twitter hashtag, #EDForum19, was the top trending topic in Raleigh the morning of the event.

And, thank you to our panel speakers:
  • Roberta Fox, urban designer and architect
  • Dr. Daniel Stancil, executive director, IBM Q Hub at NC State University
  • Catherine Truitt, chancellor, Western Governors University North Carolina
  • Ted Abernathy, managing partner, Economic Leadership LLC
We also want to thank all of our sponsors of the Economic Development Forum. Without their support, this event would not have been possible.
Please also register for our Summer Leadership Conference, coming up June 25 – 26 at Pinehurst Resort. Following the Economic Development Forum discussion about the importance of the talent pipeline, we will discuss how to cultivate that pipeline during our Summer Leadership Conference. Register and find out more about what else to expect on our Summer Leadership Conference event page.
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By Sejal Patel
IQVIA

To say Leadership Raleigh Class 37 has come full circle is an understatement. Many of us remember our first day of class which focused on Quality of Life. That day we had the opportunity to hear from some of Raleigh’s biggest developers and go behind the scenes on how they have contributed to Raleigh’s growth over the years. We heard about their successes, their failures, but most importantly how much local government impacted their business. I remember many of our classmates looking forward to this day to hear from our local government leaders and get their point of view. So the day finally came, and it was definitely jam packed.

Our day started with a tour of one of Raleigh’s most ambitious projects to date, Dix Park. On July 24, 2015, the City of Raleigh purchased the Dorothea Dix Campus from the State of North Carolina for the purpose of developing a destination park. As stated above, the planning and development of Dorothea Dix Park represents one of the most exciting and ambitious new park projects in America.

Our tour covered the history of the buildings, land, and legacy of Dorothea Dix, the current use of the area as the headquarters of the Department of Health and Human Services and the steps the City will take in planning a future park.

The city’s motto for this park is “A Park for Everyone, Built by Everyone.” The Master Plan process was governed by a community-led, multi-tier structure. On February 19, 2019, the Dorothea Dix Park Master Plan was adopted unanimously by Raleigh City Council. This was an important and exciting milestone for everyone in this community. I think we can all say we are excited about this project and the impact it will have in Raleigh for years to come.

For more information and upcoming summer activities schedule visit:

https://dorotheadixpark.org/

Our next stop on the day was the Wake County Justice Center. Our new Justice Center opened in 2013 and has 19 courtrooms with space for four more in the future. We first started with a County/City Manager Panel. Our panelists were Wake County Manager David Ellis, Raleigh City Manager Ruffin Hall, and Town of Cary Mayor Pro Tem Lori Bush. They all provided insight on their day-to-day activities, how much collaboration is involved between the cities and Wake County, and how local government is so important to our day-to-day lives. Many people focus on the national government and don’t realize that many of the policies that affect our daily lives start at the local level. I remember hearing the same thing during the Quality Of Life day and since then I have made a conscious effort to follow local politics and find ways that I can get involved. The first place to start change is to talk to our local leaders!

After our panel discussion, we participated in a Q&A session with Judge Jefferson Griffin. Judge Griffin was born and raised in Red Oak, N.C. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and then graduated from North Carolina Central School of Law. He also serves as a First Lieutenant in the North Carolina Army National Guard as a JAG Officer. Currently, Judge Griffin is a district court judge for the 10th Judicial District, serving Wake County. Judge Griffin provided insight on how the Justice Center is set up and the daily life of a judge. He currently is presiding over cases in family court and it was very interesting to learn about his judicial philosophy and how he goes about judging cases.
From the Justice Center we walked over to the Stockroom for lunch, followed by a budgeting exercise. We listened to a presentation on how government budgets are created and passed. The process takes a long time and includes many stakeholders. There is a lot of back and forth as everyone wants to get their projects funded. We then were split into teams and given an exercise to create and fund our own budgets based on certain parameters. It was a very informative exercise and was cool to see how each group allocated their budgets and what people felt was important to fund.

Our next stop of the day was the Legislative Building, where all the magic happens! There was a tour planned, as well as a General Assembly panel, but both houses were in session and were voting on the budget so our plans changed. We were able to sit in the gallery of both the houses and see them debate on the floor for various bills and amendments. There is a lot going on at the same time and things can definitely get heated. Everyone has their views and when there are hot-button topics the debate can go on for a long time. Since the houses were in session, we ended up doing the panel with some of their young staffers. We learned some history about the building, their day-to-day life, and some of the upcoming bills on the slate. We did get Sen. Jay Chaudhuri, (D – Wake County), to stop by for a few minutes during a break to talk to us and give some insight which was great. I wish we would have gotten some one-on-one time with more representatives and senators because I know our class had many questions from our day with the developers earlier this year. But this whole afternoon showed how the government works. Things are constantly in motion and can change at any given minute.

Our last stop of the day was happy hour at Norris House. Norris House is a beautiful house in downtown Raleigh that has been restored and available for private parties and special events. Definitely check them out if you are in downtown.

https://www.norris-house.com/

What a fantastic year with all the classmates. I hope all of you have valued this once in a lifetime experience as much as I have. Over the last year, I have learned so much about Raleigh and plan on getting involved and making an impact. I enjoyed getting to know all of you over the last year and hope we can all stay in touch. Thanks to David and Jackie for their support over the last year as well. Lastly, I am looking forward to seeing everyone at graduation and celebrating. For those who can’t make it, let’s definitely keep in touch. 
Cheers :) ​​
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Stephen De May remembers the lessons that his father taught him.

He remembers growing up on Long Island, when his father would take him to see the World Trade Center being built.

De May also remembers what his father told him.

“My dad told me whatever job you have, do it the best way that you can because the cream always rises to the top,” he said.

His father’s lessons helped shape the leader that he has become as the North Carolina president of Duke Energy.
“My father taught me open mindedness,” said De May. “He craved the viewpoints of others.”

De May spoke at our May C-Suite Perspectives at the Embassy Suites Raleigh-Durham/Research Triangle.

He moved to North Carolina nearly four decades ago when he arrived as a student at UNC-Chapel Hill.

“I never moved back to New York,” said De May.

He and his wife bought their first house in Raleigh and got their first jobs in Raleigh, as well.

“It was our launching pad,” said De May.

As he worked his way up the corporate ladder at Duke Energy, De May always sought out different perspectives and possibilities. After all, that is what his father had told him all those years ago.

He completed an advanced management program at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The program made De May realize that successful leaders should “take comfort in their own style.”

“Look for attributes that are admirable from other leaders, but realize that you can have your own style,” he said.

De May said he realized his purpose was to help the individuals in his care achieve their objectives and to navigate them to success.

“It’s how can I help the team around me be the most successful,” he said. “Hire good people, make them accountable, and make them better. Invest in people. Invest in their development.”

We want to thank De May for sharing his valuable insight and perspectives with us. You can check out more of the conversation with De May through our official Twitter hashtag for C-Suite Perspectives, #CSuitePers.

Thank you, also, to all of the sponsors of C-Suite Perspectives. Without your support and partnership, this series would not be possible.
 
Be sure to mark June 21 on your calendar for our next C-Suite Perspectives. There, you will hear from Tom Greco, the president and chief executive officer of Advance Auto Parts. In November 2018, Advance Auto Parts announced it would be moving its corporate headquarters to Raleigh, bringing 435 new jobs and marking the first Fortune 500 company to call Wake County home. We’re excited to have Greco share his perspectives with us.
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By Spencer Lazzari
Vice President of Operations, Proforma BrandCentric Solutions

 
Last Friday, the Raleigh Young Professionals Network held its biannual service day. This year, members assisted groups such as the North Carolina Museum of Art, Read and Feed, and Marbles Kids Museum. The day started off at Carolina Café in Cameron Village. YPN members were able to get some coffee, pick up a special t-shirt, as well as chat with fellow volunteers. This was a great networking opportunity, and allowed members to meet each other before starting for the day.

Once everyone had their fill of caffeine, members dispersed to their respective events. Attendees did tasks ranging from ranking and composting, to tying glitter-filled balloons. In a poll of members who attended, many enjoyed the personal satisfaction of volunteering, as well as meeting fellow YPN members. Several members learned more about the causes they chose to assist, and at least one member even expressed an interest in volunteering with their cause more in the future.

At the end of the morning, members reconvened at Morgan Street Food Hall for lunch. This gave everyone the opportunity to further network, and try some great local restaurants. All in all, it was a phenomenal event. Next time you feel like giving back, be sure to join forces with YPN for an awesome experience. 
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Photo courtesy of Catherine Clodfelter
​By Catherine Clodfelter
Associate, Parker Poe Law Firm

Quote of the day:

 “You don’t just go viral.” - Seth Crossno

Our Leadership Raleigh 37 Media Day couldn’t have opened a more relevant month of news. Am I right?

I started out the day with a heavy dose of skepticism that I would enjoy talking about or learning about social media.  When I think of media and social media, I tend to think of going “viral,” how many followers someone has, or the “tweet.” But my Media Day epiphany is that media and social media is all about the people behind the tweet, insta, camera, or whatever comes tomorrow, and if you’re going to be a successful user of media, you can’t forget that.  Sounds obvious, but I’ll explain. 

Seth Crossno’s presentation was a serious reality check for me about two different aspects of social media.  First, you reach more people through humor.  You can use social media for any type of message, whether it be an advertisement, social commentary, or news.  But, humor delivers the message to the most people. Second, if you work in social media, and your goal is to wake up and make content, you’ve missed the point.  Seth is successful and continues to enjoy what he is doing (or appears to) because he wakes up every morning with the goal of making himself laugh, which then makes us all laugh.  He doesn’t get out of bed to create content.

As an aside, that’s a powerful observation for both social media and also what we do in our professional lives.  As a lawyer, I don’t often get to get up and have a goal of making people laugh (though it sometimes happens by accident).  I can take Seth’s comment to heart in my business, though, and I think we all can.  If you are a lawyer, and your goal is to wake up and get your motion filed with the court, you’ve missed the point.  The goal is to wake up and get the best result for your client possible. 

Our lunch panel of hosts described social media as an aid to the sports media business that is only helpful because it helps reach more people.  My take away from that panel was that social media is a necessary pain.  It has the ability to reach the most people possible.  The important cautionary tale was, if social media starts to take away time and effort from the people whose stories you are telling, you’re doing it wrong.  Once again, the point isn’t creating “content.”  If you spend so much time worrying about pushing content out that you aren’t putting something out that celebrates the stories that make you love sports, you’ve missed the point. 

Our final official stop was the ABC-11 newsroom.  For those of us who mostly sit in offices all day, this place was a playground.  I was get inspired by our panel with ABC-11 Anchors Amber Rupinta and Joel Brown to have some fun in capturing the message learned from their experiences in social media:

Listen up Triangle, they start with coiffed hair and big voices boomin’
Bringing us news, of gunshots, good deeds and bad weather loomin’
So, Triangle, in your DM’s and posts,
Show respect and love to those who care to convey to us most,
Cuz behind the glamour, microphones, and cameras rolling, everyone’s human
Photo courtesy of Catherine Clodfelter
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One of the most exciting, most personal, and potentially most daunting moments in the lives of young professionals is the moment that they decide to become first-time homeowners. No more landlord. No more rent. They are moving into a home that they can truly call their own.

For our Young Professionals Network, they would choose to become first-time homeowners in one of the hottest residential real estate markets in the country.

“We talk in real estate about the average days on the market,” said Amanda Hoyle, regional director for Metrostudy. “Right now, the average time on the market for some homes in the Triangle will be calculated in hours, not days.”

Hoyle spoke at our March meeting of the Young Professionals Network at PNC Arena. The topic was tracking Triangle trends in residential real estate for 2019 and beyond.

“It’s going to remain a seller’s market for the foreseeable future,” said Hoyle. “We’re going to see bidding wars.”

She talked about why the Triangle market has been so hot, mentioning recent high-profile jobs announcements from companies including Pendo, Advance Auto Parts, and Arch Capital.

Hoyle also discussed how Forbes ranked North Carolina the No. 1 State for Doing Business.

“More millennials are choosing to go the route of buying and remodeling, rather than buying new,” said Hoyle.
She talked about how home sale prices have been increasing, as has the price of land.

“That’s making land more competitive for builders,” she said.

For those who rent, Hoyle mentioned how apartments and multi-family units are still in high demand.

“The Triangle added 21,000 new apartment units in the last five years,” she said.

Her forecast was for slower, but steady, growth in 2019 and beyond.

Hoyle then opened up a moderated discussion with three other experts, each representing a different aspect of the residential real estate business.

Ann-Cabell Baum, owner/broker of the Glenwood Agency in Raleigh, spoke from the realtor’s perspective. Amy Bonis, with the Amy Bonis Mortgage Team, spoke from the mortgage broker’s perspective. Alaina Money-Garman, the founder and CEO of Garman Homes, represented the homebuilder’s perspective.

“Building a home for someone is an honor and a privilege,” said Money-Garman. “I love my job.”

She mentioned how the biggest challenge is affordability.

Speaking about how quickly some homes move in this market, Baum said, “If something comes open inside the beltline, you need to be ready to move on it in a couple hours.”

Bonis said one thing that first-time homebuyers need to be aware of is the number of down payment assistance programs that are available in North Carolina.

As for the entire home buying process, Baum advised, “Ask questions of the agent, the lender, and the builder. Ask for a referral. Know what you’re getting yourself into. Make sure your agent is smart and have them walk you through the process.”

We would like to thank all of our speakers for their great insight and stories that they shared. To see more about the discussion, check out our official event hashtag on Twitter, #RaleighYPN. We also want to thank our sponsors who made this event and other YPN meetings such a success.

Please join us on May 16 for our next meeting of the Young Professionals Network. We will learn about planes, trains, and automobiles in Raleigh. Hear from top experts in the Triangle about what’s coming down the pipeline to improve traffic, advance public transportation, and…

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