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First in Future: Leadership North Carolina President Brian Etheridge


Brian Etheridge, the president of Leadership North Carolina, each year finds a new crop of 50-some individuals from business, nonprofits, education and government and feeds them a firehouse of information on North Carolina history, government, education, economic development, health and human services and the environment. They learn together, work on projects together and then figure out what to do next with all that information. This week we talked with Brian about growing up in rural North Carolina, the importance of listening, the hardest job he ever had, how leaders translate information into action and how food might be the solution to some of the state’s trickiest political disagreements.

This installment of First in Future is part of a special TV series produced in collaboration with UNC-TV, and recorded in UNC-TV’s Legislative Studio in downtown Raleigh. Taped segments will air on the North Carolina Channel. Visit for specific air dates.

Excerpts:  “I think it is important to have an awareness of where we are from and what we bring to the table, but also be willing to listen to where other folks are from and their… different experiences and how that shapes all of us.”

“As big as this state is geographically, it is still a small town.”

Book recommendations:  River of Doubt by Candice Millard

What key issues should we be working on within the next couple of years to make North Carolina a better place?   One of the greatest challenges facing us is legislative representation and the growing and shifting population – and how we reconcile the two to be as fair as possible.

What do we need to focus on to be ready for the next 20 years? Collaborating across ideological and geographic boundaries – and learning to play in the same sandbox with one another.

Next great North Carolinian to watch?  Lisa Yebuah, a pastor at Edenton Street United Methodist Church, and Nation Hahn with Education NC and the Jamie Kirk Hahn Foundation.

Listen to the podcast: