For Alicia James, public policy is about understanding people’s stories, which is why the former undergrad English major fits right in as she begins her next career chapter at the Institute for Emerging Issues as a policy and program manager.
The master’s degree in public administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill helps as well, as does her decade-plus experience in local and state government budget offices, where she’s worked as a budget analyst, helping communities prioritize and organize their funding.
“Budget analysis touches every part of the community,” James said. “It’s not just the investment of money, it’s the investment into the community.”
Now, James is excited to help IEI invest in North Carolina, in a position that will take her across the spectrum of the Institute’s programs, from increasing the state’s civic involvement to reconnecting rural and urban communities.
James’ budget analyst experience provides a solid foundation for her IEI work. Her years working in government make her unafraid of tough issues and used to “working in the gray.”
She’s also attuned to quickly discerning a community’s needs, and then casting a critical eye on what works and what doesn’t.
These skills start with being able to hear people’s stories, and really listen to what they have to say.
A passion for narrative and people is what first drew James, a Baltimore native, to the Tar Heel State. She studied English as a UNC-CH undergrad, and she still likes to read and write creatively, though as a working mother of a three-year-old, she doesn’t always have a lot of time.
“English is about communicating with people and the world around you,” James said.
When James isn’t working she likes to travel, hike—Umstead Park’s a favorite—and spend time with her husband and son. She lives close by in Southwest Raleigh and looks forward to calling NC State her home away from home.
IEI is excited to welcome Alicia to our team. We know she’ll be a valuable asset as we continue to tell the tales that help move our great state forward.