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Interim Director’s Log | April 2022

Sarah Langer Hall headshot

A Time of New Beginnings

For me, spring has always been a time of reflection and new opportunities. There is something about the longer days, warmer weather and vibrant colors that inspire me to be my most creative and empower me to try new things. The author Leo Tolstoy once said that “Spring is the time of plans and projects,” and that certainly rings true for me. It’s the perfect time to begin my new role as IEI’s interim director and I am honored to serve you all.

But there’s a lot more to celebrate this season! ICYMI, IEI’s current director, Leslie Boney, is set to retire from NC State on May 1 and several of his colleagues from across his career came together April 6 to celebrate him. IEI’s Development Director Tony Reevy also celebrated 30 years of public service this month and shared some insights on his time with the state. We’re grateful to Suzanne Walsh, Bennett College President, for joining IEI’s National Advisory Board and bringing her vast experience to our work. We’re also very proud of our two talented student interns graduating from NC State next month. Hunt Intern Shevani Mehta is heading to law school this fall and Digital Inclusion Intern Zoë Walker has already landed a job with a broadband startup and begins next month. 

Two women stand together on a patio, smiling
Digital Inclusion Intern Zoë Walker and Hunt Intern Shevani Mehta will be graduating from NC State University this spring.

Amidst all this change, our programs aren’t missing a beat. 

  • We recently released a compilation of resources from the 2022 Emerging Issues Forum on educational attainment. Planning is underway for our summer regional meetings on the topic.
  • We are launching activities in support of our upcoming Forum, such as co-hosting the spring NC Association of Workforce Development Board meeting next month.
  • We continue to explore the concept of resilience – past, present, and future –  within the context of an individual, household experience and are seeking stories from across the state. Learn more and share your experience with us.
  • We continue to support rural faith leaders and their communities with peer and place-based networks and interest groups. This activity includes hosting weekly lunchtime virtual meet-ups and monthly virtual network gatherings as well as co-hosting regular in-person convenings with partners.
  • We are excited to fund another round of communities to develop digital inclusion plans! We are also supporting BAND-NC digital inclusion planning kick-off events for Foothills Regional Commission and Southwestern Commission as part of our Dogwood Health Trust funded Western NC digital inclusion project.

This year marks my twelfth spring with IEI and I’m energized and optimistic about our future. Thanks for following our journey – we can’t wait to show you what’s next!