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Director's Log

Interim Director’s Log | November 2022

Sarah Langer Hall headshot
IEI Interim Director Sarah Langer Hall

Top Ten of Thanks

If you are like us at the Institute for Emerging Issues, the season of “Mayvember” has been a blur of activity. We’ve traveled across the state and back, started new projects while scaling others, and developed new partnerships while nurturing existing relationships. There’s been so much going on, it’s a good time to take a moment to reflect on what I’ve most appreciated about our work this past year. So here it is, an unsolicited list of gratitude to kick off this holiday season:

  1. Getting to see people again, outside of a virtual box, and in-person. Nothing beats it!
  2. The nearly 350 local leaders who came together, across eight regional meetings over four months, to support regional efforts to boost educational attainment. 
  3. Our partners. They help fill our gaps, and in return, we help fill theirs. 
  4. An army of Change Agents with lived experience and systems expertise who shared their ideas to remove barriers that keep underrepresented workers from connecting, engaging and growing in the workforce. Learn more and continue the conversation at the February 13, 2023 Emerging Issues Forum: Talent First Economics. Register here.
  5. The 64 North Carolina counties that adopted a digital inclusion plan, are in the process of completing a plan, or are in the early stages of getting started. Help us achieve our goal of digital inclusion plans in all 100 counties by supporting our #GivingTuesday campaign. All donations will be matched (if IEI raises $250,000) thanks to the generous support of The John M. Belk Endowment!
  6. Our incredible funders who support our work year after year with your resources and thought partnership. Your support is allowing us to build organizational capacity to support educational attainment, bring diverse voices to the Emerging Issues Forum, build regional networks, expand digital equity and so much more.  
  7. To all of the people across the state who work tirelessly day in and day out to build and bridge connections in their communities. We were able to recognize just 22 of them earlier this year (on 2/22/22, or TwosDay) but there are thousands more. I am thankful for each and every one of you.
  8. For NC State’s commitment to being a “diverse, equitable, and inclusive community that has a transformative impact on society and advances the greater good.” It’s great to be part of a community with such vision alignment! 
  9. For celebrating 20 years as an organization! And thanks to the Kenan Institute for Engineering, Technology and Science (KIETS) at NC State for chartering us into existence (and by the way, congratulations to KIETS on celebrating 30 years!)
  10. The incredible team at IEI. A leadership transition can be challenging for so many reasons, but here we are, nearly eight months later, and we are achieving all we set out to do. In my 21 years of public service, I can honestly say that I have never worked with a staff and board so committed to this state and its communities. 

And for that, I am truly grateful.