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Director's Log

Director’s Log | January 2023

Sarah Langer Hall headshot
IEI Director Sarah Langer Hall

Help Wanted: Join Our Team of Change Agents

A new year marks new beginnings, and I’m excited to start 2023 as the next director of the Institute for Emerging Issues. After working with IEI for 12 years and serving as interim director for the last eight months, I’m honored to lead this organization as we bring people together across perspectives and backgrounds to tackle North Carolina’s most critical policy issues.

I wouldn’t be here today without the support of our staff and the leadership of IEI’s two most recent directors, Anita Brown-Graham and Leslie Boney. They continually stretched, supported and mentored me over the years, and ultimately shaped me into the leader I am today. I thank them for their guidance, open doors and friendship.

My first goal as director is to host a successful 2023 Emerging Issues Forum on February 13. This isn’t a goal that gets checked off a list once the event is over. My goal is that the collective work of everyone who has been involved with this initiative – the task force, community cohort, and others too numerous to list here – will bring forth long-term change and support for those seeking new employment opportunities and engaging in the workplace.

Meeting the needs of our state’s workforce is a topic I’ve wanted to address since I first came to IEI. Barriers to employment impact more than just the ability to earn a paycheck. As a volunteer Guardian ad Litem in Wake County, I have observed how barriers to employment, such as a lack of reliable transportation, can have a heart wrenching ripple effect on parents and children.

Through Talent First Economics, we are putting the needs of underrepresented employees first. If you’re curious about how this applies in the real world, I encourage you to join us at the 2023 Forum. This year’s event is more than just a conference. You have the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than just you or your organization; to help shape a menu of actionable recommendations that can be adopted at the individual, community and state-wide levels. 

Registration for the 2023 Emerging Issues Forum closes on February 6. Tickets are $295 for general registration and $50 for students. Additionally, through the generosity of our sponsors, we are able to offer scholarships to those who identify cost as a barrier to attending. 

I’m not the only one who has taken on a new title recently. Members of our task force, community cohort, our partners and staff have all embraced the title of “Change Agent” through our work with Talent First Economics. 

Change agents are catalysts and advocates for bringing about new ways of doing things. I hope you will join us as change agents in support of all North Carolinians seeking to enter and stay engaged in the workforce. 

See you on February 13 at the 2023 Emerging Issues Forum.