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Director's Log

Director’s Log | August 2023

Sarah Langer Hall headshot
IEI Director Sarah Langer Hall

Once again, summer has gone by in a flash and it’s time to welcome students back to campus. This year, IEI was invited to greet incoming graduate students at NC State’s Graduate School orientation. We shared information about what we do at IEI and asked about the emerging issues that matter to them and their communities. I look forward to seeing the partnerships we build with students and the greater university community this year!

IEI staff greeted incoming graduate students at NC State’s Graduate School orientation.

Speaking of students, I’m happy to welcome two new student interns to Team IEI: Adam Sichel, who will be working with our communications team; and Pallavi Patel, our new Hunt Intern. They’ll join current interns Crystal Leung (graphic design) and Brodie Smith (public policy) who will continue to work with IEI this academic year. 

Also recently joining our team are Jess Epsten, project specialist with BAND-NC; and Juan Isler, finance and operations specialist. Please join me in welcoming Jess and Juan to Team IEI!

This was a busy summer at IEI. In addition to growing our team while continuing to support communities and connections across the state through our programs, we also presented the Talent First Economics Task Force Recommendations Report to several groups, including the NCWorks Commission and the American Manufacturing Communities Collaborative, with more scheduled for the coming weeks and months. If you would like for a member of our team to come and present the recommendations to your group, fill out this interest form

IEI Director Sarah Hall moderated a panel on workforce engagement at the American Manufacturing Communities Collaborative NC roadshow.

Of course, Talent First Economics doesn’t end with the publication of the recommendations report. Starting in September, members of our Talent First Economics Community Cohort will put recommendations to action through a series of regional action planning meetings this fall. Stay tuned for more information! 

Now that summer is almost behind us, we’re ramping up efforts for the 2024 Emerging Issues Forum, Weathering Financial Storms: A Resilient Future for North Carolina Families. The forum will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2024, and will examine financial resilience—the ability for families and households to financially withstand and recover from economic challenges. Registration opens this fall. Sign up for future updates.

IEI Assistant Director Pat Cronin, program lead for the 2024 Emerging Issues Forum, is doing a lot of deep thinking about the topic of financial resilience.

Finally, I can’t end a summer wrap up without putting in one more plug for IEI’s Summer Camp! Our first virtual session on Ripple Effect Mapping with NC State Extension took place on Aug. 17. Attendees participated in a REM exercise and saw how the evaluation process can help measure the effects of programs locally. If you missed the first session, don’t fret! The same information will be presented on Thursday, Aug. 31. Register and learn more on our website

As we plan for our future, we’ve also been evaluating how we gather as an organization and how we convene others. In the spirit of continuous learning, our team has been inspired by author and facilitator, Priya Parker. We are implementing her lessons to revamp our gatherings, both large and small, to ensure that they are effective and meet the needs and expectations of attendees. I hope you’ll notice a difference as you meet with us in the coming months!

IEI staffers Davina, Ellen & Samantha met facilitator & author Priya Parker at Duke Divinity School’s Convocation on the Rural Church in August. IEI staff read Priya’s book, The Art of Gathering, earlier this year as a team building book club!