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Director's Log

Director’s Log | November 2023

Sarah Langer Hall headshot
IEI Director Sarah Langer Hall

As the holiday season officially kicks off, we’re celebrating our own season here at IEI: Forum registration season! On Nov. 1, we opened registration for the 2024 Emerging Issues Forum, Weathering Financial Storms: A Resilient Future for North Carolina Families. The Feb. 13 event will examine financial resilience: the ability of households to financially withstand and recover from economic challenges. Our team is developing a great agenda and we are excited to have award-winning personal finance columnist Michelle Singletary join us as our keynote speaker! Get your tickets at

November was another exciting month for Team IEI. In addition to opening registration for the forum, we continued to meet with leaders and community members across the state. On Nov. 8 we participated in the Talent First Economics Community Cohort Western Mountain Region team’s A3 Educational Symposium at UNC Asheville where local business, government and education leaders were able to learn about programs that are moving the region’s educational attainment and workforce development goals forward. Check out this recap of the symposium from our communications intern Adam Sichel. 

On Nov. 16, I had the honor of discussing IEI’s work surrounding educational attainment and workforce development with leaders from Alamance County. Our Faith and Community team continued to hold peer network groups throughout the month with faith leaders to connect them to resources surrounding rural broadband, and health and wellness. And finally, members of our BAND-NC team met with farmers and members of the agriculture community at the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Sustainable Agriculture Conference Nov. 11-12 in Durham. In all, it was a productive month!

As we spend the upcoming weeks visiting with loved ones and reflecting on the year, conflict around more than just your family’s NFL rivalry can bubble to the surface. I recently spoke with MDC Inc.’s Calvin Allen and Kathryn Gaasch on The Connector Podcast about ways to navigate difficult conversations at the holidays. They provide excellent tips and tricks that are applicable at any time of year, and I appreciate them taking the time out of their busy schedules to share their expertise. 

On behalf of the entire IEI team, have a safe, happy and healthy holiday season!