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Director's Log

Director’s Log | January 2024

Sarah Langer Hall headshot
IEI Director Sarah Langer Hall

Happy New Year! By the time you read this, we’ll be a few weeks away from the 2024 Emerging Issues Forum. The halls of IEI are bustling this time of year as our team works diligently on the final details of our pinnacle event. 

We’ve got an incredible lineup of speakers on a topic that truly impacts all North Carolinians: household financial resilience. What makes the forum unique, however, is that the expertise comes from speakers and participants alike. In addition to opportunities to network, share and learn, we’ll also introduce a draft Roadmap to Financial Resilience and solicit participant feedback to incorporate in the final version. 

If you haven’t attended an Emerging Issues Forum before, view this video from last year to get a taste of what we are all about. I hope to see you there on Feb. 13! Tickets are available at

With the new year comes new staff members to Team IEI. We are thrilled to welcome Tarik Woods to the team as our new policy and program manager. Expect to hear a lot from Tarik in the coming year as he works on our next Emerging Issues Forum. We also have two new student workers joining our staff this semester: Freya Dahlgren and Eva McDonald. Freya will be assisting our Faith and Community team, and Eva will be working closely on our Community Initiatives team. Welcome Tarik, Freya and Eva! 

As we continue to grow our team, we are also making strides towards our internal goal of increasing engagement with groups that represent the population of North Carolina to understand how emerging issues are impacting them and their ideas for addressing them.

Before I wrap this up, I want to take a moment to acknowledge the amazing work of our BAND-NC team to bring us closer to our landmark goal of all 100 counties in North Carolina having a digital inclusion plan in place. As we work toward achieving this goal, we must harness this momentum to support North Carolina and the nation in new and meaningful ways. The Dogwood Health Trust recently described digital access as a “super determinant” of health, and I couldn’t agree more. Equitable economic prosperity and wellbeing across the state will not be achieved without it. This year our team will work with key stakeholders to consider how IEI can best leverage our strengths to advance this work beyond planning. I hope you’ll join us in this process.

For now, we’ll see you at the forum!