Skip to main content
Director's Log

Director’s Log | May 2024

Sarah Hall headshot
IEI Director Sarah Hall

The transition from April to May is interesting when you work on a college campus. One day the buildings and hallways are bustling with students going to and from classes, study sessions and exams; the next day, the buildings are quiet and the hallways, benches and tables are empty, signaling the end of another academic year.

This year, our team was fortunate to once again have an incredible group of talented student interns who supported all aspects of our work. Of our six interns, three have graduated and are moving into the next phase of their professional careers. Congratulations to Freya Dahlgren (Meredith College), Adam Sichel (NC State) and Brodie Smith (NC State)! We appreciate the work you – and our other 23-24 interns Crystal Leung, Eva McDonald and Pallavi Patil – have done to support our team and our state throughout the year. Finally, I’d also like to take a moment to congratulate long-time Emerging Issues Forum Volunteer Cherish Thrash on graduating from UNC Wilmington! 

This summer we’ve also been hard at work finalizing the details for IEI’s first Digital Opportunities Gathering, which will bring practitioners, funders and community members together to share knowledge, best practices and innovative solutions surrounding digital inclusion. Registration for the June 4 event is closed. If you missed out on a seat, join us virtually via livestream on YouTube, Facebook or LinkedIn. We hope to see you either in Flat Rock or virtually for this first-of-its-kind event for North Carolina! PS-if you run into our Director of Community Initiatives Samantha Graham be sure to congratulate her on receiving a 2024 40 Under 40 Award from the Triangle Business Journal!

In keeping with the teamwork theme, earlier this month we held our second annual “Sharpen Our Saw” (SOS) week. We all have busy schedules, so it is important to carve out dedicated time to celebrate our successes and spend time together as a team. SOS week allowed for staff to have open discussions and time for reflection work while also focusing on learning new skills to meet the needs of the future. Thank you to the City of Raleigh Parks Department for hosting us at Lake Johnson!

Finally, I want to take a moment to provide an update on the work we’re doing to prepare for the 2025 Emerging Issues Forum on energy. Several weeks ago, we convened approximately 25 experts in the energy issue space to discuss the challenges our state is facing and how our team at IEI can add value through our work surrounding the 2025 forum. It was an important discussion filled with tremendous information and insights into North Carolina’s energy landscape. Our next steps include using the takeaways from the discussion to start shaping the intended outcomes of the program of work surrounding the forum. We will also convene a formal Energy Infrastructure Advisory Council to assist in this work. Stay tuned for more updates!