(updated Feb. 6, 2017)

2017 Focus Forum

February 7, 2017
Duke Energy Hall, Hunt Library
NC State’s Centennial Campus
8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.



8:00 – 8:15 a.m. Welcome

Chancellor Randy Woodson, North Carolina State University
Leslie Boney, Director, Institute for Emerging Issues

Jack Cecil, Chair, Institute for Emerging Issues National Advisory Board; President, Biltmore Farms LLC

8:15 – 8:30 a.m. The Challenge of Our Time

Governor James B. Hunt, Jr. Chair Emeritus, Institute for Emerging Issues National Advisory Board

8:30 – 8:50 a.m. The Case for Early Childhood Development

Charles Bowman, Market President, North Carolina and Charlotte, Bank of America

8:50 – 9:00 a.m. The Business Case for Early Learning

Susan Gates, Special Advisor on Education, SAS

9:00 – 9:30 a.m. The Value of Early Childhood Education: Some Perspective from Higher Education

Kartik Athreya, Executive VP, Director of Research, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond

9:30 – 9:40 a.m. Q&A

9:40 – 10:20 a.m. The Importance of Early Childhood to Life Development & Success

Nathan Fox, Distinguished Professor; Chair, Developmental Science, University of Maryland

10:20 – 10:50 a.m. NC Trends, Inequities, Patterns & Gaps

Ellen S. Peisner-Feinberg, Senior Research Scientist, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, UNC-Chapel Hill

10:50 – 11:00 a.m. Break

11:00 – 11:10 a.m. Healthy Families, Healthy North Carolina                         

Fara Palumbo, Senior VP and Chief Human Resources Officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina

11:10 – 11:35 a.m. The Fiscal Effects of Investing in Early Childhood

Rob Grunewald, Economist, Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

11:35 a.m. – 12:25 p.m. Panel #1: The Local Sandbox: A View From NC Communities

Donnie Charleston, Economic Policy Manager, Institute for Emerging Issues (moderator)
Page Lemel, 
Vice Chair, Transylvania County Board of Commissioners
Corina Knott, Chair, Greater Smithfield-Selma Area Chamber of Commerce; Board Member, Partnership for Children of Johnston County
Lee Worsley, Executive Director, Triangle J Council of Governments

Pat Litzinger, Assistant District Superintendent, Harbor District, North Carolina Conference of United Methodist Church; Point Person, Congregations for Children

12:25 – 1:20 p.m. Lunch

1:20 – 2:05 p.m. Panel #2: The Policy Landscape: Who Benefits, and Who Pays?

Tom Campbell, Creator, Executive Producer and Moderator, NC SPIN (moderator)
Katharine Stevens,
 Resident Scholar, Education Policy Studies, American Enterprise Institute
Elaine Weiss, National Coordinator, Broader Bolder Approach to Education, Economic Policy Institute
Secretary Larry D. Hall, Veteran and Military Affairs; Former House Minority Leader, Representative, NC General Assembly, District 29

Senator Ralph Hise, NC General Assembly, District 47

2:05 – 2:15 p.m. Q&A 

2:15 – 2:45 p.m. What’s the Payoff? Implications for Site Selection and Job Growth

Kate McEnroe, National Economic Development & Site Selection Expert

2:45 – 3:30 p.m. Panel #3: A Call to Action: Local Community Responses

Kathy Higgins, President, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation; VP, BCBSNC Corporate Affairs (moderator)
Michelle Hughes, 
Executive Director, NC Child
Jamie Kilpatrick, Associate Manager, Public Consulting Group
Zulayka Santiago, Director, NC Oral Health Collaborative

David Reese, President and CEO, East Durham Children’s Initiative

3:30 – 3:40 p.m. Break

3:40 – 4:00 p.m. The Road Ahead: NC’s Best Bets for Early Childhood

Tracy Zimmerman, Executive Director, NC Early Childhood Foundation

4:00 – 4:10 p.m. Q&A

4:10 – 5:00 p.m. Audience Engagement Activity

5:00 – 5:20 p.m. Prioritizing Our State’s Future

Governor Roy Cooper

5:20 – 5:30 Closing Remarks

Jack Cecil, Chair, Institute for Emerging Issues National Advisory Board