(Times/Topics are Subject to Change | Last Updated Dec. 13, 2017)

2018 Emerging Issues Forum

February 5, 2018
Raleigh Convention Center
8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


Join us on Monday, February 5, 2018 at the Raleigh Convention Center! Network with leaders and learners from every North Carolina sector, region, and perspective. We welcome stakeholders and all members of the general public. Hear from leading national and local experts in business, early childhood, economic development, education, finance and government – all sharing practical “hands-on” information and tools on how to design, implement and fund childhood initiatives that make a difference in your local community!

Morning | Money Ball: An Investment Plan for Our Kids


8:00 – 8:15 a.m. | Welcome

8:15 – 9:05 a.m. | Charting a Path Forward: Blue Ribbon Commission Findings (Panel Discussion)

Blue Ribbon Commission Chairs and BRC Members

  • Senator Chad Barefoot
  • Jim Hansen, Regional President, PNC Bank
  • Brenda Howerton, President, NC Association of County Commissioners


9:05 – 9:40 a.m. | Financing for Impact: The Role of Large-Scale Private Capital

  • Audrey Choi, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer, Morgan Stanley

9:40 – 10:15 a.m. | Foundational Growth: Enhancing Local Philanthropy

Speaker TBA

10:15 – 10:30 a.m. | Break & Networking

10:30 – 11:15 a.m. | Building Blocks for Kids: Federal Support for Early Childhood

Speaker(s) TBA

11:15 – 11:40 a.m. | Perspectives from the Executive Branch 

11:40 a.m. | Break for Lunch (provided)

Afternoon | Reinforcing The Case For Early Childhood Investment


12:15 – 12:45 p.m. | Investing in Kids: A National Imperative

       Lunch Speaker TBA

12:45 – 1:35 p.m. | American Business Speaks Up for Kids
(Panel Discussion)                        

  • Jim Goodnight, Co-Founder and CEO, SAS
  • Vanessa Harrison, President, AT&T North Carolina
  • Jim Hansen, Regional President, PNC Bank

1:35 – 2:25 p.m. | Policy 101 for Kids: A View from Jones Street (Panel Discussion)

Speakers:  Members from the General Assembly TBA
     MODERATOR:  Marc Rotterman

2:25 – 2:40 p.m. | Policies that Work for North Carolina Business

  • Speaker TBA

2:40 – 2:55 p.m. | Break & Networking

Afternoon Closing | Talent Levers for North Carolina’s Future


This year, after a morning of panels and speakers, you will have the opportunity to immerse yourself in one of two afternoon “tracks” to discuss “Talent Levers for North Carolina’s Future.” (You will have the option to select either Track I or Track II during the registration process.)

2:55 – 4:35 p.m. |  TRACK I

  • Health & Wellness: Lifelong Benefits & Long-Term Cost Savings
    • Carolyn S. Langer, Chief Medical Officer, MassHealth; Co-Chair, Massachusetts Child Health Quality Coalition
    • David Olds, Director, Research Center for Family and Child Health, University of Colorado Denver; Founder, Nurse-Family Partnership


  • Early Education: First Steps & The Path to Success
    • Nicole Gardner-Neblet, Advanced Research Scientist, Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute, UNC-Chapel Hill
    • Hedy Nai-Lin Chang, Executive Director, Attendance Works
    • Brian Sickora, Executive Director and General Manager, UNC-TV


2:55 – 4:35 p.m. |  TRACK II

  • Enhancing the Bottom Line: Family-Friendly Business Policies That Work

Hosted by Blue Cross NC and the North Carolina Early Childhood Foundation




Business Smart. Family Friendly. Future Ready.

Businesses of all sizes can lead the way when it comes to supporting children’s healthy development with the added benefits of improving productivity, reducing absenteeism and attracting and keeping top talent.

Join Blue Cross NC and the NC Early Childhood Foundation for a breakout session that will feature:

  • NC business leaders from a range of industries and sizes sharing the challenges and opportunities they face in offering family-friendly policies that provide an economic advantage.
  • New insights into the landscape of family-friendly policies offered by businesses in the state, and the motivations and barriers leaders say they face.

Attendees will learn how:

  • Family-friendly workplaces provide a competitive advantage in attracting and retaining talent, increasing productivity and employee satisfaction and reducing absenteeism.
  • Family-friendly policies are not just about paid leave. There are a range of doable actions businesses of all sizes can take.
  • Workplaces that support parents have a direct impact on their children’s health, well-being and future academic and career achievement. Family-friendly workplaces provide an immediate payoff and long-term gains, hence “Business Smart. Family Friendly. Future Ready.”

4:35 – 4:50 p.m. | Break & Networking – Return to Main Gallery

4:50 – 5:15 p.m. | Closing Remarks

Speaker TBA

5:30 p.m. | Day One Ends

February 6, 2018
Duke Energy Hall, Hunt Library
NC State’s Centennial Campus
8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.


Join us on Tuesday, February 6, 2018 at Hunt Library on NC State University’s Centennial Campus for a series of “hands-on” workshops on the nuts and bolts of local early childhood development work. We will be combining national experts with local practitioners to provide the training framework for leaders to begin the process of implementing many of the strategies identified from Day One of the Emerging Issues Forum. Space is limited for Day Two!

A Primer on Local Early Childhood Capacity


8:00 – 8:30 a.m. | Plenary

8:30 – 8:45 a.m. | Break

WORKSHOPS (Two sets of the same concurrent sessions (1 hr. 15 mins. each session.)

8:45 – 10:00 a.m. | Workshop Session I

10:00 – 10:20 a.m. | Break

10:20 – 11:35 a.m. | Workshop Session II

11:35 – 11:45 a.m. | Break

11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. | Closing Session

12:30 p.m. | Day Two Ends

Listing of Workshops available during Sessions I and II:


1. Starting on a Shoestring:  Implementing programs on a limited budget is doable! In this workshop, local leaders will learn about the effective/novel use of existing talent and resources; innovative and cost effective partnering solutions; and effective coordination and streamlined governance to accomplish more with limited resources.

Organizer:  Elizabeth Gaines, Forum for Youth Investment

2. Communications and Engagement:  Successfully navigating early childhood systems can be challenging. This workshop will focus on effective strategies for collaboration, leadership models, strategic communications, as well as outreach and engagement challenges and their solutions.

Organizer:  TBA

3. Issues in Program Selection and Implementation:  One of the biggest impediments to successful early childhood systems improvement is figuring out what programs to implement and how to successfully implement them. This workshop will focus on evidence-based program selection, and fidelity in implementation.

Organizer:  Oscar Fleming and Laura Louison, National Implementation Research Network, (at the) Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute

4. Effectively Using Data to Drive Your Effort:  Data is the center piece of any successful early childhood initiative. In this workshop, participants will learn how to find the data you need, how to drive learning, adaptation and improvement.

Organizer:  Kim McCombs-Thornton, NC Partnership for Children

5. Working Effectively Across Organizations:  Managing the activities of partner organizations is the hallmark of all collective impact work. In this workshop you will learn about governance/leadership, aligning activities, effective coordination, communications networks, and how to effectively deploy backbone organizations to accomplish it all.

Organizer:  Janice Gruendel, Institute for Child Success

6. Building Public Will to Finance Early Learning:  Financing is by far the biggest hurdle in launching an early childhood initiative. Experts will provide information on the different local revenue streams available to local communities, offer tools to assess your community’s readiness levels, and feature insights on the strategies other communities have used to secure revenue streams available under existing law.

Organizer:  Tracy Zimmerman and Lisa Finaldi, NC Early Childhood Foundation