Vinroot and Brown-Graham Selected as Influencers in McClatchy News Series

Former Charlotte Mayor and Foundation Board Member Richard Vinroot

In June 2018, Sara Glines, the publisher of the News & Observer announced the North Carolina Influencer Series as coverage of the 2018 election. Along with the Charlotte Observer and the Herald-Sun, the News & Observer assembled sixty North Carolinians to be a part of the series, including School faculty member and ncIMPACT director Anita Brown-Graham and former Charlotte mayor and Foundation board member Richard Vinroot.

“We have assembled 60 North Carolinians who will discuss the issues and engage in a thoughtful conversation over the next five months until Election Day. They represent all parts of our community,” wrote Glines in announcing the series.

The first question posed to the “Influencers,” “What is the single biggest challenge our leaders must confront to secure a better future for North Carolina?”

Richard Vinroot, partner at Robinson Bradshaw and a member of the School’s Foundation board of directors responded, “They [elected officials] must try to find common ground in an era of hyper-partisanship in which most of them are being elected in carefully-gerrymandered districts, and upon election will serve in governing bodies in which they and almost everyone else there will likely identify their constituents and their political interests in ‘red’ or ‘blue’ terms. And, they must do so at a time in which much of politics (and media/Internet coverage thereof) seems to be more about ‘style’ and ‘gotcha’ moments than substance. Here’s hoping we find and elect the right people to confront these challenges!”

Anita Brown-Graham answered, “The future of work is here. We are creating jobs; but, ncIMPACT’s engagement with over 100 North Carolina leaders indicates they are worried that the skills of too many N.C. residents have not kept up with the intense market volatility brought on by new business models, the speed at which technology is disrupting every industry, and the consequent, ever-changing, demands of the job market.”

Brown-Graham recently led a summit to convene employers and workforce development professionals to discuss strategies for a tightening labor market.  To learn more about ncIMPACT and its research around workforce development, visit

To follow the North Carolina Influencers Series, visit or follow the hashtag #NCInfluencers.