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As the year draws to a close, I am pleased to provide the following visual summary of the progress we made at Trust Across America-Trust Around the World in 2023. For more information please visit our website at or reach out directly to me at

#1 Trust Across America’s Trust 200 Index Continues to Outperform the S&P 500 over time (12 years)

#2 Over 180,000 Have Tapped Into Trust

#3 Over 700 Have Taken Our 1 Question “Quiz” Identifying the Behaviors Weakening Workplace Trust

Feel free to reach out with questions or comments. Best wishes for more trust in 2024.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel, Founder

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Recently, I presented at a conference for leaders running businesses with participants from over one hundred and fifty countries.  Having spoken on trust in more than fifty-eight countries on-site—and in even more virtually—I’ve noticed that although every culture is beautifully unique and different, there is one common thread that runs through them all: trust.  Regardless of the setting or the circumstances, each culture and country is shaped by trust – or the lack thereof. Every society, organization, team, group, and family functions well only to the degree there is trust.  Indeed, it can be said that trust “makes our world go ‘round.” 

If it feels like your world isn’t going ‘round right now, or it’s going slower than you’d like, I recommend looking at trust first.  The reality is, that low trust is almost always the root of the problem – or the most impeding barrier to the solution.  Indeed, most organizational performance issues are really trust issues in disguise.

Never before has the impact of low trust been more prevalent or apparent. More and more we see examples of this play out on the news, as well as in our own organizations, communities, and neighborhoods. On top of that, we have more research and data on how trust drives performance available at our fingertips than at any other time in history.  We know this is important. And yet, deliberately moving the needle on trust, which is vital for everyone and everywhere, continues to present an enormous challenge.  Why is that? 

Trust the Noun

For me, it begins with understanding what Trust means. Trust as a noun is both complex and eye-opening. 

Take for example, this exercise that I invite teams and audiences to participate in when I speak on this topic. Consider the statement below: 

It is possible to have two trustworthy people working together and to have no trust between them.

Take a few moments to ponder the significance of that statement, because in all my years of teaching trust, this is perhaps one of the most profound insights I’ve learned. 

Read it again.  What stands out to you? 

The idea that you can have two trustworthy people working together and also have no trust between them continues to be one of the biggest challenges I run into when working with people— regardless of the situation. Whether it be on a team, between teams, in an organization, in the relationship between partners and customers, or even just on a personal level, this problem comes up again and again. 

It exhibits itself as misalignment between departments, a lack of collaboration, weak retention, lethargic execution, an inability to innovate, and formation of silos.  It becomes greatly magnified in the context of nearly every form of organizational change. It becomes a silent stumbling block on the road to innovation and progress.  Have you experienced this or seen it in your own organization? The majority of people can relate to the frustration that comes hand in hand with low trust. 

However, the statement I shared is only part of the insight.  Take a moment to consider the completed message:

It is possible to have two trustworthy people working together and to have no trust between them . . . if neither person is willing to extend trust to the other. 

When most people think about trust, they simply think about trustworthiness – the level at which someone can be relied upon or trusted. Although insufficient by itself, trustworthiness is still a good place to start because it’s difficult to have real, meaningful trust between people when one or both parties isn’t worthy of it. 

But here’s the kicker: in my experience, our most significant challenge is not a lack of trustworthy people. Everywhere you go, you can find good, honest, trustworthy people to work with. So, that is less often the issue. Rather, the bigger challenge is trustworthy people who do not extend trust to other trustworthy people. Those same good, honest, trustworthy people are often the ones who find it hardest to give trust to others. 

I can’t tell you how many leaders I’ve worked with who are credible and authentic, who care deeply about both their work and their people, who are excited and eager to make a difference for their organization – and yet who just can’t seem to extend trust, or enough trust for it to really matter.  They are trustworthy but are not trusting.  Both dimensions are vital. And because trusting is reciprocal, it goes both ways: employees and team members who are distrusted by their leaders learn to withhold trust from those same leaders. And the cycle and impacts of low trust continue onward. To achieve Trust in its ultimate noun form, we must have both components present and operating – trustworthiness and trusting. 

The Good News

Although your organization might not currently be operating at the level of trust you want, I believe this insight provides hope that it can. If our teams and organizations really are full of trustworthy people, it means there is enormous potential waiting for us on just the other side of a meaningful extension of trust. There are enormous benefits we have yet to reap if we shift our focus from not only being trustworthy but also to being trusting.

Gail McGovern, twice named one of the “50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America” by Fortune Magazine, is a model of being trusting.  When she became CEO of The American Red Cross, she inherited a $209 million operating deficit, along with a Board mandate to eliminate said deficit within two years. On top of that, she was the 10th CEO of the prior decade. Walking into the struggling non-profit and assuming trustworthiness at scale may not have been the most natural position to take.

Knowing the difficult circumstances the organization faced, and how temporary the CEO role had been, Gail arranged a series of town hall meetings around the country—what she called a “listening tour”—with the intent to listen to and connect with employees as a foundation of developing a turnaround plan.  During one such meeting, an employee bravely asked the question on everyone’s mind, point blank: “Gail, you’re new and we’ve gone through a lot of leaders.  How do we know if we can trust you?”

Gail responded thoughtfully, “You’ll have to decide that for yourself but I certainly believe you’ll find in me someone you can trust.”  Then she leaned in and emphatically declared to everyone in the room, “But let me tell you that I trust each and every one of you.

This was an easy thing to say yet hard to do.  But Gail meant it.  She was trustworthy when she arrived, bringing with her an excellent track record, but that wasn’t what inspired her employees to trust her. It was her early decision to practice trusting others that people responded to powerfully.  This strong start inspired her people and helped them to buy into her plan and vision for the organization. This unified front served them well as they were able to eliminate the deficit and kick off a turnaround that continues to this day to perform and serve society in profound ways.

Trusting Globally

Another great example of trusting is Daniel Grieder, the CEO of global fashion retailer, HUGO BOSS, out of Germany.  When Daniel was brought in from outside the company to serve as the new CEO, he immediately met with his top leadership team, and outlined, in essence, two possible paths forward. In that meeting, he laid out his vision and invitation for the future:

“Team, you don’t know me, and I don’t know you.  So, we have two choices: we can spend the next year deciding whether or not we can trust each other . . . but then we’ll have wasted a year.  Or we can decide to trust each other from day one.  I choose the second option.  So please know this:  I trust youPlease trust me too.  Trust is how we we’ll create a new way of working together, and a new culture.”

Can you imagine the impact this immediate extension of trust had on those in the meeting?  In fact, I recently had the opportunity to meet with Daniel and his team, just about two years into his tenure and the results were obvious.  In those early days, the company had created a five-year strategic plan and, even though only two years had passed they were already on year four of the plan!  Indeed, they were operating at the speed of trust.  The decision to trust each other internally had long since been made, and their external performance—as well as internal culture—was the proof.  Through trust, Daniel and his team were able to build a strong culture of trust that allowed them to collaborate more frequently, innovate more fully, and achieve their goals more quickly. They were winning in the marketplace as a result of winning in the workplace first.  Daniel was trustworthy but he also trusted his people who in turn trusted him and together they were able to achieve remarkable results. 

Imagine how differently things might have gone in both scenarios had Daniel or Gail chosen not to extend trust. 

 What About You?

Stories like this are inspiring but may also feel overwhelming due to their scale. But in my experience, the results of extending trust are just as impactful and magnificent on a personal level as they are on an organizational or global level. Perhaps this can be seen most clearly, as you consider these three favorite questions of mine. 

The first is simply, “Who trusted you?”  I often ask people to identify someone in their life who trusted them. Someone who saw potential in them that maybe they didn’t even see in themselves, someone who believed in them, someone who took a chance on them.  Almost without exception, everyone can quickly, if not immediately, think of someone (and sometimes more than one). Whether it was a parent, a boss, a teacher, a coach, a friend – we all remember those people who trusted us and believed in us. 

The second question I like to ask is, “how did that extension of trust impact the way you saw yourself?”  We know these people had a great impact on us but there is something special about articulating how exactly they did and how it changed and inspired us. Regardless of the situation, deep down we all want to be trusted – and when we are, it does something for us.  Being trusted is the most inspiring form of human motivation.  Being trustworthy is vital—but sometimes the very thing that makes a person worthy of trust is when they find themselves on the receiving end of it. People more often than not rise to the occasion when they are given the chance to prove themselves. 

Having thought about the person who trusted you and how it impacted your life for the better, my third question is, “For whom can you be that person?” The cycle of extending trust shouldn’t end with you. There are people out there waiting for someone to offer them the chance to shine. You can be that person for them. 

I invite you to consider all three of these questions. No matter your circumstances – whether as CEO of a company, a manager of a small team, an hourly employee, a stay-at-home parent or simply as a human being, you have the opportunity to change lives through trust. Your organization, your team, the trustworthy people in your life can reap the benefits as you extend trust to them. And you will find in turn that they will extend trust to you. And this uplifting cycle, no matter where on the globe you might be, will indeed make your world go ‘round. 

by Stephen M. R. Covey (bestselling author of The Speed of Trust and Trust & Inspire)

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Trust is not one way but many ways. If you are confused about what trust is and what it is not, watch this 3 minute video called Why Trust is Worth It.

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Last week we published the summer issue of TRUST! Magazine. It includes 14 essays on our current ” state of trust.” These are some thoughts from the authors.

Trust in Turbulent Times: Interestingly, the etymology of “trust” is rooted in old Norse and English words meaning “strength” or “to make safe and strong.” In times like these, we crave leaders who will keep us safe and make us strong. Bart Alexander

The Formula for Building Trust: If it feels like your world isn’t going ‘round right now, or it’s going slower than you’d like, I recommend looking at trust first. The reality is, that low trust is almost always the root of the problem — or the most impeding barrier to the solution. Stephen M.R. Covey

Trust & Commerce: Trustworthiness is a vital component of every corporate interaction. It is the lubrication of commerce. Without trust in the organization, the company will ultimately cease functioning effectively or efficiently. Dr. James Gregory

The Trust Landscape: Couple decreasing trust with what we know about what we do when we distrust others and we have the makings of a slow-moving disaster. Unless we start turning this ship around we will see diminishing cooperation with increasing polarization, more balkanization in politics and society, less willingness to talk things out as people pull back from those they distrust. Charles Feltman

The Business Case for Trust: Contrary to what many executives are lead to believe, trust is not a “soft” skill. In fact in today’s challenging business environment it may mean the difference between survival and failure. Barbara Brooks Kimmel

The Margin of Trust: America’s corporate governance systems also make it difficult for boards to set the tone of a trust-based corporate culture. In the name of “accountability,” the system has veered from principles and tailored approaches towards mandatory rules and standardized practices for all. Lawrence A. Cunningham

Risk & Trust: Things go wrong when institutional trust is based on rules intended to rein in personal freedom and autonomy, implying that forced compliance creates more institutional trust than the personal trust it displaces. This way of thinking usually doesn’t end well. Charles H. Green

Trust & Governance: The smooth functioning of an organization therefore relies on an assumption of regularity. That, in turn, relies on two “trust” factors. First, that the people involved can trust each other and, second, that the corporate governance system itself is trustworthy. Jon Lukomnik & Rick Funston 

Ethical Leadership & Trust: Most core values are a set of ideas thought up on a management golf outing, brought in on the back of a clubhouse napkin, then printed and posted without another word being spoken. The values and ideals of a business are what employees and others bring to work every day. James Lukaszewski

Sustainability Reporting & Trust: If trust is the purpose, then what you intend to do is as relevant as what you have done. Publicly committing to multi-year targets is a must for credible sustainability reporting. Elaine Cohen

Trust in Healthcare: Lack of trust creates a situation that creates the propensity to misinformation. At the same time, misinformation can create a negative trust reset. Jan Berger

Technology & Trust: As of November 2022, we have over 8 billion people sharing our precious planet earth. It makes sense to continue debating and researching trust between humans both individually and organizationally. At the same time, we urgently need to focus on the trustworthiness of technology. Our very survival as a species may depend on it. Helen Gould

Trust in Media: Ultimately what’s needed is changing the culture of how news is produced and what journalists are expected to do on a regular basis. We are talking about updating a system that, when you look at the format and expectations, hasn’t evolved since it started. Lynn Walsh

Trusting Artificial Intelligence: While Chat GPT may have the potential to revolutionize industries, the response to my original question reads like a primer on trust research with little to no information on trust in practice. Barbara Brooks Kimmel

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Next month Trust Across America-Trust Around the World (TAA-TAW) begins its 10th anniversary celebration. As the largest global community focused exclusively on helping organizations build trust, we plan to introduce several new programs during the coming year.

Twelve Trust Alliance members have recently been named to serve a one-year term on our inaugural Trust Council. The diverse Council members have brought their unique expertise  over the past ten years in assisting TAA-TAW in the development and execution of new programs and tools to elevate organizational trust.

Presented alphabetically they are:

Bart Alexander

Art Barter

Donna Boehme

Alain Bolea

Randy Conley

Stephen M.R. Covey

Charles H. Green

Deb Krizmanich

Holly Latty-Mann

Linda Fisher Thornton

Bob Vanourek

Bob Whipple

You can read more about the Council and its members at this link.

I have enormous gratitude to this group who have individually and collectively helped make TAA-TAW what it is today. I look forward to their input and guidance as we continue to develop new tools and programs in the future to continue to help organizations build trust.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO & Cofounder

For more information contact

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Trust Across America Announces

“Top 10” Most Trustworthy Public Companies 2017

via its new Corporate Integrity Monitor 

(the corporate Richter Scale of Trust)


Click here to view Issue #2 of Trust Across America’s Corporate Integrity Monitor.

Methodology: Since 2009 Trust Across America’s FACTS® Framework has been measuring and ranking public companies on five equally weighted quantitative indicators of integrity, forming the acronym FACTS- Financial stability, Accounting Conservativeness, Corporate Governance, Transparency and Sustainability. Our objective model (companies do not know they are being analyzed nor are any internal employee surveys completed) was initially constructed in 2008 and measures the corporate trustworthiness/integrity of the largest 2000 US public companies. Trust Across America’s Most Trustworthy Public Companies ranks the Russell 1000.

This, by order of magnitude, is the most comprehensive and fact-based ongoing study on this subject. We analyze quarterly and rank order by company, sector and market capitalization. We are particularly interested in tracking individual companies and sector trends over time.

2017 Highlights:

Companies in descending order:

  • #1 Dr Pepper Snapple Group (tied) *
  • #1 CSX Corporation (tied)
  • #3 Best Buy Co., Inc.
  • #4 Hasbro Inc. *
  • #5 Johnson & Johnson
  • #6 Xerox Corporation
  • #7 Morgan Stanley
  • #8 Nvidia Corporation
  • #9 Visteon Corporation, Abbot Laboratories, The Home Depot*, Inc. (3 way tie)

* Named for two consecutive years.

No company is perfect. The 2017 highest scoring company(ies) received a “79” on a 1-100 scale.

The “Top 10” companies hail from 9 of 16 sectors. Industry is not destiny.

About the CEOs (as of December 2016):

  • Seven CEOs have served in their position for at least 5 years
  • Both CSX and Xerox have appointed new CEOs in 2017
  • Average CEO age is 58
  • At least four are foreign born
  • Two have no education beyond high school
  • Four possess an MBA or equivalent and three have Master’s in Engineering
  • At least three were, at one time, employed by McKinsey & Company

We are pleased to see the expanding coverage of our FACTS Framework in publications including The Harvard Business Review, Strategic Finance Magazine, The Huffington Post, Globescan Dialogue, the Trusted Advisor Blog,  FCPA Blog, and other publications. This release introduces Issue #2 of a new monthly publication The Trust Across America Corporate Integrity Monitor, available to our Trust Alliance members. 

Congratulations to our 2017 corporate honorees!

For more information contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder

You may also join our Constant Contact mailing list for updates on our progress.

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When a baby decides it is time to be born…”the show must go on.”

Such was the case on January 23, 2016 when approximately 103 million people were affected by a blizzard that hit the east coast of the US, requiring eleven states to declare emergencies, including New Jersey.

Assisted by local EMTs, the healthy baby was delivered at home on the living room couch, the second child of a couple with a fully paid health insurance policy. But the extreme weather conditions and treacherous roads required both the healthy mother and her new baby to be transported to the closest hospital, not one designated by the family’s insurance plan, and certainly not through any special requests on the family’s part. In less than 24 hours, both mother and child were released from the “unaffiliated” hospital, returning home to celebrate their new arrival.

But the biggest surprise for this family was yet to arrive.

The following week a hospital bill was delivered for $53,000. And in case you are not totally shocked by that number, it didn’t include subsequent invoices from the EMTs, emergency room doctors, nor the $39.00 adult diaper that was “sold” to the mother following delivery, to name just a few “incidentals” that brought the total “hit” to over $60,000.

Now this family, who should be bonding and celebrating the birth of their healthy second child, is instead:

1) Faced with a daunting bill that no insured young middle class family could ever possibly pay, and mounds of paperwork and invoice totals that change with every postal delivery.

2) Spending countless hours away from their children and professional obligations listening to prerecorded messages claiming “our menus have changed,” “your call is important to us” and “we are experiencing unusually high call volume.”

The following are some not so simple questions for insurance companies, hospitals, doctors, miscellaneous health services providers and any other parties who would like to weigh in on this story:

What responsibility, if any, do organizations have to ensure their customers are treated fairly, ethically and in a trustworthy manner?

Has corporate greed and the “maximization of shareholder value” permanently replaced doing what’s right?

If this child had been born to a family with no health insurance what would their bill be?

How can this family, who believed they had done everything “right” except better timing the birth of their baby, expeditiously resolve this and “get on” with what matters and their daily lives?”

I suppose the moral of the story is “buyer beware:” 

Even under the most extreme circumstances caused by acts of nature, thousands of dollars in monthly health insurance premiums don’t “cut it” once companies are asked to honor their obligations and do the right thing. Why is this so?

Please send any suggestions or advice to

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Now in its seventh year, the program’s proprietary FACTS® Framework ranks and measures the trustworthiness of over 2000 US public companies on five quantitative indicators of trustworthy business behavior. Barbara is also the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and the Executive Editor of TRUST! Magazine.

Copyright 2016, Next Decade, Inc.


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What can we learn about trust from the great leaders, teachers, writers and philosophers?


This week we turn our attention to the words of Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, coauthors of The Leadership Challenge, educators and management consultants. I have gotten to know Jim over the past several years, and he has recently been named one of our Lifetime Honorees as a Top Thought Leader in Trust. While many “talk trust,” Jim is one of just a small handful of people who “walks their talk.” 

This article pulls together twenty of Jim and Barry’s most inspiring quotes. Regardless of your role in life- a parent, teacher, business, religious or military leader, the following contain many messages about character, competence and consistency, the key ingredients in building trust.

  1. “Exemplary leaders know that if they want to gain commitment and achieve the highest standards, they must be models of the behavior they expect of others.”
  2. “The leader’s unique legacy is the creation of valued institutions that survive over time. The most significant contribution leaders make is not simply to today’s bottom line; it is to the long-term development of people and institutions so they can adapt, change, prosper, and grow.”
  3. “There’s nothing more demoralizing than a leader who can’t clearly articulate why we’re doing what we’re doing.”
  4. “Titles are granted, but it’s your behavior that earns you respect.”
  5. “Find your voice by clarifying you personal values.”
  6. “Leaders enlist others in a common vision by appealing to shared aspirations.”
  7. “The best way to lead people into the future is to connect with them deeply in the present.”
  8. “You can’t fast track your way to excellence.”
  9. “Leaders don’t have to change history, but they do have to change “business as usual.”
  10. “Leading by example is more effective than leading by command.” Unite your constituents around a common cause and connect with them as human beings.”
  11. “Foster collaboration by promoting cooperative goals and building trust.”
  12. “The leader merely coordinates and puts into action the wants and desires of the group.”
  13. “People commit to causes, not to plans.”
  14. “Living in a cave does not make you a geologist and simply being in a management position does not make you a great leader.”
  15. “Leadership can’t grow in a culture that isn’t supportive of continuing development.”
  16. “Say thank you. Let the other person know that you appreciate his or her feedback and that you can’t get any better without knowing more about yourself and how your actions affect others.”
  17. “Leaders say YES.”
  18. “The worst thing someone can do is to see a problem and think it is someone else’s responsibility.”
  19. “The next time you see a problem and say “Why doesn’t someone do something about this?” take a look in the mirror and say instead, “I’ll be someone to do something about it.”
  20. “Model the Way – Inspire a Shared Vision – Challenge the Process – Enable Others to Act – Encourage the Heart”


My favorites are #1, #11, #13 and #20. How about yours? Want to read more from this series? We recently highlighted some of the best quotes on building trust from:

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Executive Director of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She facilitates the world’s largest membership program for those interested in the subject. Barbara is also the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and the Executive Editor of TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

Our annual poster, 52 Weeks of Activities to Increase Organizational Trust is available to those who would like to support our work by making a small donation.

Did you know we have published 3 books in our award-winning TRUST Inc. series. They are yours when you join our Alliance.

Copyright 2015, Next Decade, Inc.

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What can we learn about building trust from the world’s greatest leaders, teachers, writers and philosophers?


We recently highlighted the greatest quotes on building trust from:

This week we turn our attention to George Bernard Shaw an Irish playwright and founder of the London School of Economics. Did you know that he received both a Nobel Prize in Literature and an Academy Award?  This article pulls together twenty of his most inspiring quotes. Regardless of your role in life- a parent, teacher, business or religious leader, George Bernard Shaw has many messages about character, competence and consistency, the key ingredients for building trust.


  1. “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
  2. “The liar’s punishment is, not in the least that he is not believed, but that he cannot believe anyone else.”
  3. “Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”
  4. “Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”
  5. “The most tragic thing in the world is a man of genius who is not a man of honor.”
  6. “Silence is the most perfect expression of scorn.”
  7. “Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time.”
  8. “If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”
  9. “After all, the wrong road always leads somewhere.”
  10. “Better keep yourself clean and bright; you are the window through which you must see the world.”
  11.  “Doing what needs to be done may not make you happy, but it will make you great.”
  12. “Power does not corrupt men; fools, however, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power.”
  13. “When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.”
  14. “A gentleman is one who puts more into the world than he takes out.”
  15. “Imitation is not just the sincerest form of flattery – it’s the sincerest form of learning.”
  16. “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.”
  17. “Beware of false knowledge; it is more dangerous than ignorance.”
  18. “But to admire a strong person and to live under that strong person’s thumb are two different things.”
  19. “The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.”
  20. “My way of joking is to tell the truth. It’s the funniest joke in the world.”

My favorites are #3, #8 and #19. How about yours? 

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the Executive Director of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust, and runs the world’s largest membership program for those interested in the subject. She is also the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and the Executive Editor of TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 Barbara was named “One of 25 Women Changing the World” by Good Business International.

Our annual poster, 52 Weeks of Activities to Increase Organizational Trust is available to those who would like to support our work by making a small donation.

Did you know we have published 3 books in our award-winning TRUST Inc. series. They are yours when you join our Alliance.

Copyright 2015, Next Decade, Inc.




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