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Archive for the ‘Communications’ Category

Sep
12

Having studied trust for over ten years, one thing has become crystal clear. When people trust you (or your brand), their confidence in you (and your products) will increase, and they will be more inclined to do business with you.

Salesforce Research (2018) surveyed over 6,700 consumers and business buyers globally to better understand the modern customer mindset. What do these new norms mean for companies that are vying for their business and their trust? Much of this experience is rooted in trust: 95% of customers say that if they trust a company, they’re more likely to be loyal patrons.

LinkedIn claims to have more than 500 million users in 200 countries, and it can be a very powerful marketing tool, IF it is used properly. The following are ten tips to build trust on LinkedIn:

  1. Begin with a clearly defined “principle based” LinkedIn marketing strategy, making the focus your targeted customer base, not you.
  2. Communicate authentically. Your beliefs and principles must align with your actions.
  3. Become the “go to” person in your area of expertise by publishing well-written original thought leadership pieces rather than an announcement of your next speaking engagement.
  4. Every post should focus on solving customer (or potential customer) problems.
  5. Share relevant, high quality content, even if it is from a competitor. Shine a spotlight on thought leadership written and posted by employees.
  6. Remain humble. Don’t get caught in the insincere “honored” and “humbled” trap to promote your upcoming gig or your most recent award.
  7. Before your next post answer this question: “Who cares (other than you and your mother)?”
  8. Engage your audience by asking them for input and feedback.
  9. In this age of rapidly evolving social “activism” pick your photo captions carefully. For example, does your photo show a room full of men with no female presence? Does it just show you?
  10. You are the company you keep. Make sure the posts you are “liking” reflect positively on your brand. (And instead of simply “liking” a post, leave a thoughtful comment.)

Having been an active LinkedIn member for many years, the balance may be shifting away from thought leadership towards a new (and free) form of billboard advertising. If this perception is accurate, LinkedIn will surely (and quickly) lose its value as a marketing tool.

In summary, if the focus is simply “You,” maybe it’s time to rethink your LinkedIn marketing strategy. Start by making “trust building” your core focus.

What other suggestions do you have for building trust on LinkedIn? Leave your comments.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is an award-winning communications executive and the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. A former consultant to McKinsey and many Fortune 500 CEOs and their firms, Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, and is the editor of the award-winning TRUST INC. book series and TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA. Don’t forget to TAP into Trust! For more information contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

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Jul
18

Papa John’s is the latest to call for trust “reconstruction” from the inside out. A quick review of recent news headlines also mentions the EPA after Pruitt, Michigan State’s new athletic director, the Charlottesville police department, Samsung, and Wells Fargo, among others, all calling for trust rebuilding.

At first glance, the obvious recipients of that “first” phone call might be: PR firms and ad agencies, crisis management firms, risk experts, monitors or watchdogs, lawyers or compliance consultants. Yet every one of those choices will result in a “Band-Aid” fix, at best.

For an organization to rebuild trust, the first decision is not who gets the phone call, but who makes it. That first call must originate from the top, and be made to a professional firm with expertise in organizational trust. When that call is delegated to communications, legal or compliance, the chances of obtaining a long-term desired outcome are greatly reduced.

Trust building (and rebuilding) is an intentional holistic exercise. It can’t be pushed down the chain of command and it can only be fixed by the “right” people. Trust can’t be rebuilt with a press conference or an ad campaign, and it does take time.

These 12 Principles called TAP, were developed over the course of a year by a global group of ethics and trust professionals who comprise our Trust Alliance. They are currently available in 14 languages as free PDF downloads and serve as a great starting place and a clear roadmap to building and rebuilding trust. A variety of complimentary tools are also available on our website at trustacrossamerica.com and our Trust Alliance members may also be in a position to help.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. A former consultant to McKinsey and many Fortune 500 CEOs and their firms, Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, and is the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and TRUST! Magazine. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA. For more information contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright (c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Apr
04

 

This story starts with an increase of 30% on our monthly business phone bill for no apparent reason, and with no explanation. I set aside five minutes to call the company since this particular landline exists primarily to accommodate unsolicited robocalls, and not much more. Eighteen minutes later, I was still on the call.

Why?

  • First 2 minutes: A customer service telephone number is not displayed on Page 1 of the bill. (A number is buried on Page 4 as I was later told by Rep #2). Thank goodness for Google who popped the number right up on my screen.
  • Next 5 minutes: Listening to a recorded message and series of prompts with no way to bypass and speak directly to a rep.
  • Next 5 minutes: Speaking to Rep #1 who advised that our “special” rate had expired and she could not extend it. When I suggested that I might discontinue the service, she asked if she should connect me to the “disconnect department.” I suggested that perhaps there was an alternative and…
  • Final 6 minutes: Speaking to Rep #2 in the “loyalty department” who reinstated the discount, but “just for 12 months.”

I don’t think I need to name all the ways this company is busting trust and loyalty under the heading of “customer service” but I did share a few thoughts with #2. She had a rebuttal for every suggestion yet asked me to stay on the line for a customer service survey.

It’s hard to believe that ANY organization still operates in this manner, yet so many do.

Approximately 50,000 employees currently work for this public company. In September 2014, the stock traded at $41.00. Today that same stock can be purchased for $16.75. Are you surprised? I’m not.

PS- The CEO, who has been in this role for over 25 years, recently announced his early retirement.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. A former consultant to McKinsey & Company, she also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com

or contact barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Follow us on Twitter @BarbaraKimmel and @TapIntoTrust

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

Copyright (c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Mar
12

Photo courtesy of asiasentinel.com

Have you noticed that as LinkedIn has grown, the user focus has shifted away from relationship building to individual advertising? I don’t know about you, but sometimes I feel like I am rowing alone in a sea, and it’s not the Caribbean.

As a LinkedIn user, have you considered the benefits of first building trust with your connections?  After all, LinkedIn is a great way to develop relationships that may lead to new business or collaborative opportunities down the road. Under the theory that trust is built over time and in incremental steps consider adjusting your LinkedIn “strategy” using some of the following trust-building suggestions.

Connecting

  • Before accepting a new connection, take a minute to view the profile of the party who is reaching out. If there are no clear personal or professional synergies, consider passing on the invitation.
  • When accepting, send a note indicating that you have spent a few minutes reviewing the profile to get to know the new connection. Ask whether the other party had a specific reason for wanting to connect.
  • When sending an invitation, add a personal note showing some level of interest in the work of the potential new relationship.

Posting

  • First consider the usefulness to your connections of your next post. Are you posting for your benefit or for theirs? Cheap advertising isn’t always the best marketing strategy! (Same goes for posting to groups.)
  • Drop the insincere platitudes like “honored and humbled” when trumpting your minor successes. Save those words for the appropriate occasion.
  • Review your past posts. How many times do you use the words “Me, my, I?”
  • Don’t forget to acknowledge every comment on your post and also to reciprocate.

Networking

  • Periodically review connections and send a note to those who you might want to get to know better.
  • If you haven’t had any interaction beyond the first connection, never send a private message that is nothing more than an advertisement (usually an invitation to attend an event that involves paying a fee.)
  • Do not use your connections to create a mailing list. Ask for permission first.

What other suggestions do you have for building trust on LinkedIn? Please leave your comments below.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. A former consultant to McKinsey & Company, she also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com

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

Copyright (c) 2018, Next Decade, Inc.

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Feb
20

Trust is not a soft skill, nor should it be taken for granted. It is a tangible asset that impacts the bottom line.

Last week’s blog post discussed the various ways that low trust can kill an organization. So how can trust be elevated? We asked our Trust Alliance members to weigh in and the following are some “best practices” for building organizational trust.

  • First identify what builds trust and what breaks trust. Bob Vanourek
  • Agree on core values, then practice and reinforce them daily. Barbara Brooks Kimmel
  • Build cultures of commitment vs. compliance where choices are guided by values, not policies. Mark Fernandes
  • Work tirelessly to dispel the illusion that trust is a soft skill. Doug Conant
  • Be a role model. Charlie Green
  • Be inclusive in your decision-making process. Nadine Hack
  • Set intentional promises and expectations on what you will deliver to all stakeholders. David Reiling
  • Go public when expressing gratitude; go private when expressing disappointment. Holly Latty-Mann
  • Presume good intentions. Bart Alexander
  • In every interaction with every person, ask yourself “What can I do in this moment to strengthen the trust between us?” Jim Kouzes

Our growing global Trust Alliance is working to build tools to help organizations of all sizes and shapes build trust. What’s stopping you from joining?

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. A former consultant to McKinsey & Co., she also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

Join our Constant Contact mailing list for updates on our progress.

Copyright 2018 Next Decade, Inc.

 

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Sep
18

Photo courtesy of www.dondalrymple.com

According to a July 2017 World Economic Forum article about regaining trust in business….

Business is on the brink of distrust.

It is clear that the expectations of business are changing as rapidly as the world around us. Corporations must find a way to lead.

A contemporary CEO cannot afford to ignore this sentiment. The epoch of corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a cost of doing business has passed; the era of “doing well by doing good” is upon us. Balancing the profit motive with the creation of societal value is about to become a precondition for the long-term success of any corporation, sector, scale or geographic reach notwithstanding.”

(Note: Trust Across America, through it’s FACTS Framework, developed the scorecard in 2009 and has been tracking and ranking the trustworthiness of the largest 2000 US based public companies since that time.)

So what is the path forward for leaders to regain trust in business? After all, the business case for trust has been proven time and again. Perhaps it boils down to the simple question of who owns trust.

The current SOP in most companies, is to take trust for granted until there is an “issue” and then trust is “delegated” to the “right” silo depending on the nature of the problem:

  • If there is a corporate crisis, the communications and legal team are there to talk about restoring trust after conferring with their PR firm.
  • If it’s a matter of “ethics,” the Chief Compliance Officer steps in.
  • Market share declining? The CMO steps up to tout brand “trust” in its campaign.
  • High employee turnover got you down? Head to HR. After all, they must not have hired “right.” Fire the whole darn department and replace the staff with interview robots. (I kid you not)
  • Unhappy shareholders? Punt to Investor Relations.
  • Giving a speech about building trust in the community? The corporate responsibility and sustainability silos are right on it, once legal signs off.

Got the picture?

Unfortunately, in most companies, no single person or department owns trust and that’s why business is on the brink of distrust. It’s that simple. Imagine running a company without a Chief Financial Officer. How would the job get done? Trust can no longer afford to be treated like a hot potato.

Who should own trust?

No doubt, it’s the CEO. Trust starts at the top, as a directive from the Board, with leadership acknowledgement of its strategic importance. Once that occurs, the day-to- day practice could be delegated to a Chief Trust Officer, who reports directly to the CEO. Imagine the first company bold enough to do this. Did I just say bold? I meant smart and proactive. 

What would the job entail?

  • Review and refine the credo, vision and values, with buy-in from every C-Suite member (and the Board.)
  • Regularly communicate vision and values to all stakeholders and ensure everyone abides by them.
  • Work closely with HR so hiring (and firing) is done according to the standards set forth above.
  • Get trust on the daily docket.  This is an example of how one company does this, and a bit more about driving culture.
  • Enforce a “zero” tolerance policy for trust breaches. Nobody is immune, especially the CEO.

What would the job requirements be?

Someone who lives the holistic concept of doing well by doing good, is a stellar communicator, and has the right combination of personal qualities to rally the troops. Impeccable character, courage, competence and consistency are key. In fact, not all that different from the qualities of a great CEO.

An organization’s chances at long-term success are predicated on the level of trust it builds with all its stakeholders. I can’t think of a more important and timely job title than Chief Trust Officer. Can you?

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder

Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

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

Purchase our books at this link

Copyright 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

 

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Sep
12

Photo courtesy of trepscore.com

Are the following low trust warning signs present in your company?

  • The Board emphasizes short-term financial results over long-term value creation.
  • CEO values are unknown or unclear and never communicated.
  • The C-Suite operates in individual silos.
  • Management ignores trust as a proactive business strategy or a competitive advantage.
  • The largest departments are legal and compliance with hyper focus on risk.
  • HR is lacking a “values driven” hiring framework hindering the construction of a talented and engaged team.
  • Transparency has taken a back seat to secrecy and closed doors, and employees are always the last to “find out.”
  • Layers of bureaucracy and “rules” slow every decision to a crawl.
  • Failure is punished so passion and innovation are low or nonexistent.
  • Stakeholder activism is increasing.

What other low trust warning signs would you add?

Trust Across America has been researching and measuring the trustworthiness of the 1500 largest US public companies for almost eight years via it’s FACTS® Framework. 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.

 

While Trust Across America continues to make the business case for trust, it remains quite common for warning signs to be overlooked or completely ignored.  Address the “trust” danger signs before distrust becomes the norm, or the next crisis comes knocking at the CEOs front door.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder

Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

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

Purchase our books at this link

Copyright 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

 

 

 

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Aug
07

Courtesy of mystorybook.com

Far away and just as long ago, in the land of gardens and strip malls, also known as New Jersey, a somewhat smallish “Jersey Girl” named Barbara (Barb to her high school friends) had a rather tall vision to change the world, or at least the conversation.  Barb believed that if she could get people thinking about trust, particularly in business, trust would spring eternal- similar to Jersey blueberries- and take off like a Jersey driver.

And so Barb began to knock softly on the doors of corporate America to politely inquire about trustworthy leaders and their business practices. The responses were far from what she expected to hear.

  • We are big business and don’t budget for soft stuff like trust since it doesn’t impact our bottom line.
  • The corporate credo written on the lobby wall has trust covered.
  • We are already trustworthy. After all, our quarterly earnings are growing and look how fast we are expanding globally.
  • We give to charities and have an annual CSR event.
  • Haven’t you seen our latest TV commercial on diversity?
  • We’re conserving water and energy.
  • We are looking in to cybersecurity.
  • Our compliance department “has trust covered.” We stay just on the “right side” of the law.
  • Who cares if our employees are unhappy? There are plenty to replace them.
  • And the best one, the response from the CEO of a Fortune 500 company… “Trust? Interesting, I never even thought about that word!”

Barb’s quick takeaway…the trust crisis is not the “problem” of big business (until there’s an internal crisis and then lots of money is paid to consultants to make it look like the problem is fixed when it’s not), and one person named Barb from NJ is no threat to big business! Go knock somewhere else until such time as trust is regulated.

And that’s exactly what she did, because Barb had changed her middle name from Jane to “Tenacity” right around her fifth annual 39th birthday. She knocked and knocked and did not give up until the right people started to listen, and even lend a hand. And then the idea struck (sort of like a lightening bolt) – if one rather small woman from NJ could get some “trust loving”, imagine how much 100 men and women, or 1000, or even a million could attract? And so she started a movement, A Campaign for Trust, and she invited everyone who didn’t slam the door to join her (except the mainstream media because they seemed perpetually stuck on bad news that sells)!

In a few months, eyebrows began to raise beyond Jersey’s borders, as did the roster of global Trust Alliance members, men and women from “big business” (the ones who didn’t slam the trust door), small business, startups academia, researchers, community leaders, government and consulting (leadership, culture, teamwork, compliance, ethics, CSR, HR, sales, reputation and crisis repair, communications, risk, data security, governance, sustainability.) They weren’t exactly sure what “signing up” meant, but they trusted Barb enough to know they wanted to be part of this particular movement, because without trust, organizations are at best mediocre, never knowing when the next crisis will strike.

The Trust Alliance has been quite busy over the past four+ years with dozens of projects including:

  1. Roundtable discussions with industry leaders on building trust
  2. Publication of three books in our Trust Inc. series
  3. Introductions between members resulting in speaking engagements, consulting opportunities and new business relationships
  4. An annual trust poster
  5. Publication of a collaborative digital magazine called TRUST!
  6. Assembly of DIY Trust Boxes
  7. Real world case studies called Trustlets

And many more initiatives including two new programs launching this fall. After all, it’s hard to imagine why any organization (even one run by a small, perpetually 39 year old woman from NJ) wouldn’t want to join us and collaboratively help in elevating organizational trust. So what’s holding you back? Feel free to use one of the excuses listed above!

(And by the way, on most days Trust Across America’s website attracts between 500-1000 enlightened visitors who “get” the importance of organizational trust.)

PS- One of Barb’s offspring cautions about trying to be funny about trust. It’s a serious subject. Barb disagrees. She thinks trust can be funny and fun, and serious too! What do you think?

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. She also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance and is the editor of the award- winning TRUST INC. book series. In 2017 she was named a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute, and in 2012 she was recognized as one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International. She holds a BA in International Affairs from Lafayette College and an MBA from Baruch at the City University of NY.

For more information visit our website at www.trustacrossamerica.com or contact Barbara Brooks Kimmel, CEO and Cofounder

Barbara@trustacrossamerica.com

Copyright 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

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Apr
12

 

Trust Across America’s focus has always been on finding and highlighting the “best in breed” corporate citizens while leaving the worst for the scrutiny of others. But today is only Wednesday and my inbox is swamped with so many trust busting stories that even Lucy’s head is spinning. Here we go:

Wells Fargo is clawing back compensation to rebuild trust, or are they?

Volkswagen has found the “secret” to  rebuilding trust…. are they kidding?

Barclay’s CEO has his own strategy for trust, but it’s certainly not the “building” kind. This is the same CEO who not so long ago said “I do believe that trust is returning to our institution. But we will never rest, we are never done. We have to focus on building that trust every day.”

A  bunch of “fake activist” companies, outraged over the purported trust violations of Bill O’Reilly, pull their advertising, or do they? Thanks Jim!

And let’s not forget United, except this isn’t about customer brutality, and maybe not even about trust! It’s just ironic.

This week, instead of watching sitcoms, I’ve taken to reading the news. As an organizational trust researcher and communicator, I’m finding it not only highly educational but also wildly entertaining.

As I’ve said for many years, the ongoing trust crisis will certainly not abate until untrustworthy leaders sail off into the sunset or recognize the error of their ways and start advocating for change.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, is the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and a Managing Member at FACTS® Asset Management, a NJ registered investment advisor. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA.

Copyright (c) 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

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Mar
22

 

If you lead an organization and want to build trust into its DNA, it all begins (and ends) with you. How many of these boxes can you check?

Start with an assessment of yourself:

  • Are you trustworthy?
  • Do you possess integrity, character and values?
  • Do you share those values with your family?
  • Do you instill them in your children?
  • Do you take your personal values to work?

Perform an organizational trust audit:

Consider your internal stakeholders:

Consider your external stakeholders:

  • Have you shared your vision and values in building a trustworthy organization?
  • Have you identified the outcome(s) you are seeking?
  • Have you defined your intentions for each of our stakeholder groups?
  • Have you made promises that you will keep?
  • Have you determined the steps you will take to fulfill these promises?

Almost every organizational challenge can be traced back to low trust… and a leader who has not checked the boxes.

Barbara Brooks Kimmel is the CEO and Cofounder of Trust Across America-Trust Around the World whose mission is to help organizations build trust. Barbara also runs the world’s largest global Trust Alliance, is the editor of the award winning TRUST INC. book series and a Managing Member at FACTS® Asset Management, a NJ registered investment advisor. In 2012 she was named one of “25 Women who are Changing the World” by Good Business International, and in 2017 she became a Fellow of the Governance & Accountability Institute. Barbara holds a BA in International Affairs and an MBA.

Copyright (c) 2017, Next Decade, Inc.

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