By Kami Welch, Arvada Chamber of Commerce President
Trust is a fundamental human concept that involves a belief or confidence in the reliability, integrity, and honesty of a person, entity, or system. It is the expectation that someone or something will act in a way that is consistent with one’s expectations, values, and interests. As we know well at the Arvada Chamber of Commerce, trust is crucial for building and maintaining healthy relationships, on a personal, business, and societal level.
Does anyone else feel like we are moving in the wrong direction with trust? As we see polarization around just about every issue today, we need to determine who can lead. I am talking about leadership at all levels. We certainly won’t be able to take on the expansive challenges our world faces without a recognition of where trust and influence can improve outcomes. Over the past few years, we have organically seen the role of business in social and community issues growing, but didn’t have the data to support this shift until now.
In the 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer, business was identified as the most trusted entity in society and is the only institution viewed as both competent and ethical. Business is expected to act, and now, have a voice. As the most trusted institution, business should leverage its comparative advantage to embrace debate and deliver solutions on matters such as climate change, diversity and inclusion, and skills training. In the last three years, trust in businesses to take on critical social and community issues has taken businesses’ negative ethics score to a position just below non-profits.
The Arvada Chamber has long had immense trust in our businesses to lead the way in how we solve critical challenges. Our KAPS (Kick-Ass Problem Solvers) Councils offer a voice for our business leaders to help drive our work. The outcomes are business-led initiatives and programs like Sector Partnerships and Talent Pipeline Management.
But here is the kicker: while we think that issues like talent, housing, childcare, and policy changes should have much stronger business engagement and leadership, we understand that this is really a team sport! We need government, non-profits and media to all engage in improving our systems. The Edelman Trust Barometer recognized that when government and business work together people believe they are four times more likely to yield optimal results.
The idea of public-private partnerships are not new; we actually see them regularly, functioning with great success. The takeaway from the Trust Barometer is a call to expand how we think about those partnerships. This is an opportunity for businesses to take a leadership role in evolving our K-12 and post-secondary education system; a table for government and business to sit together and determine efficiencies on building new developments in our community; and a vision to create onsite childcare facilities at businesses with non-profit partners managing operations.
Through B.O.L.D. 2026 the Arvada Chamber of Commerce has already engaged a cross-section of business, community and government leaders to start these conversations and we will continue to push to expand trust in our community and region through innovative engagement of new stakeholders.
The Arvada Chamber of Commerce is a community of businesses, organizations, and local leaders working together to solve challenges, foster meaningful connections, and develop the next generation of talent and leadership. Our work – driving action on conversations, resources, and large-scale initiatives that businesses can’t tackle on their own – is central to the long-term success of our community as a whole. When you play a part, we all thrive.
Learn more about the Arvada Chamber and ways to get involved.