CDS Brings MBA Programming to Alumni at Reunion Weekend 2019

October 11th, 2019

Topics: Big Data / Analytics Culture Customer Governance Privacy Risk Management Security

Panel Examines Managing Trust in the Digital Age

The Center for Digital Strategies has delivered rich learning programming for MBA students for nearly two decades, and this year took a turn bringing that learning experience to alumni as a part of Tuck Reunion Weekend 2019.

Executive Director, Patrick Wheeler, moderated the panel discussion in line with the center’s annual Britt Technology Impact Series, on Managing Trust in the Digital Age, with specific emphasis on the evolution of trust in today’s digital business environment. The session featured alumni providing their experience managing for trust, how to think through management decisions to avoid damaging trust with teams, partners, customers, and other relevant business constituencies.


  • Ron Adner, Nathaniel D’1906 and Martha E. Leverone Memorial Professor of Business Administration, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College
  • Meri Carman T’14, Senior Director of Strategy and Business Development, Viacom
  • Kevin Collins T’99, Managing Director, Webscale, Accenture
  • Aura Greenberg T’04, Director of Data & Analytics and Product Management, General Motors Corp.
  • Patrick Wheeler, Executive Director, The Center for Digital Strategies, Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College (moderator)

Key takeaways from the session:

  • You can’t build trust – it’s something given to you and maintaining trust is a continual process fueled by sound decision-making, transparency, and a willingness to admit mistakes (and fix them)
  • Trust is a a CEO- and Board-level responsibility, with the entire organization supporting and influencing trust
  • The financial impact of trust incidents is much larger than most leaders expect and can cost companies billions of dollars and years in opportunity costs
  • Security is vital to maintaining trust, but breaches are a given in today’s cybersecurity environment
  • How you handle data breaches or other trust-harming incidents is directly related to how well you rebound from a trust incident
  • Modern organizations are complicated, with competitors in one part of the business often playing the role of strategic partners critical to success in another part of the business; trust working with partners who might also be competitors is a way of life and requires clear expectations among business leaders and discipline to avoid taking advantage of those key partners
  • Making decisions related to moving your products, services, and content onto a competitors’ platform is a tricky business decision and needs to be continually monitored for value and return on the decision
  • Building an ecosystem strategy that aligns various players in the ecosystem to mutual benefit helps manage risks associated with trust
  • Management of data is a difficult and important part of the modern digital business when managing trust – thinking through data governance and access is critical to maintaining trust
  • Building a culture that prioritizes trust and commitment to rigorous data management practices is more important than ever
  • Regulators are not sure how to enact rules related to security, privacy and trust, making a uniform policy outlining data governance and digital trust difficult, although the move toward a more unified framework is slowly progressing globally (with key exceptions)

What you can do to manage for trust in the digital age:

  • Make sure the C-suite and Board of Directors have a perspective on trust and cascade throughout the organization
  • Reinforce the importance of trust and strong data governance to your team(s)
  • Walk-the-walk, don’t just talk-the-talk – model behaviors that maintain trust with your team
  • Design for trust by engaging security experts in the early stages of the product development lifecycle, not the end of the process as a “check the box” exercise
  • Own trust incidents and data breaches and work to transparently resolve the cause(s) of the incident and make customers and partners whole again
  • Help educate partners and ecosystem players on sound data management practices and demand the entire ecosystem aligns on trust to avoid weak spots more vulnerable to bad actors
  • Share perspectives with regulators to help them craft policy and regulations that reward sound trust management and punish poor trust management practices

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