The End of Expertise and How Associations Must Adapt

by Joanna Pineda Posted on February 23, 2024

“Trust in companies from global companies is in decline, worry over societal threats and establishment leaders misleading us is growing, while peers are as trusted as scientists for information on new innovations.”  – 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer

A couple of weeks ago, I facilitated a discussion through UST Education about trust and associations with Melanie Gottlieb, CEO of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) and Tara Puckey, Executive Director of the Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA). Higher education and the media have been hard hit with trust issues. Americans today question the value of a college degree and mistrust the so-called “ivory tower” experts. They also distrust the media, calling bias and questioning facts. Here are a few statistics that we shared:

Here are some of the discussion points from the webinar, which was really more of a discussion. These insights came from Melanie and Tara, along with the nearly 100 people who attended and lit up the chat:

From Melanie: How declining trust is affecting higher education

From Tara: How declining trust is affecting the media

How is declining trust affecting your industry or profession?

How is declining trust affecting your association?

What are associations doing/should be doing to shore up trust in their industries?

Are you having conversations within your association about declining trust, credibility and authority?

The key takeaways from this discussion are:

  1. Start conversations at the staff, leadership, and Board levels.
  2. Consider: can you/should you offer tools and resources to help your members address trust issues with their stakeholders?
  3. Educate your members to be discerning consumers of information: webinars, blog posts, podcasts.
  4. Track trends in your industry.
  5. Collaborate with other associations in your field.

More Resources

I had been thinking about trust and associations for some time now and I am so grateful to Melanie and Tara for jump-starting the conversation with me, and thrilled at the insightful comments from all of the attendees. Here are more resources as your organization embarks on your trust journey:

If you’re interested in diving deeper into this topic and continuing the conversation with association peers, we have good news! UST Education has invited us to have another discussion on The End of Expertise and How Associations Must Adapt in 2024. The date is still TBD, but we’re aiming for early summer. Sign up for our newsletter to get all the details about the next event once we have it scheduled.

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