Aloha friends,

It’s been said that transparency is the currency of trust. As a legislator, educator, and especially a mom of two teenage girls, I couldn’t agree more. In a recent poll evaluating our government’s openness and transparency, 66% of respondents gave the state a failing grade while only 6% felt it deserved top marks. By this measure, our public trust appears sorely deflated and we must work to rebuild it step by step.

While my work in government may seem incongruous to my formal education in music, I’d argue that important lessons can be found in any discipline. For example, to create musical harmony, one must carefully listen to the melody and expertly match its intensity, color, and tone. A failure to listen results in tone deafness – neither desirable in music nor leadership. A good musician is always listening and open to hearing other voices even those that may sound discordant, differ in texture, or disagree with the composition. As a public leader, I understand that all voices are necessary; without one voice, our song of democracy is incomplete.

Stephen Covey Jr., author of The Speed of Trust said, “The first job of a leader – at work or at home – is to inspire trust.” This is a universal law that starts with open communication and listening. No matter the situation, transparency must be a professional and personal practice; a 24-hour conviction. By doing so, we can cultivate an economy of trust on which to build a hopeful future that includes all of us.