Vermont Employee Ownership Center Annual Conference

June 9, 2022

Burlington, VT

Board Responsibilities and Decision-Making in Action

With Alex Moss, Jennie Msall, Cindy Turcot, CEO, Gardener’s Supply Company and Angus Mudge, Student Supervisor and Board Member, The New School of Montpelier

This session will provide an overview of the Board of Directors in employee-owned companies through both panel discussion and digging into a fictional board scenario. We’ll explore the similarities between Boards in ESOPs and worker co-ops, as well as the unique dynamics that come up in ESOP and worker co-op Boards. We’ll also discuss important elements of an effective board meeting and how to navigate these dynamics as we discuss how a fictional board works through one of their key responsibilities: the annual evaluation of the company’s leader.

Building an Ownership Culture Over Time

With Jennie Msall and Linda Kronoff, Director of People and Culture, Hallam-ICS

Many companies roll out a company-wide ESOP education program immediately following their transition to an ESOP, and then it’s normal for ESOP education to decline. However, to take full advantage of employee ownership, firms must develop cultures in which people are actively encouraged and supported to feel and act like owners, and that culture takes time and energy to build. We’ll share case studies of how other ESOP companies have invested in building an ownership culture. You will hear what challenges these companies have experienced as they’ve worked to develop an ownership culture, and tips and lessons learned.

ESOP 101 for Employee Owners

With Molly Mead and Jennie Msall

This session uses a highly interactive role play format, with cash, stock, and other props, to illustrate how an ESOP works in simple and entertaining terms. In addition to covering the Who What Where When and How of the ESOP, this session will explore the kinds of communications that enable building a strong ownership culture, and allow significant time for attendees’ questions throughout.

Retaining and Recruiting Employee Owners

With Molly Mead, Christie Kane, Vice President, Human Resources, Gardener’s Supply Company and Samantha O’Neill, Chief Culture Officer, Cirtronics

The good news: companies have a lot of work. The challenge: companies don’t have enough employees to do the work. This session will focus on steps you can take to retain valued employees and recruit new ones. We will share examples from two employee-owned companies and also gather ideas from the people in the session. Don’t wait for a valued employee to tell you they have taken a new job. Tell them the many ways they make a difference.

Reflections on Ownership Culture: Best Practices, Lessons Learned, & Looking Ahead

With Alex Moss, and Jennifer Briggs, CEO Modern Times Beer

In this session, we will start with a broad framework for what we mean by “ownership culture.” We’ll reflect on what we are learning as leaders and companies. And we’ll engage attendees in a discussion of “what good looks like,” where they have hit speed bumps along the way, and their key take-aways. We will close with a brief networking exercise, to help attendees stay in touch with one another after this conference and continue to benefit from the experience across our community.

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