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140: Going Virtual with NCEO - Part 1

Bret Keisling is joined by NCEO Conference Director Ivette Torres, who describes NCEO’s path to virtual conferences, including how to adapt technology, scheduling, content, and breakout sessions, all while creating fun and community in a virtual event. Ivette also shares her path to joining NCEO and her EO A-ha Moment.

The NCEO's mission is to help Employee Ownership thrive. They want to help you and your company succeed, and so they are offering EsOp Podcast listeners $25 off the registration price for their April 20-21, 2021 Annual Employee Ownership Conference with the code EOPODCAST25. Early bird registration closes March 1st, 2021 - so register today!


Episode 140 Transcript

Bitsy McCann: 00:03 Welcome to the EO Podcast, where we amplify and celebrate all forms of employee ownership.

Bret Keisling: 00:13 Hello, my friends. Thank you for listening. My name is Bret Keisling and as it says on my business cards, I'm a passionate advocate for employee ownership. NCEO, the National Center for Employee Ownership, is hosting its virtual annual conference on April 20th and 21st, 2021. There's also a virtual pre-conference on April 16th. In Episode 120 of the EsOp Mini-cast, I brought you NCEO's conference director, Ivette Torres, who outlined the conference and pre-conference programs and announced exclusively on the podcast that the conference keynote speaker is Ashleigh Walters of Onex. You can check out that episode and all of our archives at or wherever you get your podcasts.

Bret Keisling: 01:04 The Mini-cast episode was an excerpt of a longer conversation with Ivette. She shared a lot of great practical ideas for converting to a virtual event. We covered so much material that we're breaking it into two parts. We'll bring you Part Two next week.

Bret Keisling: 01:20 In today's episode, we'll meet Ivette who will share her path to NCEO as well as her EO "A-ha moment." She'll provide an overview of things to look for -- and look out for -- when converting to a virtual event and she'll share some great practical tips for companies and organizations looking to go virtual. Plus, she has great suggestions if someone's presenting virtually for the first time.

Bret Keisling: 01:48 NCEO has been kind enough to provide a discount code that will save you $25 when you register for the annual conference. Early bird registration closes March 1st, 2021. If you register by that date, you'll receive swag by mail prior to the conference. I'll provide the discount code at the end of the episode.

Bret Keisling: 02:10 Here's the first part of my conversation with Ivette Torres.


Bret Keisling: 02:17 I'm very happy to be joined today by Ivette Torres, who is the conference director for the National Center for Employee Ownership, NCEO. Ivette, I can't think of anybody whose job description has changed as much from January '20, until as we're recording this in February, 2021. How are you doing?

Ivette Torres: 02:35 I am hanging in there and very, very busy you're right. My responsibilities day-to-day have definitely changed, but I think that's not unlike a lot of other people, their day-to-day activities have also changed dramatically.

Bret Keisling: 02:49 It certainly is an interesting time and you and your colleagues have just done a great job of transitioning to virtual conferences. And if it's okay with you, there are three things we're going to talk about a little bit. You've gotten a lot of calls, as I understand, from companies or organizations saying, "Hey, how do you go virtual?" So we're going to talk a little bit about that. We're then going to talk, how you've applied and more specifically to the NCEO conference from the technical side of your job. How do you come about? What have you learned as, as you've now had a couple of virtual conferences under your belt and changes you're implementing? And then if it's okay, the last couple of minutes, I'd love for you to just talk about the conference in the sense of someone who's looking at going and what they would get and kind of a little bit of a promo for the conference. Is that okay?

Ivette Torres: 03:40 Yeah, sounds good.

Bret Keisling: 03:41 Excellent. Before we start event we do like to get to know our guests a little bit. You've been at NCEO since 2018. How do you get there? Where do you come from?

Ivette Torres: 03:51 Yeah, I'm glad that you asked. I'm probably very behind the scenes. So maybe a lot of people don't see me in the back, running around, you know, doing a bunch of things on the backend, but yes I do have a lot of event experience. I started doing smaller events here at the Oakland Chamber of Commerce. So I have done mixers, I've done networking events, I've done golf tournaments, galas, a lot of different types of events. I moved into the American Diabetes Association and wanted to take my chance at running large scale outdoor events. So even though I don't bike, we would have like, you know, Napa tours, which was about a hundred miles. We would have big running outdoor events. And that took me all over the country. So Hawaii and North Carolina and all different places that was fun, but there is a lot of stress. There's a lot of potential rain and different things that could happen.

Ivette Torres: 04:47 So, I wanted to transition into more indoor events and so I came over to the NCEO. A little bit before that I went, I was working at an employee owned company. So I think a lot of people don't know that about me, but I worked at New Harbinger, which is an employee owned company here in Oakland, and they're a publishing house and I did a lot of events for them as well, all over the country, bringing authors to life, you know, with different books that they were promoting and different things that they were running. And I saw an ad in a literary magazine saying they were looking -- NCEO was looking to hire and it's some pretty big shoes to fill because the person that was managing it, her name was Deborah Krant - which I'm sure a lot of people are familiar with because she's quite a character - was retiring after 25 years. So she was able to really bring the conference to the forefront and make it into a huge success.

Ivette Torres: 05:40 So I was very honored that you know, I applied for the position that I got the position and that she was able to mentor me on a lot of different things. So we had a really great transitional period of six months of us traveling and getting to know each other, her showing me the ropes and then she passed on the reins, so to say, and I kind of hit the ground running with the 2019 event.

Bret Keisling: 06:02 The 2019 event took place in Pittsburgh and I'm based in Pennsylvania now. So that was cool to have it come to my state, but that also marked a big change from the NCEO conferences. You no longer are able to fit in regular hotels, right? Moving forward, your attendance is such that now you need convention centers.

Ivette Torres: 06:24 Correct. We've been really successful. The previous year we were in Atlanta and we noticed that we actually were at capacity. So most of the ballrooms within hotel rooms, we just don't fit anymore. So it's a good problem to have. We're definitely expanding. A lot of people are very familiar with the event. They look forward to it every year but it is getting bigger and bigger. And with that comes the challenge of trying to fit everybody into one place. We also have a lot of educational sessions, which is about 14 breakout rooms that are required. So it's just a big space. So we are moving now forward to just working within a convention center, that's going to offer us more space. It's going to offer more exhibit hall space so that people can get to meet with exhibitors and sponsors and see what resources are offering. And we can just bring in more people and just increase our capacity to support the community.

Bret Keisling: 07:14 Well, it's very exciting. And as somebody who boosts all form of employee ownership, I love that you have outgrown regular hotels. And certainly is kind of, it's funny, cause you still get hundreds and hundreds of people there, there is a little bit more of an intimacy in some respects. There are a lot of people in the lobbies of the hotels, but you still have conference hotels, so, where a lot of people congregate, but just the fact that so many people are interested in NCEO programming is just a fabulous program. So congratulations on your -- and you're right, Deborah Krant is well-known and has done a tremendous job -- but you have certainly done a great job of building on that.

Bret Keisling: 07:54 So as you probably know, we've had that on the podcast, we've been collecting stories about people's "EO A-ha moments." And you work for NCEO. You also spent some time as an employee owner. Do you have that "A-ha moment" where things just clicked when people hear about employee ownership, they're like, eh, this is good. Did you have, have you had an a-ha moment where it was just, this is the best thing since sliced bread?

Ivette Torres: 08:24 Yeah, definitely. Probably not so much in an employee owner view, just because I think when you're in it, maybe you take it a little bit for granted because everything works very smoothly. You're like, oh yeah, I give my opinion. Everybody, you know, is open to it. We have great staff meetings. It's like a small family. So that part you kind of take for granted. So I didn't really necessarily have an a-ha moment. But I think for me, our first event -- or my first event, I should say -- in Pittsburgh was an a-ha moment because it really brought to me like attention that what I'm doing is important. That employee ownership is really important, that it's very special and that it's really going to help our economy move forward. And you know, like you said, it's, it's a very large event. So there's thousands of people, but almost feels like a family reunion because everybody knows each other. And if they don't know each other, they're very welcoming because they have a lot of similarities. So when you look around, it really is like an "A- ha moment." Like, Oh my God, this is really important. And I'm so glad that I can participate in it and I'm so glad the NCEO is here to bring all these people together. So it really, it really resonated with me.

Vince Kruse on Mini-cast 109: From EO "Huh?" to "A-ha!"

Bret Keisling: 09:35 That is very cool. And we have a friend of the podcast, Vince Kruse who is at USA Mortgage and [he's a] great employee ownership advocate and great mortgage broker. But his "A-ha moment," he said, when they transitioned, he kind of became the ESOP go-to person and gathered a lot of knowledge -- but his aha moment was at one of the national conferences, just as you had said, where he got immersed in it. So you are in very good company. And I also want to give you credit, we spend a lot of time talking about culture and employee ownership for all of the businesses, the employee owned companies, but for you to find yourself in short order, in a job that you love a job that you're good at that as you said also is important and meaningful to what's important to you. That's a very good space for you to be in!

Ivette Torres: 10:27 Oh, thank you. I feel very happy. I know that it's been a really difficult year for, you know, everybody in 2020. I think the events industry has really suffered a lot and events industry feeds a lot of other people, right? So it feeds the airlines, it feeds the hotels, it feeds the restaurants, a lot of different things. So when you have an event, you're bringing thousands, thousands of people to a particular city and it's really helping that economy. So when the events industry suffers, everything else suffers. So I've been really lucky that the NCEO has been able to transition successfully into virtual events and we're still bringing the community together. And it still has allowed me to not only have a job, but do a job that I love. So I feel really, really grateful about that.

Bret Keisling: 11:12 Let me, and we'll switch over to the virtual events -- let me just share a story about -- and I love the EO organizations, I love conferences, generally, they are great, but there's something really special about NCEO and it's the vibe that you are there. And let me just give you an example, because I think it probably speaks to your organization. It was probably 2018. Might've been 2017. I went to an NCEO conference and as I came in and was either registering or about to, there's a guy handing out information sheets and I happened to walk past him and he said, hey, do you know where you're going? And I said, yeah and we just kind of paused for a moment. And, and he just, could he help me with anything?

Bret Keisling: 11:52 And I looked down at his name badge, and it's the first time I had ever met Loren Rodgers, who of course is [laughter] Executive Director and in a lot of organizations and I'm not talking about EO at all, but in a lot of organizations, someone in Loren's position either would have been surrounded by people or perhaps off meeting with people. And here is somebody just unobtrusively, hey, can I give you any directions? I thought that was just the coolest thing. And that seems to be kind of the vibe of NCEO. Do you know what I mean?

Ivette Torres: 12:23 Yeah. That's definitely the vibe at the NCEO. I think people don't realize how small we are, but we have about 11 or 12 employees at any given time, try to do a big workload. But yeah, it's a very tight knit group that really rolls up their sleeves and it's like, hey, do you need for me to take out the garbage? Do you need somebody to do this? They are happy to do it. It's not a top down type of organization. So Loren is always happy to help. You know, if he needs, if I need somebody to fold brochures or finding somebody to do something like that. We, you know, I can really count on him. I can count on the other staff to really help with any details, no matter how small they are. They're not feeling like it's you know, above their pay grade or below their pay grade or -- anything that we need we can all kind of depend on each other.

Bret Keisling: 13:11 Which is the finest expression of the spirit of employee ownership. Quite frankly, we are all in this together. We work together, we benefit together. We have the bumps together. So that is very cool.

Ivette Torres: 13:23 Yeah.

Bret Keisling: 13:23 Ivette, thank you for sharing that. Let's now move -- you have gotten folks reaching out to you saying, hey, how do we go virtual? Can we talk big picture a little bit on those calls that you field and how you start to give advice?

Ivette Torres: 13:38 Yeah, definitely. So that started right after our last conference. So we were able to transition in about four to five weeks from a live conference into a virtual conference, which was a huge endeavor. So just even getting demos was difficult because every other person was also trying to get demos for platforms and different things. We were learning on the fly. I had never used Zoom before. That seems like a million years ago, but yeah, I was not familiar at all with kind of any virtual platforms.

Ivette Torres: 14:05 After the success of our 2020 conference, which we had about 1500 attendees. We had a lot of really good, positive feedback from people not only professional members, but attendees that, you know, communication committees, those kinds of members. Our NCEO members were really, really happy that we were able to put on a conference during such a time of crisis because it really brought the community together.

Ivette Torres: 14:33 So after that, we wanted to kind of offer our services and our advice for free for everybody else that was that green. So it might be associations. It might be association from Canada. It might be just organizations that are actually not employee owned, but they work other professional members in some capacity. So we kind of put the call out and we got inundated with a lot of calls and a lot of emails saying help, help, help. And yeah, we kind of took that on. I would meet with them. We would have Zoom calls. We would kind of talk over their projects and talk over their events and figure out if there was a way to transition them successfully into a virtual event.

Bret Keisling: 15:13 That is very cool. And I imagine it runs the whole gamut of, there are some organizations that might be trying to set up remote calls with company branches. There are organizations, when you talk about the non-profits, fundraising is very important. And for NCEO, I imagine it's a combination. Your core is education and growing what I call the EO sandbox just very broadly speaking.

Ivette Torres: 15:41 Yup.

Bret Keisling: 15:41 But there's also, you know, a lot of folks are concerned with how the orgs are doing for revenue source reasons. So it was very important for you folks to be back virtually, to be in a good place moving forward. Am I saying that right?

Ivette Torres: 15:55 Definitely. I think it's very important to note that we are an educational organization, right? So the main focus of our conference is always education. That being said, we also -- that is a big revenue source for us. So in addition to being a member organization, our conference has grown tremendously and so we do bring a large portion of revenue for the business annually from the conference. That being, you know, once that happens, it's difficult to kind of put it off on the back burner and just say like, hey, we're not going to do that and just pretend that we don't need that huge amount of revenue. Especially, you know, we still have to pay all our bills. We still have to pay our offices, all the different things. So the expenses don't go down, we still need our revenue source. And I think that a lot of associations are also in that same boat. They also make a lot of of their revenue for the year off one event.

Bret Keisling: 16:51 How many different platforms can folks look at? Is it, you know, just a vast amount? You had mentioned Zoom does that play into the conferences? Like we're recording this on Zoom, is it that expandable?

Ivette Torres: 17:07 It really depends on your budget as an organization of what you want to use. I think Zoom is a great platform. I think a lot of people are very familiar with it, whether they use it in a professional manner or in a social manner, they, you know, you have Zoom happy hours with your friends or your buddies. So definitely it's very easy to use and it's very inexpensive. So it really does offer a lot of opportunities for breakouts. It offers a lot of opportunities to get together with somebody very quickly.

Ivette Torres: 17:33 If you're having a larger kind of conference, it's not really a webinar, it's not really a meeting, you want to have some more engagement tools. So definitely that's something to look at from a demo standpoint, you know, who are you trying to attract? What kind of audience are you looking to pitch? If it's a tech audience, you obviously can't use Zoom. You have to use something that's a little bit more exciting, a little bit more engaging. So if you have an association where they're used to using it, they feel comfortable, yeah, definitely you could use Zoom, but there's so many platforms. And even for us, the one that we demoed last year, our needs have really changed. And also they've just come up with a bunch of new stuff. Everybody's trying to reinvent themselves, reinvent their businesses, you know, because the events industry was kind of in flux for a while. People really had to pivot and had changed the way they do business and so there's just so many different platforms and different opportunities to engage audiences in virtual ways.

Bret Keisling: 18:36 And as you look at adapting, how you been doing what you're doing and making changes that are necessary, I would imagine that once all the travel restrictions are lifted -- and, and to me as important people have the confidence to travel -- and resume conferences. I imagine a lot of what NCEO has been doing in the last year almost is going to be portable. Like, will you continue more virtual products and offerings? Is that going to be a benefit?

Ivette Torres: 19:09 Yeah, we've actually learned a lot. I think we all want to be back in person, right? We all want to kind of quote unquote, go back to normal, but there isn't, they're going back to normal. We have to kind of figure out a new way to exist. So offering live events when people feel comfortable, you're right. There's so many different states and regionalities that have different ordinances, right? So our event was going to be in Tampa and Tampa was like, hey, you should still have your event we're totally open. I was like, but people aren't comfortable traveling. So we're definitely not going to do that. And that was a really kind of long drawn out contract negotiation. So if people are having problems with their contracts, please reach out to me because I could definitely help you navigate those. I was able to successfully get out of all my contracts, because that could have been a kind of a devastated revenue blow.

Ivette Torres: 20:00 So yes, even though we will go back into a in-person event, I think we have a lot of opportunities to engage audiences where they're at, right? So if people can't travel, they don't have the resources to travel or they just want to be able to do something from home then we definitely are expanding our offerings in virtual. You know, Jordan Boone, my colleague, she's done a great job in doing the webinars and kind of rebranding them. She's done a lot of community conversations. She just did one yesterday regarding the new administration. So that was really great. And she has done a lot of different other events. You know, we have events for CEOs. We have Mergers and Acquisitions. There's just a ton of different things that we can do virtually in the space that we have. And we're just learning as we go and really making it even bigger and better.

Bret Keisling: 20:51 I just want to reiterate what you said that, and it was open-ended if anybody's having trouble getting out of their contracts to reach out to you. I think first of all, that's a cool thing.

Ivette Torres: 21:03 [Laughter.] Maybe that might get me in trouble! Reach -- reach out to me May 1st!

Bret Keisling: 21:09 Well, okay. For my listeners, reach out to me and I'll send Ivette a little message and we'll [laughter].

Bret Keisling: 21:15 But it also brings up a lot of, you know, when I think about the conference planning, I think in terms of, yeah, you need the venue, but yeah, you need stuff and booths, et cetera. But I guess I hadn't really thought about how much of it is contract based negotiation based and that sort of thing. So your skills, a.) I imagine you need to be on top of your game negotiating in the first place, but as the pandemic has changed, that becomes more critical because if you were on the hook for these revenue outlays, without any revenue coming in, that would have been devastating. So, so that's an important part. I hadn't thought of.

Ivette Torres: 21:55 It's an extremely important part. I consider myself, not to toot my horn, but an expert negotiator. I feel that I am relentless in my pursuit to get the best deal, to always make sure. So even beforehand, I would always be trying to negotiate our contracts so that they were favorable to us. But yes, that's a huge, huge endeavor that if you're not familiar with can seem very overwhelming and sometimes people don't have the money to pay a lawyer or they don't have a lawyer on staff to help them negotiate those contracts. So if you can reach out to somebody that's already been there, done that definitely we can offer some solutions or things that have helped us. And that, you know, we've really been able to negotiate out of all of them and it's really made a big difference. It is time consuming and you can't really give up, but definitely there is options for people out there.

Bret Keisling: 22:49 I -- and I'll let this go -- but I would love to see you at an NCEO or non-EO conference, or even on the podcast doing a webinar on on contract negotiation in the event!

Ivette Torres: 23:07 [Laughter.] Loren has put it out there. He was like, are you sure you don't want to do a webinar about virtual events? Are you sure -- you want to do a contract negotiation? And I'm like, no, I'm more behind-the-scenes person. [Laughter.] So, you know, hopefully he doesn't hear this portion of it and he doesn't make me do it because I do kind of get nervous putting on a webinar.

Bret Keisling: 23:27 Now let's talk a little bit, you know, if someone's doing a gala fundraiser and they had an A-list celebrity come in to entertain, that strikes me as kind of easily portable to online -- easy being, being relative -- but you produce what you produce and you have people phone in. There are a lot of events that do seem pretty straightforward. But the NCEO conference, you have an awful lot of pieces you have -- and if you could share them -- but the educational sessions breakouts, et cetera. Can you just give us an overview of all the different pieces you've had to deal with with the virtual conference?

Ivette Torres: 24:06 Yeah, I think the virtual conference and the live conference have really similar pieces. The virtual event obviously has just a few more pieces. The educational content is the largest portion of that. So we have so many breakout sessions and we have to do our call for abstract. That can take two months just having people bring in their submissions. We have to send them out to external committee. It needs to get reviewed. And then once it comes back, we have to put them all together. So we are in the process of finalizing that hopefully tomorrow we'll be able to finalize that and put an agenda out soon. I know people have been asking about that, but once we get that done, then we have to get all the speakers and all the panels put together. So that's been a challenge. It always is just trying to navigate and get everybody's schedule on the same track, making sure that everybody knows what PowerPoint they're turning in, what are they going to speak about?

Ivette Torres: 25:03 And just we have a really tiny team of events. So it's only three of us. Trying to navigate 300 speakers is a big undertaking. And so just trying to get sure, make sure that we work with all their assistants, making sure that we work with them on trying to get all of their things in and making sure that the final product is really good for the attendees.

Ivette Torres: 25:23 So with an event, you know, there's live conferences, there's prerecorded content. There's a lot of different things that go into that. This year, we're doing something new where one of the things that I feel like we missed being able to transition from a physical to a virtual last year is that we didn't have the swag and the goody bags. So this year that's another thing that we're undertaking is making sure that we provide goody bags. So we're reaching out to employee owned companies for things that we can put inside of the welcome box and people will get that. So as soon as they register, they'll go ahead and get a box. So making sure that people register early and it's got some really good snacks in there. It's got snacks, it's got coffee, it's got tea. So it's been able to kind of give them that feeling of being in the physical conference. So that's another aspect of it.

Ivette Torres: 26:13 And then the production company, just working with the production company of what kind of quality of production are we going to offer? There's a lot of things that can go wrong in a live event, you know, so making sure we have the audio quality, the video quality that there's no dogs barking in the background, even though I love dogs, so I wouldn't mind [laughter] but you know, people might.

Ivette Torres: 26:34 So that's another aspect of it. And then just trying to get the staff and everybody together, getting sure that we have the timing, correct, making sure that we have the registration, the payment system. So there's just so many processes on the backend that people don't see. They think, oh, it's easy to just put on an event and you know, we'll all go, but there's so many different things on the backend that we're working on. Trying to register, you know, 2000 people is something difficult on its own, but we're always here. We take a lot of phone calls. We are always answering email and working with the sponsors to make sure that we showcase and benefit all the resources that they have to offer to the employee community. So the employee owners don't have to recreate the wheel. They can just work with a consultant work with a service provider that's going to offer them their services and really make their life a lot easier.

Bret Keisling: 27:24 And there are a lot of pieces and I've caused some of the trouble myself [laughter] I was a trustee for seven years and frequent speaker at all of the conferences that I would attend. And first of all, with 300 potential speakers, not everyone is perfectly reasonable in terms of what they will talk about or what they will do [laughter] if you ask for opinions. And then you also have people like me, quite frankly, that weren't as timely with bios, weren't as timely with the presentation. So there really is a lot to juggle for you folks.

Ivette Torres: 28:02 That's the biggest challenge that we have is getting people to turn in their stuff. I think when people are like, Oh, well, it doesn't matter if I don't turn in my stuff because you know, everybody else has, but you know, 250 people thinking that exact same way! It's friendly reminders, another friendly reminder, calling people, trying to help them submit all their things. But I think that is definitely one of the biggest things that we have to worry about and it causes anxiety, if I'm being honest [laughter.] It's just trying to make sure that we get all all of our things in when they -- at the appropriate deadlines.

Bret Keisling: 28:37 Well, I apologize for the seven years of torment that I caused...

Ivette Torres: 28:43 You're not alone! [Laughter.] You're not alone.

Bret Keisling: 28:43 For people who have been speakers and presenters, you know, and some, I tried to always mix up my presentations from year to year and not do the same stuff. There are people -- and I'm not criticizing -- but tend to stay on the same topic, almost religiously. Is there a difference, in your mind, in how one presents virtually versus in-person? Are there any suggestions you have for someone who's looking at presenting for the first time virtually?

Ivette Torres: 29:13 Yeah, I think there's a huge difference. So one of the things, when you go to a live event, you do your presentation and probably only the people that see it are in the room, right? It doesn't really get recorded. So if you mess up, there's kind of more room for error. With a session that's live or a session that's prerecorded, you know, it has to be really fresh content because you can't be submitting the same thing over and over again, to a lot of different conferences, because if an attendee attends that conference, they'll be like, oh, I've already seen this. So it doesn't really do a service for us and it doesn't really do a service for the speaker to be talking about the same thing.

Ivette Torres: 29:50 I totally agree that there's certain topics that are kind of the meat and potatoes of ESOPs, right? So repurchase obligation, ESOP basics, transactions, there's different things, but I think people can put different spins on them. We can change the titles, we can change the speakers around so that it's different panelists. And they can talk a little bit about other stuff.

Ivette Torres: 30:09 In terms of kind of logistics. It's always important to have really good lighting, making sure that you buy a ring light. It's only $40, $30. Making sure you go to Amazon, making sure you go to, you know, Best Buy and order, your ring light, making sure you get a really good camera that, you know, maybe everybody doesn't want to see your flaws, but we want to see a really good production. You want to make sure that you have a really good camera, that you're not just using camera from your laptop. And those can be really affordable, too. So if you're going to be doing more than one presentation, it might be worth investing, you know, eighty to a hundred dollars into a really good camera. We are going to be sending some presenter kits. So to our keynote, this is kind of a podcast exclusive. We have actually gotten our keynote and it is set. So I can give you a little bit of information about that if you're interested...

Bret Keisling: 31:02 Yes, please!

Ivette Torres: 31:06 [Laugher.] But yeah, there's a lot of really good things that you can do. So making sure you get a good mic and making sure you get a good video and making sure you have proper lighting and that you're in a kind of quiet space where you're not really going to be interrupted frequently, because if you are doing a live conference, the eyes don't blink, so just making sure -- or the ears don't blink. So you've got to make sure your audio is good and make sure that everything around you is kind of set, setting the tone and setting the scene for your production.

Bret Keisling: 31:34 I'm laughing because as you said that I just reached over to turn off my iPhone so that it wouldn't beep. [Laughter.] Every so often a guest my phone or their phone will beep and I can't really edit it out and I feel bad because I'm sure listeners, you know, they hear that and suddenly they're picking up their own phone.

Ivette Torres: 31:54 Well, that's not even the worst. The worst is when you have a Mac and it connects and you can see people's text messages. So you can see all of their, they didn't change their settings. So they're sharing a screen. And then all of a sudden you see all their text messages, you know, for like, hey, don't forget to pick up the bread or don't forget, you know, like all the different things that you're seeing.


Bret Keisling: 32:12 With that we'll bring today's episode to a close. You heard towards the end of that segment, Ivette teases the keynote speaker; she's Ashleigh Walters of Onex and you can hear more on Episode 120 of the ESOP Mini-cast.

Bret Keisling: 32:29 I'm grateful to Ivette Torres for taking the time to come on the podcast. I hope you'll join us next week for part two of the conversation, Ivette will talk in detail about the conference and its conversion to a virtual event, including some really cool things about the virtual sponsor booths, how the breakout sessions will work, and how NCEO has done an amazing job transitioning to a productive and meaningful virtual EO experience while throwing in a whole lot of fun.

Bret Keisling: 32:59 As I said at the top of the episode, NCEO is providing an exclusive discount to podcast listeners. When you register for the conference, use the discount code EOPODCAST25, and you'll save $25. I'm registered for the conference and I hope you will too.

Bret Keisling: 33:19 Our country's going through a lot together right now, and that's how we'll get through it together. And that's in the best spirit of employee ownership. Thank you so much for listening. This is Bret Keisling; be well.

Bitsy McCann: 33:35 We'd love to hear from you! To contact us, find us on Facebook at KEISOP, LLC and on Twitter @ESOPPodcast. To reach Bret, with one "T", email, on LinkedIn at Bret Keisling, and most actively on Twitter at @EO_Bret. Again, that's one "T". This podcast has been produced by The KEISOP Group, technical assistance provided by Third Circle, Inc. and BitsyPlus Design. Original music composed by Max Keisling, archival podcast material edited and produced by Brian Keisling, and I'm Bitsy McCann.

Standard Disclaimer: The views expressed herein are my own and don't represent those of my own firms or the organizations to which I belong. Nothing in the podcast should be construed as guidance or advice of any kind in any field and the fact that I mentioned an organizational website or an advocate or a company on a podcast does not reflect an endorsement, but if you've heard your name or your group's name mentioned on this podcast, I'd love to have you come on and talk about it yourself.

A note on the transcript: This transcript was produced by Temi, an automated transcription service. While it has been reviewed by The ESOP Podcast, we can not guarantee the accuracy of the transcription. Please refer to the original audio when citing sources.

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