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169: Cecile Betit and the Carris Reels Research

Bret Keisling is joined by independent researcher Cecile Betit, who has studied 100% ESOP Carris Reels since its inception as an ESOP in 1996 to today. She shares her conclusions, including the importance of workplace participation, challenges in EO conversions, and her EO A-ha moment.

... or watch the video of Episode 169 below.


Episode 169 Transcript

[00:00:00] Bitsy McCann: Welcome to The EO Podcast with Bret Keisling, part of the EO Podcast Network.

[00:00:12] Bret Keisling: 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. I am joined today by another passionate advocate for employee ownership. Cecile Betit is an independent researcher who has devoted much of the last decades to studying, talking about, and promoting employee ownership.

Cecile, thank you so much for coming on the podcast.

[00:00:39] Cecile Betit: Bret, I am so pleased to be here. And as from our work that talking about employee ownership is the gift of the day.

[00:00:47] Bret Keisling: We are very fortunate and we share that passion.

We're going to start, as we do with all of our guests, your EO A-ha Moment. And then we're actually going to talk about your research and you're kind enough to share your conclusions and what you've learned and what you want us to focus on moving forward.

But I've got to ask you a question. You and I have talked offline a bit and through social media. Let's take you back to high school. It's career day and the guidance counselor says Cecile, you will be on a Zoom call that will turn into a podcast talking about employee ownership with somebody you met through social. Has your life panned out exactly as it was mapped out in high school?

[00:01:26] Cecile Betit: Given the high school was quite a long time ago, I can tell you that there's been surprise after surprise at what is open. I went to high school, small school and small Catholic high school in Vermont. And I never dreamed the places I'd travel and most of all the ideas and the people I would meet along the way. It's been such an adventure!

[00:01:47] Bret Keisling: Well, I love that and we're going to talk about it. And, Cecile, one of the things that I've always appreciated about you is we've just met personally through Zoom calls in the last month or two, but you are one of the people that I just call my social media buddies. You've been very supportive on Twitter. You've moved the conversation forward on LinkedIn as well. And I would recommend to folks, they should follow you and engage in the conversation because what you do a great job of is connecting the dots and just moving things forward.

So, with that, a lot of our guests have had an EO A-ha Moment. And we say, it's not when you heard about EO and not, when you thought this could be good, but was there a moment that really sunk in where you said, A-ha, this could be transformative. Do you have such a moment?

[00:02:35] Cecile Betit: I did. Actually, the moment was well prepared, however, with my college education in sociology; primary advocate of social justice.

So, we marched. We wrote. We did a lot of things to promote actually the kind of equality that we're still struggling for. When I went to Temple University, I was involved in intergroup relations program that was also trying to promote equality in thought, in education, and other areas. And then I worked in the inner city and moved along.

In my doctoral work, I did research on the Boards of Selectmen in Vermont, and I used the attitudes of freedom and equality; attitudes towards social change, which in that time was a movement toward a statewide plan, particularly involving environmental issues and finished my doctorate.

All of a sudden, one day while I was working on the Leahy campaign is their local coordinator as I was getting grown, I ran into Bill Carris. And Bill and I started talking. He had been on the boards of a college that I had been teaching at years and years ago. And so we just started talking and then he asked me to read his long-term plan.

[00:03:46] Bret Keisling: For those who are listening, Bill Carris, just to be clear, is the founder of Carris Reels, that is as real a deal of an employee-owned ESOP as any that I know. So, I just, please continue with the story you met Bill Carris, but for the listeners who don't know, this is a huge moment.

[00:04:03] Cecile Betit: Unless Henry turned over in his grave. Henry was the founder, Bill is the son, and you know how fathers are. Anyway, Bill is the son who purchased, who was raised in the company. The company was like the babysitter and he loved the men in the shop -- in those days, it was all men in the shop. And Bill purchased the company from his father in 1980 for the sole purpose of making an employee-owned, governed, as language came a little while later. The idea of a voice and participation was in Bill's early thing.

But Bill's long-term plan was basically a vision, not only at the economic end, and it was very much at the economic end, profit was mentioned many times. But so was the common good. So were values. So was community. And I have to say, after I read it, I could think of nothing else for days.

And I thought, this is a real leap. A leap intellectually, a leap socially, and psychologically. And how is he going to pull this off?

I could think of nothing else. I was working on a Leahy campaign, which provided a lot of meeting people and doing things and looking at things. And I recognized, and as I went back over my own career, at middle states and all that kind of thing, the people I admired most were people at some level that were doing what Bill Carris had the opportunity and was putting in process. And I really wanted to be a part of it.

Not to belabor the point, but I just finished a research project and so I asked him if I could do the research at his company and he was very much in favor, but not everyone in management was.

[00:05:42] Bret Keisling: Cecile we're going to talk more about Carris Reels and that's actually what you're here to discuss your research and the process that went in and importantly, your conclusions. But I just want to comment for a moment about your A-ha Moment, because I've now collected a bunch of them in the last year and people have shared the stories. And what I find really powerful is there are lots of different buckets of the stories, but two of the categories that are distinct are I got into employee ownership in '08. I did a transaction as outside counsel, became CEO of the ESOP, and then spent seven years as a trustee. My appreciation for ESOPs, quite frankly, were the business side of ESOPs, the transactions, the all of that. And to be honest, I was good at it, and I loved it. At a certain point and having my son work for me for a couple of years, who was a 'Bernie bro,' as they say, and my, both of my children, love them passionate, progressive, want to make the world a better place. And as I started looking at values, I realized that employee ownership addressed social issues that were important to me.

But then there's you and a bunch of other folks who've been on the podcast that had the social action values that were passionate about your communities, your country, making the world a better place. And then you realized employee ownership addressed those things beautifully. So, for me, it's the mirror image of how I came to bringing employee ownership and building the communities. I came the exact opposite path from you. Does that make sense?

[00:07:23] Cecile Betit: Sure. Because there's a wholeness involved and those of us that are in the social justice sometimes come late to the realization that folks need to be fed and housed and to do that in our current economic states, we need cash. And we haven't yet, we're moving toward electronics, and I don't know how that's going to look down the pike, but we moved from people going to war with their gold wagons to plastic, and who knows where that's going to go.

But in our culture and in our time, the US and the west have very well-developed property rights. We understand capital as an involved those and assets. What we really don't understand and don't respect enough as a culture, I think, the kind of capital that life brings, whether it's human or animal. Humans have never created a natural resource.

[00:08:27] Bret Keisling: That's an excellent point. This alone could lead us on a podcast and many conversations.

[00:08:33] Cecile Betit: [Laughter.]

[00:08:34] Bret Keisling: Oh no, that was me. I asked the question, I loved the answer. That was a message to my own self-discipline of, I don't want to in a while say, and let's have you back to talk about your research! But I love this and it is important and this is the kind of thing that I would someday love to have you back and just move this discussion along, because it is very important and the interplay of our values and what we're doing in employee ownership.

But with that, where are we broke off and it's probably a good segue is that you got very excited about meeting Bill Carris and what you read from him. You were invited to do some research and there was some resistance.

So, talk a little bit, if you can just frame what you were set up to do and a little bit of the process. Just explain that. And then we'll talk about your research.

[00:09:20] Cecile Betit: Sure. First of all, Bill didn't invite me. I asked.

[00:09:24] Bret Keisling: Excellent. I love that.

[00:09:26] Cecile Betit: And some of the managers rolled their eyes, some were resistant, and some just didn't have any thoughts, but it was a range.

But Bill is extremely open, which is a great quality as he moved into employee ownership. And so, as he was presenting -- and part of the time crunch was there was going to be the first statements were going to be issued in March. And I knew that it was important to the research to do as a first piece before the statements. So, we did this with the first study in February; had a wonderful response. And my goal in moving towards shared ownership was to see part of the research hypothesis was the basis of the research question was basically whether or not as people moved into shared ownership, the values would become more social, less individual, more toward the group. With the understanding that as the company moved from everyone out for themselves, in a sense, of what was a family owned business with those kinds of values. And remember that even at the start, there were branches in California, Michigan, Virginia, North Carolina, Connecticut. All of that was in place.

Bill and the team had been very careful to make sure that the company was strong. They had good years. They had everything in place and we're really working the profitability. And interestingly enough, what many employee-owned companies find, is people are afraid. Absolute confidence in Bill Carris and Mike Curran, who moved from production manager to VP.

Mike carried the company in his breast pocket. He always had the numbers. He had a visceral way of calculating the state of the company on the fly, which was very amazing. And in a sense, they thought differently.

And for me over the course of the research was watching them work out and in a similar sense to the way that you came to EO and the way that I came to EO, how they would come together and package a whole.

And it was truly an amazing beginning. It was much harder than anyone thought to have people want to be owners. Everyone, I think, in management, most of us watching and I was doing active research, so I was chatting with people. Most of us thought people would just climb on, but they didn't. It was really hard. And talented people all around working on this to form this group, one way of this way of being together and consultants came in. And for me, there were pivotal moments; when Chris Mackin brought the decision making model which uses basically the 30 plus decisions that businesses make. But he had a lovely framework that taught people how decisions were made. And an A-ha Moment in my research was sitting in North Carolina with Loren Rodgers explaining to people, as a prototype, how the system would work with two tiers for the decision-making. One of them was the section that would be in the plant and the section that would be corporate. And these people were sitting there working on the ones that would be in the plant.

And the A-ha Moment for me was the recognition that it was the getting deep and dirty, that was changing the experience for these people. For them, it was getting involved. It was saying, a-ha, let's do it this way. And then somebody would chime in and say, but if we do it that way, what are we going to do about this? And I was watching them robe before my very eyes. And recognizing that the company was changing for them right before their eyes. They were growing!

[00:13:13] Bret Keisling: Let me make one point. Sometimes by the nature of The EO/ESOP Podcast, we get in to the ESOP/EO bubble, the prism, if you will. And let me just pause to say, this is all in the context of Carris Reels is a phenomenally successful business and they have the model. And I just want to say, sometimes we're focused on the culture and this is all very important, but for the casual listener, this is a crazy successful business and I just wanted to make that point.

[00:13:47] Cecile Betit: And let me add to that.

[00:13:48] Bret Keisling: Please.

[00:13:48] Cecile Betit: They've had their best months ever in the history of the company this year, post-COVID! High materials, short labor, and their people made it happen!

[00:13:58] Bret Keisling: There are so many different things. And, as you're aware of, the data and hard data has started to come through; employee-owned companies three to four times less to have layoffs, less likely to have layoffs during COVID. The successes is there. Obviously, life is life and as devastating as COVID has been for so many people, and those people are in both of our hearts, the reality is from the business model Hypertherm has done very well Carris Reels, we could name a lot of them and it speaks to the strength and the culture.

When I was preparing for this conversation and I thought the serendipity was you meeting Bill Carris. That was fortuitous. The serendipity was you being able to attach, prior to that very first meeting. You literally and I'm just connecting a couple of dots and the fact that you know how they've done over the last couple of months, you have really not just been a researcher, but now you've attained an archivist or historian of the entire process, the life cycle. Am I right?

[00:15:09] Cecile Betit: That was my purpose, actually, to be in a sense, an organizational biographer, what you're calling an archivist, to look at the process of them becoming employee-owned. And I might add work that many continue not to think it was very important because it's only one company and big researchers want comparative data. They want big datasets. And I understand that, but I also have tremendous respect for history where one person has made tremendous change. So, I have to figure that one company might as well.

[00:15:41] Bret Keisling: So, Cecile, with that, you've been kind enough to prepare an outline of some of your conclusions or thoughts and that sort of thing. So, I want to turn it over to you and just have you take us through what you've learned and what you'd like to share.

[00:15:53] Cecile Betit: The first thing is, I think a strong vision is something that you can come back to. It can guide decision-making. It can guide the values. And for Bill in the long-term plan, one thing that he did, which made it one look more like a cooperative than an ESOP, was one person, one vote, which is also the Vermont style at town meeting; one person, one vote. And that was very important.

He also began teaching employees that one of his goals was to build wealth. That they wouldn't just have votes. And he wanted to build in short-term incentives, as he called them, midterm incentives, and the long-term, which was the ESOP.

Bill didn't start out it with employee ownership with an ESOP. He was looking for a mechanism and the ESOP was the best for him at that time and for the company.

He also worked very hard and this was a company that already was very diverse, racially, language-wise, age-wise, and he made the vision much more inclusive than language of the era, in a sense, of the eighties and nineties. But his mission was to improve the life for the growing corporate community. And community, for Bill, meant everybody that the company touched; the suppliers, the buyers, the neighbors, the people who worked there. But as they thrive, so would everyone else.

The common good was very common in Bill's language.

Early, they developed a system that put everybody in the room, and that is a very important concept; the board of directors, senior management, site managers, elected representatives. And in my notes, if I didn't put in speakers as to who was speaking, I would not know the difference at some points from a corporate manager and a plant person on the floor. They were speaking very similar. During the resection, they didn't come together in the room, because of costs.

The steering committee provided the whole basis for Bill's vision. At those meetings finances was gone through ad infinitum. And one of David Fitz's great talents, David Fitz-Gerald, CFO, vice president now of the corporation, was his ability to bring those numbers to life; in a game, in a crazy PowerPoint, but people never forget and they began to learn. And they went through the whole idea of open book. When they had problems with Vermont Tubbs at one point, and it was very, very sad, they made sure that people were met with all throughout the company so they would know those problems openly.

And they set goals together. The strategic planning process is very much alive. The decision making that went from the steering committee, the prototype in North Carolina, to the whole company. Everybody in the company had the opportunity to know who was the final decision maker. Who provided input? How was the decision enacted? People knew.

And there was these big charts. So, if anybody didn't know, they could just look. And that's as open as you can get and transparent.

And there was a whole way of an open agenda. Everyone in the company could contribute to the agenda for the corporate steering committee. And the first thing the corporate steering committee came in and looked at the agenda and they would make a decision as to whether to share it all the way through. In some cases, ideas were felt to be better addressed at the plant level or that people needed more information to be able to address it here. But again, at the moment of that kind of feedback, you didn't know whose role was, what and people were learning. That, for me, was the basis for the corporate governance.

Now Carris has employees, one hourly and one salary on the board of directors. And they are full bona fide, no hindrances kinds of board of directors. The trustees for the ESOP have employees and two managers. And again, it's not a matter of anybody outranking. There's been a real effort in terms of making sure the information is out there. People know how to think about it in terms of criterion for a good decision and they do it.

And I think that might be the biggest part of my research. But, again, the element that I think carries is the element where we can look at how employee ownership and the employee ownership conversation carries a lot of weight towards social change.

As we come out of COVID, we're coming out in a silver tsunami. My generation is retiring all over the place, some people are saying 10,000 a day. One of the things we have to look at, and I just started working on this, is that many companies that will become employee-owned coming out of the tsunami are, as Carris Reels was, family owned.

We're not looking at the values of family owned businesses within the context of ESOPs, of employee-owned. I am astounded at the research, which I've not done a lot of until very recently, the values of family ownership are very much the values of employee-owned. And what we're not doing enough of is encouraging that link, which is a very natural. That's one piece that's pulling me. My book on Carris, of course, being a part of all this.

But the other piece is that idea of shared ownership and how it encourages people to grow. Our culture, our society, our moneymaking will only grow with those who can and those who will. And if we're not building capacity all across the board, nothing else is going to happen.

[00:21:39] Bret Keisling: Let me circle back to the board agenda because, and just very briefly, because a lot of times when I talk to people who aren't in employee ownership and they hear about the business model and they don't get it. Somebody has to be in charge. Somebody has to make a decision. And sometimes I fall into that a little bit myself, where you said anybody can make suggestions for the agenda. And immediately, because I didn't listen, I didn't wait to listen. I was like, that would be bulky. And then you talked about the steering committee and prioritizing what's on the agenda and what's good for the agenda and then sending some issues back for further study or to different departments.

And I'm assuming in the transparency environment, and this is the point I wanted to make that I think is really important, everybody knew the ideas didn't just go somewhere to die. They probably had a sense that, hey, it didn't make it onto the board agenda, but we've sent it like, was there some communication so that people had a sense that there wasn't just a vacuum of making suggestions?

[00:22:44] Cecile Betit: Yes. Let me be very clear. The corporate steering committee is not the board of directors.

[00:22:49] Bret Keisling: Correct.

[00:22:50] Cecile Betit: That's a group that's made up of a board member, currently Bill Carris chair of the board, corporate management, site managers, and elected reps. Okay? The board of directors is made up by a group that's elected by the board of directors that includes two employees. The agenda for the corporate steering committee, as a representative body, is the one that employees send ideas, or the agenda, concerns that they have that they want. Now, in most cases, as far as my history, in most cases, this has been discussed in-house at a plant meeting, for example, at the site, as to whether or not their representatives should bring the forward and submitted as an agenda item.

And then the group as it convenes looks at that and says we think that maybe the decision should still be made at plant level. We don't need to be involved, okay. Or we need to have more understanding of what people are seeing is a process here or an outcome.

[00:23:51] Bret Keisling: That makes a lot of sense and I love the fact that the engagement is two way. That there is a sense that things are moving on. As a trustee, as you can imagine, I did an awful lot of site visits and I've shared this story before on the podcast, but I had one client, 200 employees, financially troubled company in a financially troubled industry. And, long story short, is one afternoon the CEO said, Bret, just wander around the plant floor. And I did that and, Cecile, I love to talk to people, but there I'm the trustee. And I showed up and somebody on the plant floor said, hey, I have a complaint . The CEO turned a supply closet into an employee gym and he spent $600 and didn't ask anybody about it. 200 employees in here, the cost was $600. Frankly, and people misunderstand the role of the trustee, which is not to micromanage management. But the other thing is it would have raised a yellow flag as trustee if he had converted an employee gym into some other non-employee use, but the fact that they took the supply room and made an employee lounge and gym in it, I'm like, that's a good use.

As I explained to him and as I then explained to the president of the company, this man on the plant floor just wanted someone to express it to. And once he knew that, okay, it made sense and the president was actually okay doing that, in my view as the trustee, the importance, wasn't how I answered the question. The importance was he had an opportunity to say something that was then responded to respectfully and appropriately, not the answer he was looking for, but he got value for his input and his opinion. And that's what you're doing there.

[00:25:42] Cecile Betit: Yes. And I think that one of the differences here that I just want to bring up, I think that when we start talking about people becoming employee owners, shared owners, we often don't know the leap that is for a person who has never even owned a home. And the whole identity of what does that mean? We don't allow the kind of learning time. And then when you look at yourself, learning any skill, myself, learning any skill or learning about anything new, how long it takes.

So, learning how to do this. Management had a hard time, at one point, this was where the decision-making model was very helpful. Because the decision-making model encouraged that a decision needed to be made, which meant that somebody needed a response.

Now, in America until very recently, management did not see part of their role as responding to employee ideas. They would just take them in like a vacuum cleaner. And if they were useful, then they would pull them out of the dirt bag but otherwise they wouldn't go anywhere. And it was a learning experience for management to know how important it was.

One of Bill's goals was to bring employees into the business and to teach them the business. That has been ongoing goal at Carris and that's one of the reasons, I think, they continue to be successful. It's not only that they're transparent and accountable, it's that they teach for understanding. In the messiness of democracy and all of that, it's very unusual, I think, for people to be willing to deal with the mess of everybody's ideas, but they're willing to, and they've pulled out some wonderful ones over the years.

[00:27:25] Bret Keisling: This leads us to one of the themes that I attribute to you on social media and feel free to take this wherever you would go. But when I got into employee ownership, ESOPs, in '08. Until the last couple of years, the definition of employee ownership was literally, did you have value in the company. Either in an ESOP, obviously, as the beneficiary of the trust, co-ops as actually a member. Now there's an important discussion that's going on that, frankly, the advocates and the researchers like yourself are furthering along, that employee ownership as we define it and the values that you and I hold and many others, the fact that there are elements of employee ownership isn't what we're striving for anymore. There must be participation. There must be the democratic voice within employee ownership.

Do you see one of our goals to make that stronger connection? That just having the shares getting a statement isn't enough, there needs to be a voice.

[00:28:33] Cecile Betit: Yes. I think that in our economy, we have not worked enough for that social element. I think the fact that we can have one person, one vote. And, look, this is not resolved issue, even in our country. Look at the battle that we're doing now in terms of even the voting within our democracy. At my age, I'm astounded at this conversation that we're having as a country. And that anyone would want to bring it into another realm.

But, I also think that over time, the idea of democracy is very powerful. De Tocqueville said that it was the apex. I'm beginning to think that collaboration and cooperation, maybe just a hint above, but it takes a big leap. But I think in economic democracy, the idea that everyone has a right to a livelihood or what the Buddhist call "right livelihood" is, I think, a very critical conversation for our time. That employee ownership without voice is better, of course, than not having economic ownership. I'm not going to take that away at all because it does build wealth, wages go up because there's no reason for an employer not to pay as much as they can.

I come from the state that until very recently, there was not a more ritzy part. My childhood in Vermont, the town drunk and the mansion right on the same street and they confronted each other all the time. And a real comfort in doing that, very different than urban America.

Now we have, where I live now, not far from Okemo where there's been a very big and very ritzy development of summer homes, you know, second homes. But during COVID, of course, they've all become residential. But I think that we need to keep working or this idea that everyone has a right to voice and a right to right livelihood.

[00:30:22] Bret Keisling: I am really grateful for your time, and this is interesting and would love to have you back at some point and just talk about some of these issues more.

One of the other themes I attribute to you on social media is employee ownership and ESOPs really are absent from graduate schools, essentially, right now. They're not really taught in a lot of business school programs, law schools, you know, and I graduated law school and was an adjunct law professor for five or six years, employee ownership isn't on the radar. And that then feeds into academia and the research that will allow us to grow because one of the things the practitioners don't realize is we are building much of what the practitioners do on the research. And if the practitioners stopped to think about it, they go into potential clients who are considering employee ownership and they are dropping data on these clients, it all comes from the research! That doesn't come from the practitioners. That comes from you, the folks that Rutgers, all the folks that do tremendous work.

So, I do want to give a shout out and you made the introduction and I'm very grateful. There's an employee owner, they call them associate, at Hypertherm. His name is Jamil Houssanah. And Jamil recently got his doctorate in business administration and his dissertation was on ESOP culture and communication. And he's coming on the podcast somewhere along the lines of when your episode will drop, I'm not sure of the schedule, but he'll be on the podcast.

And for me, I've never heard of such a thing, someone doing a dissertation on ESOP. How important is it for us, you, me, and everyone, to encourage more of that research, more of the education and work on immersing the graduate schools in employee ownership?

[00:32:14] Cecile Betit: I think it's terrifically important, Bret, and I'm very glad you mentioned it. Through Rutgers there's a program called CLEO, which is the Curriculum Library for Employee Ownership. Adria Scharf headed a panel last week at the academy of management that talked about ways of teaching about employee ownership. And this is terrifically important.

My feeling is that in high school business classes, college, graduate school, that employee ownership should be mentioned as a form of ownership and what it does, how it contrasts, and all of that. Young entrepreneurs need to see this as part of their succession plan. One of the things that I've talked to Doug Kruse about this on a couple of occasions in the research that's done, there's a certain elitist. Many of the journals in academia are not available to a state college. It doesn't have the money to subscribe to the big data that's available through journals like Emerald, Elsevier. In academia, there are several tiers to the journals. But the colleges buy at the tier that they can afford. And that means that a lot of the great work that's being done by very prestigious researchers is not available. I need to drive to get that. There are other things I can get remotely, but I'm not subscribing. But that becomes a real drawback to this idea that you and I are promoting, which is let's make this as common as sliced bread, as they used to say.

And rather than an academic pursuit, what we really want are more employee owners. We want more current owners to be selling to their employees. And the big data is so important because it tells us that it promotes a better society, a better country, and that as we build wealth across the board for minorities, for women, for all of those. Those are very important data points that you need big data to prove.

But at the same time, when that entrepreneur is standing to make a decision, it's one person is one vote to decide what's going to happen to this company. And we need to be much more alert to helping that person make a decision that benefits him, benefits his legacy or her legacy, and helps their community, because we know that this is not going to be sold abroad and that good wages will continue to be paid. And those, I think we need to have more impact driven of employee ownership, rather than just a particular piece that we're touting.

[00:35:00] Bret Keisling: Is there any final point you'd like to make anything that would sum up or anything you haven't covered?

[00:35:05] Cecile Betit: An ideal scenario for me, Bret would be at the 10,000 people retiring today would sell their companies to the employee owners and it builds their future. And in their retirement, I hope they will talk to high school classes, college classes about why they did this and what it has contributed to their lives, the lives of their employee owners, and the lives in their community.

We live in a network and I think if we can somehow promote that network to be the best we can be and to encourage others to be the best we can do that, that's a lot in one day.

[00:35:39] Bret Keisling: Cecile, I want to thank you for your time today. I want to thank you for the support and interactions through social media and I always get a little bit hesitant at this moment because I'm just someone who loves to talk about employee ownership and I can't speak for employee ownership. That said, on behalf of employee ownership, thank you so much. Your work is so important. The researchers, the members of academia really are laying the foundation for what all of us are trying to do, and it is important. And we've said it a couple of different ways and in a couple of different times, and I just want to hit the nail on the head, what we're talking about is transcending a good business model. It is about the lives of the employee owners. It's about the community. It's about our country and our world. And it's the understanding that ownership, whether it's property, whether it's a piece of the company, whether it's your own little piece of whatever, that ownership is transformative.

And I just want to say thank you because your work is so important in what we're all trying to build, and I'm grateful, and you're a delightful person to talk to!

[00:37:03] Cecile Betit: This has been such a treat for me. I appreciate you.

[00:37:06] Bret Keisling: Keep doing it. There are three or four different podcasts episodes from this conversation that we could have whole conversations. So, I hope down the road a little bit, you'd be kind enough to come back.

[00:37:17] Cecile Betit: Thank you so much. Of course I will.

[00:37:18] Bret Keisling: With that, folks, we are going to wrap up today's episode. I am so grateful to Cecile Betit for joining me. And, folks. I'm just the luckiest person in the world. I really spend so much time just talking to people like Cecile and then talking to you about employee ownership and my life and my heart is full.

So, thank you so much for listening. I'm grateful to you all. This is Bret Keisling. Be well.


[00:37:44] Bitsy McCann: We'd love to hear from you. You can find us on Facebook at EO Podcast Network and on Twitter @ESOPPodcast. This podcast has been produced by Bret Keisling for the EO Podcast Network, production assistance by Victoria Huerta, original music composed by Max Keisling, branding and marketing by BitsyPlus Design, 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 Descript, 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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