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Mini-cast 112: ESOP Courses from the Beyster Institute

Bret Keisling describes two EsOp courses being offered in 2021 by the Beyster Institute at the University of California San Diego Rady School of Management, one for EsOp company management, and the other for emerging or new professionals.


Mini-cast 112 Transcript

Bret Keisling: 00:06 Welcome to The ESOP Mini-cast, thank you so much for listening. My name is Bret Keisling, and as it says on my business cards, I'm a passionate advocate for employee ownership. As we look ahead to 2021, I want to bring to your attention two great courses offered by the Beyster Institute, which is part of the Rady School of Management at UC San Diego. Both of the courses begin in January and we'll include a link to the Beyster website in our show notes.

Bret Keisling: 00:36 The first course is for company management and the second course is geared towards what I call emerging professionals. Those who really want to build an ESOP practice, but either don't know where to start or haven't gained traction. More about that in a moment.

Bret Keisling: 00:50 The first course is geared towards ESOP company management and it's called "Administering Your ESOP: Company Responsibilities." It's a five session course, which takes place between January 11th and January 20th, 2021 and you can take it online.

Bret Keisling: 01:07 If you're a new ESOP, or if responsibility for ESOP management is new for you and your position, then this is a great way to immerse yourself in some of the ongoing issues you'll come across at an employee owned company. Every prudent ESOP company has professional advisors, including ESOP lawyers, trustees, and third-party administrators and even though valuation advisors work for the trustee, you'll have a lot of interaction with them as well during the annual update process. This course is not designed to replace any of the professionals, but it will be extremely helpful in allowing you to be proactive about managing the relationships with the professional advisors.

Bret Keisling: 01:48 I worked with a lot of ESOP companies in seven years as an ESOP trustee, and some of the best experiences were those companies that had a dedicated and knowledgeable ESOP expert working on the inside. But I believe you will find that the costs of this course are more than paid for out of the savings if you are able to be proactive in your management of ESOPs. Rather than letting your professional advisors be the ones who bring issues to you, it will make a smoother process, better management, and that will more than justify the cost of this course.

Bret Keisling: 02:27 This course has a great faculty, which includes Kim Blaugher, who is the Executive Director of the Beyster Institute, Jennifer Briggs, who is one of the leading ESOP and EO experts nationwide, and Howard Kaplan, who is the president and CEO of Kaplan Fiduciary Services. And there are other great experts with national reputations on the faculty as well. By the way, Jennifer Briggs appeared on our podcast just a few months ago and Howard Kaplan was our guest for an episode in 2018.

Bret Keisling: 02:55 The second course is called "Understanding ESOPs: Training to be an ESOP Professional." It's geared towards young professional business advisors, the ones who I call emerging professionals on lots of podcasts. This is a 15 week course that also meets live online every Wednesday from 5 to 8:00 PM, PST beginning January 6th, it's a graduate level course and if you're on a degree track it's worth six credits.

Bret Keisling: 03:25 But in my opinion, the value to the professional building their ESOP practice is huge, even without the graduate school credits. In the program description, Beyster points out the need for additional professional advisors and the frustration in the ESOP community that there aren't more stepping up to fill roles.

Bret Keisling: 03:46 I have a little different view. There are conflicting realities in the ESOP space right now. Certainly it's very hard to build a practice and breaking through can take quite a while, but if you're an established ESOP professional chances are right now in December, 2020, you're really busy. A number of my advisor friends report, a historic level of work and Steve Storkan of EOX said the same thing on our primary EO/ESOP podcast a week or two ago. So on the one hand, it's tough to gain traction. And on the other hand, if you already have traction you're busier than ever.

Bret Keisling: 04:21 This course from Beyster is a great way to bridge the gap by building knowledge and credentials and setting oneself apart from the emerging professionals who stick to the same routine I followed, which has pretty much become fixtures at NCEO and ESOP Association conferences. Don't get me wrong, that's still a great way to build your practice, but it takes a long time and meanwhile, you're missing out on all the business being done right now.

Bret Keisling: 04:47 So for professionals looking to build their client base, or frankly, hoping to be more attractive if an established firm is looking to expand or hire then I'd highly recommend this course as a great way to set yourself apart.

Bret Keisling: 05:03 One final thought from about 2016 on my firm was always swamped in December. It's one of the ways we knew we had a national presence. There might've been a time when I worried about whether too many professionals would saturate the ESOP marketplace and reduce my own share of the pie. I firmly believe with 12 years of experience in employee ownership, that if we expand the number of qualified advisors, we will grow the EO sandbox exponentially.

Bret Keisling: 05:31 Current professional advisors won't be giving up their share of the pie, we'll all be making a lot more pie.

Bret Keisling: 05:41 I want to thank Jennifer Briggs who is on the Beyster faculty for bringing these programs to my attention. In just a moment you'll hear how to contact us if you or someone you know is doing something cool in the employee ownership space.

Bret Keisling: 05:55 You can find all of our archived podcasts at or wherever you get podcasts and if you do a search on our website, you'll find previous episodes about the Beyster Institute, Jennifer Briggs, Howard Kaplan, Steve Storkan, et cetera.

Bret Keisling: 06:12 We're all going through a lot together and in the spirit of employee ownership, that's how we'll get through it -- together. It's going to take some time, but when we come back, we'll be stronger than ever.

Bret Keisling: 06:26 This is Bret Keisling. Thank you so much for listening. Have a great day.

Bitsy McCann: 06:33 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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