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Mini-cast 152: The Podcasts are Coming!

A microphone surrounded by the EO Podcast Network, the EsOp Podcast, the Why Worker Co-ops, and the Owner to Owner podcast logos.

Bret Keisling is joined by EO Podcast Network hosts Rodney North (Why Worker Co-ops) and Jesse Tyler (Owner to Owner) who discuss their new podcasts in this excerpt from the introductory episode of Why Worker Co-ops.


Mini-cast 152 Transcript

[00:00:00] Bret Keisling: 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. The podcasts are coming! The podcasts are coming! The EO Podcast Network launches the final week of September.

We kick things off Tuesday, September 28th with season five of the EO/ESOP Podcast. My guest will be Diane Ives of The Kendeda Fund. Wednesday, September 29th, we kick off the brand-new Owner to Owner podcast with Jesse Tyler and September 30th we kick off Why Worker Co-ops with Rodney North.

In this excerpt from the Why Worker Co-ops introductory episode, Rodney interviews Jesse about Jesse's podcast and I answer a question or two about the EO Podcast Network.

We are all working behind the scenes to bring you exciting new conversations about employee ownership. Look for season five of the EO/ESOP Podcast and the brand-new launches of the Owner to Owner podcast and the Why Worker Co-ops podcast.

In the meantime, enjoy this peek at what's ahead.


[00:01:22] Rodney North: Welcome to the Why Worker Co-ops podcast part of the EO Podcast Network. My name is Rodney North. I've been part of the worker-owned cooperative community for 25 years. And in every episode, I bring on a new guest to talk about one "why." One way that the worker co-op model makes a difference for employees, for their businesses, their communities, and society at large. Or we will discuss one specific way that people, organizations, governments can support worker cooperatives.

And for those new to worker co-ops, they are businesses owned and governed by the employees on a one person, one share, one vote basis. They can be either profit or nonprofit. While some of the topics will be familiar to most worker cooperators, I bet on some episodes we'll share insights that'll be new even for those with decades in the co-op world.

So, I am excited to have on my new friends and peers in EO Podcast Network, Bret Keisling and Jesse Tyler. As it says on his business card, Bret Keisling is a passionate advocate for employee ownership. He is the founder of the EO Podcast Network and host of The EsOp Podcast. He's also the producer of this podcast and for the Owner to Owner podcast, which gets us to our second guest, Jesse Tyler.

Jesse is Associate Experience Specialist for Hypertherm, a sophisticated manufacturing business and a hundred percent employee-owned ESOP with over 1,900 employees worldwide. Amazingly, they've never laid anyone off. But more importantly, as I alluded, Jesse is the host of another new podcast, the Owner to Owner podcast.

Thank you very much for coming on today, Jesse.

[00:03:02] Jesse Tyler: Thank you, Rodney. It's a lot of fun to join the Why Worker Co-ops and to support your podcast and the work you're doing for the broader reach into the ownership community.

I'm excited, even though I'm from the land of ESOPs and I've worked as an employee owner now for 14 and a half years, just in working to develop these podcasts, I've really become fascinated by the extension of ownership into the co-op world. So, it's wonderful to have already learned some things from you, and I'm looking forward to your guests and the education that you'll do and the insights you're going to bring to the co-op world.

[00:03:36] Rodney North: I'm really looking forward to your show. It's the only one that I know of where regular employee owners from across different parts of business and across different businesses have a chance to share their experiences. Do you know of any precedent for something like this?

[00:03:54] Jesse Tyler: I'm not familiar with another podcast that does this. This is an extension of my work. So, I work for Hypertherm, that's part of my ownership work. And so my role is associate experience. I do work on ownership culture, onboard new associates, and support our ownership team, do a lot with milestones recognition, I run problem-buster forums to hear the voices not usually heard.

It's amazing -- if you ask somebody who doesn't usually get asked to solve a problem, it's amazing what can be solved and that, seeing this play out over years of doing this with hundreds of global associates is really what inspired me to shape the Owner to Owner podcast for Bret the way that I have, because I'm fascinated to hear the voices you don't usually hear.

And when it comes to employee ownership, you can see this kind of a big, it's a big, complicated structure, it's a retirement program, but then you start going through the levels and you look at communities that are transformed because a company that would have sold and maybe it got broken up, stays there. Those jobs stay there. That security stays there. The families are stronger and healthier and that feeds into the school systems and the businesses. But at the end of that chain are the individual owners. And how does this culture and wealth building experience impact them? How do they talk about it with their friends and family? How has it impacted their lives? And I find that endlessly fascinating, and I appreciate the opportunity with the EO Podcast Network to have Owner to Owner to start to explore those voices.

[00:05:30] Rodney North: Well, I think it's going to be quite the contribution to employee ownership and, we got to hope, more broadly to help change the way people think about work. Who's an owner, who can be an owner, and what work can be as opposed to just what work is. It's great that you're doing this. It's great that our mutual friend Bret has made this possible.

So, as Bret is the impresario behind all of this, the EO Podcast Network, his own two shows, and for making possible Owner to Owner, and making this show Why Worker Co-ops possible.

So, Bret, thank you for coming on.

[00:06:09] Bret Keisling: Rodney, it is a great pleasure to be here. It's also a great pleasure to be here with Jesse. So, thank you very much.

[00:06:16] Rodney North: Since we get to turn the tables a bit, so to speak, and ask the questions of you. I want to know, I think we all want to know more about what led to this idea of, okay, people start podcasts. They like it. Some of them work, some of them don't. But you got an idea or a fire in your belly that you wanted to do more than the two shows you were already doing, as if that wasn't enough. What led you to decide to scale this up?

[00:06:46] Bret Keisling: That's a great question, Rodney. And I guess I need to explain a little bit about my wiring. I started The EsOp Podcast, we now call it the EO/ESOP Podcast, and the ESOP Mini-cast in 2017 when I was a managing partner at Capital Trustees, which is a boutique ESOP trustee firm that I co-founded with my friend and then-partner Rich Heeter. I've hosted both podcasts since 2017. Very proud. We've got approximately 340 episodes, the vast majority of them with guests. We've got approximately, as we're getting ready to launch the network, a little more than 85,000 total listens in the last four years.

There are a couple of opportunities. First of all, everybody says, everybody agrees, more people should be talking about employee ownership. That's literally what I do. I'm fortunate as you, and both of you have been on my own podcast in the past. As you know, I pretty much talked to everybody and now I've become kind of a generalist where I'm just moving the ball forward.

Meanwhile, Rodney, you've been a great guest and a resource for guests in the co-op space. And I'm very proud of the last year, what I refer to as season four, where I've really focused a lot of attention on broader employee ownership on co-ops as well as ESOPs. And it's a sign of my moving to a general take, which is if we're building what I like to call the EO sandbox, we need to bring all the pieces together and collaborate. So, meanwhile, I can't tell the stories that I want to tell. There's just too many of them.

Here's what you two both bring to the table. You, first of all, in the co-op space, Rodney. It's possible stylistically our podcasts would be somewhat similar in terms of what we're doing, if I were in the co-op space. Except for one really big difference, and it does speak to the vibe. You have a lot of experience in establishing co-ops. You go deep on the history of co-ops you are deep on the principles, et cetera, et cetera. Whereas that I just have a general knowledge. But as you know, with my seven years as a trustee, I set the valuations for 180 companies. So, whereas I tend to, at some point, go to EBITDA, you know, balance sheets, valuations, and that sort of thing you are coming from the more purer form, I think, of it is a good format.

So, if you and I, at some point had the same guests on our identical podcasts, you would probably get more into the social justice, the community vibe, the ethical and moral and, I don't want to put words in your mouth, but all the reasons for the co-ops. Whereas I'd probably divert a little more attention to the competitive nature of what they're doing and how are they addressing, you know, the business side of things. Does that make sense?

[00:09:41] Rodney North: It does. And I take heart and some enthusiasm from how probably all three of us could talk to some of the same people at the same business and have three different conversations.

[00:09:54] Bret Keisling: With that we'll wrap up today's episode. Stay tuned for our exciting launch of the EO Podcast Network. Thank you so much for listening. This is Bret Keisling. Be well.


[00:10:07] Bitsy McCann: 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 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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