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Mini-cast 153: The EO Podcast Network is Coming!

Bret Keisling is again joined by Jesse Tyler (Owner to Owner podcast) and Rodney North (Why Worker Co-ops podcast) who discuss their new podcasts, the messages they hope to send, and the people they hope to reach. The EO Podcast Network launches September 28.


Mini-cast 153 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. Four years ago, in September, 2017, we launched The EsOp Podcast and shortly thereafter, the ESOP Mini-cast.

Now, next week, I'm proud and excited and grateful to see the launch of the EO Podcast Network. Tuesday, September 28th kicks off season five of The EO/ESOP Podcast and my guest will be Diane Ives of The Kendeda Fund.

Wednesday, September 29th launches the Owner to Owner podcast with Jesse Tyler. In this introductory episode, Jesse's guest is Rodney North host of the Why Worker Co-ops podcast.

The Why Worker Co-ops podcast with Rodney North launches Thursday, September 30th. His first guest on his introductory episode is, as you might've surmised, Jesse Tyler.

The EO/ESOP Podcast and the ESOP Mini-Cast will continue to drop new episodes weekly. The Owner to Owner podcast and the Why Worker Co-ops podcast will each be biweekly dropping on alternate weeks. After the introductory episodes air, listeners will have my two episodes each week, as well as an episode from one of the other podcast titles.

To give you a taste, here is Jesse Tyler with Rodney North and I make an appearance as well. I hope you enjoy.


[00:01:39] Jesse Tyler: Welcome to the Owner to Owner podcast on the EO Podcast Network. I'm Jesse Tyler, I'll be your host. The goal of this series is to have owner to owner discussions about a wide range of ownership experience and culture topics, to bring more insight into the individual ownership experience.

My own interest within the space is talking to many of the essential workers, frontline workers rank and file. Partly because that's who I spend the most time with. I've been onsite at work every day through the pandemic, supporting our essential workers. I find myself with other ESOPs just fascinated by the truck drivers, the assemblers, the machine operators, the bakers. Hearing, the voices that aren't usually heard.

And there's a deeper interest in the rank and file and the frontline folks is that in the rest of the economy, outside of ownership, they're usually left out of wealth building, security, and potentially job quality. And so, the idea that we have owners that are participating and we're hearing from those from the owner perspective, I just find it endlessly fascinating.

So, I wanted to share a little bit about what the podcast is about and I'm excited to welcome my two guests today. Rodney North is the host of the Why Worker Co-ops podcast and Bret Keisling, who runs the EO Podcast Network and has two of his own podcasts.

Bret and I met at a conference, at one of The ESOP Association conferences. Hit it off. He was looking for folks to have different conversations and from the ownership perspective, and I put my hand out and it's been a lot of fun with a friend. And then with Rodney North, I really didn't know anything about co-ops. I had no idea I've frequented them as a customer, and I just never really appreciated the expansive world of worker co-ops.

So, I'm excited to have both of you introduce yourself and then Rodney, I want to jump right in and learn more about your show and some of your background. You have a fascinating background.

Rodney, welcome to the podcast.

[00:03:55] Rodney North: Thank you for having me.

[00:03:56] Jesse Tyler: Bret, welcome to the podcast.

[00:03:59] Bret Keisling: Hey, Jesse, thank you so much. And I'm actually going to sit back and let you guys do your thing, but first of all, let me just say congratulations to both of you. I've been working with you, and we'll talk about it more at the end, but I'm so excited for your podcast. I'm so excited to be a guest on your podcast. And I can't wait for all of employee ownership to see, with both of your podcasts, what I've already seen behind the scenes. You guys are going to knock it out of the park!

So, with that, have a good talk and circle back with me later.

[00:04:26] Jesse Tyler: Alright. Thanks, Bret. So, Rodney, as we've been getting to work together, I've been fascinated by the depth of your experience and knowledge on worker co-ops. And I realized as much as I'm enthusiastic about ownership, I have a narrow scope of just thinking of that as the ESOP world.

So, could you share a little bit about your background and your experience, and then also some insights into the Why Worker Co-ops podcasts you've been working on.

[00:04:53] Rodney North: Sure. I've been in the worker co-op community for 25 years now, 20 of those with Equal Exchange, one of the nation's better known worker co-ops because they have a very public brand with their organic and fair-trade coffee, tea, chocolate, bananas, what have you. And like a lot of folks, when I arrived there, I didn't know a worker cooperative from anything else. It was just a totally foreign idea. There were maybe a 100, 150 in the country at the time. This was in 1996. And so I had to learn about it from the inside and it took a while even then, to really get fired up about it.

But that happened, fast forward to today where I'm literally jumping out into my seat to get behind a microphone and talk to people about worker co-ops. And they've been coming along, but they can do so much more. And it's because of folks like you, Jesse, that I want to spread the message, spread the word, so to speak. Folks like yourself who have a little exposure, certainly through employee ownership, because that's a big circle and worker cooperatives are a smaller circle within that.

Yeah. I want to reach people like you, who are open-minded and curious about this, what I think is an underutilized tool in society's economic toolbox.

[00:06:16] Jesse Tyler: That's great. So, I would like to know more of what, if someone's going to listen in to the Why Worker Co-ops what are some of the things they should be expecting? What are some of those things you want them to be looking for when they come to you for your expertise and guests?

[00:06:29] Rodney North: So, as the name implies, we are unapologetically making the case for worker cooperatives, whether they are startups, or existing businesses that could grow, or potential conversions. And every episode we're going to look at what I call "one why." One way that a worker cooperative makes a difference for their employees, a.k.a. worker/owners, for the businesses themselves, for their communities, or for the nation at large. Or we'll look at one way people can help support worker cooperatives through their patronage, choosing to get your coffee from a worker co-op as opposed to from a large corporation. Or how we can change the legal environment to be more supportive of worker co-ops. What we can do with financing and investing and other means to help more co-ops start, or existing ones to grow, or for existing businesses to convert maybe instead of shutting their doors. How we can help existing businesses convert to the worker co-op model?

[00:07:38] Bret Keisling: With that we will wrap up today's Mini-cast. I'm grateful to Jesse Tyler and Rodney North and the other team members helping to make my dream of the EO Podcast Network a reality. It launches next week, and I really hope you'll check out the Why Worker Co-ops podcast with Rodney North and the Owner to Owner podcast with Jesse Tyler.

Thank you for joining me today. This is Bret Keisling. Be well.


[00:08:05] 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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