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Mini-cast 154: Why an EO Podcast Network?

Bret Keisling, Rodney North and Jesse Tyler discuss how the ESOP and Co-op Worlds can learn from each other and grow stronger, and how the EO Podcast Network and its four podcasts will help drive the discussion.


Mini-cast 154 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. It is October and that means happy Employee Ownership Month to everyone. First and foremost, to the employee owners themselves. It is the actual employee owners that give our work so much meaning. If you're an employee owner, happy Employee Ownership Month and thank you so much for everything you do in your jobs and as a part of employee ownership.

I also want to wish a happy Employee Ownership Month as well to all of the advocates, professional advisors, organizations, and everyone who does so much to make employee ownership such a wonderful space.

This week also marked the launch of the EO Podcast Network, which is comprised of this Mini-cast, The EO/ESOP Podcast that I host, the Owner to Owner podcast with Jesse Tyler, and the Why Worker Co-ops podcast with Rodney North. Each podcast launched their first episode this week and it was also the start of season five on The EO/ESOP Podcast.

I'm going to share an excerpt from the first episode of the Why Worker Co-ops podcast. Rodney, Jesse, and I discuss our excitement at The EO Podcast Network bridging the gap between the ESOP and co-op worlds and why everyone involved in a single aspect of employee ownership should learn what else is going on in the EO sandbox.

Enjoy this excerpt which starts with a question from Rodney North.


[00:01:48] Rodney North: I have an ask and an offer of each of you before we wrap up. This is the Why Worker Co-ops podcast. We can assume the audience thinking more about worker cooperatives, what they might be, what that can mean.

So, in short, what would be a pitch that you would make to my audience, why they should listen to your show or shows? And I'll start with you, Jesse.

[00:02:12] Jesse Tyler: Well, I appreciate the opportunity to pitch. I think that the voice of ownership, I always thought of it before I started spending time with you, in particular, [and] with Bret, I just never really thought beyond ESOPs. I hope that folks that are excited about worker co-ops or participants can see this as a way to learn more, we don't get into a lot of technical things, but get some insight and hopefully hear a similar voice of ownership that they feel on a co-op and maybe expand their networks.

Any form of employee ownership makes the workplace better, makes the communities better, makes our country stronger. So, I'm hoping that it's a fascinating foray into different voices and different connections. And there has to be, you know, we have a co-op, a very successful co-op, that's a couple of them actually, but the one up in Hanover, New Hampshire, right on 11 and Border, it's an amazing story. And I just never really thought about that as an owner perspective, I had a very short lens. I have a lot of passion for the ESOP world and I go in there differently. And sometimes I've been buying things in there that I wouldn't usually buy in there, I might buy at a box store. And so, it's creeping into my behavior, the worker co-op conversations. It's showing up in results in how I'm spending my income.

So, I'm hoping for your audience in the worker co-ops they can have an appreciation that there might be several things in their house or their refrigerator or their cupboard or over their head that was made by a worker in the distant land of ESOPs and the more community we have the better.

So, I hope it's a lot of fun for them and then brings more curiosity. And I hope having both of our shows on the EO Podcast Network, I'm hoping for the same from the ESOP to learn about the co-ops.

[00:03:55] Rodney North: Likewise, I'm really hoping that people who are already in or just excited about worker co-ops will similarly -- like, it's almost like, on Christmas Day, it's like, hey, you didn't know it, this is a surprise that there's a gift out there. And it's this other form of employee ownership. In fact, that touches many more -- there's like, what, 10 million employee owners and ESOPs, just in the US?

[00:04:19] Jesse Tyler: Right.

[00:04:20] Rodney North: So, yeah, I want people from the co-op world to be exposed to and get excited by what's happening with ESOPs and your show is a good place for that.

Meanwhile, Bret, with The EO Podcast has a larger remit, like the whole world is his oyster. Bret, what would you, what kind of pitch would you make to my listeners?

[00:04:41] Bret Keisling: It's a great question, Rodney and I appreciate it and let me do what I do and just rephrase it a little bit in my answer. And I want to answer for why I hope everybody listens to all of our podcasts and I'll even include other podcasts that are out there that we're not doing. Certified EO is doing a podcast now. We've talked about the Ohio State Center is doing a podcast. There are other podcasts out there, and this is where my advocacy comes in. And it is, as you guys have learned, I take it very seriously, passionate advocate for employee ownership.

We are doing better as a community in terms of working together, but not really well enough. The ESOPs, for example, have pretty much all of the tax breaks, all of the access to capital, all of the professional advisors, significantly more professional advisors who are earning very good livings at this. There are high dollar value transactions. You just about cannot be a startup that is an ESOP for a lot of reasons I won't go into here. So, a lot of the co-ops are small businesses just starting out.

I believe, very sincerely that what affects any aspect of employee ownership in the United States and around the world helps all of us.

So, the reason that I hope the co-op audience will tune into my podcast is to hear generally what's going on in ESOPs and what is portable over to co-ops. Conversely, Rodney, boy, co-ops and there's less than 10% number of co-ops than employee owners, and I will correct a number the ESOP employee owners that I and folks like me generally are concerned about there's 2 to 3 million, we think a little closer to 3 million, 14 million if you throw in all of the publicly traded really huge companies where it's just 1% of a, technically they're employee owners, thanks for being part of our space, but we're we really are focused on the privately-held companies. I'd love for the co-op folks to see what is going on in that ecosystem and how to apply it.

And then, finally, the beauty of it, Jesse, our focus with your podcast, just as an example, is owners talking to owners. From a programming decision, we're not worried about total audience. We really want actual employee owners listening to your podcast. I think we're going to have a lot of professionals, certainly in the ESOP space, if they're as smart as I know they are, are going to listen because Jesse's conversations are going to drive that.

Similarly, Rodney, I hope that anyone in the co-op space is going to listen to Jesse's conversations because that's easily, as you've already noted in a lot of it, that's easily portable to co-ops.

So, the reason why I hope everybody listens to all of us is we're all putting a giant jigsaw puzzle together. And all of us are working with kind of different pieces on our own. And this is also why I talk about every organization. And I am called Switzerland by a lot of folks, I support everybody who is in the space, mindfully, gratefully, and by decision because, you know, we are all tied together. We are all in the EO sandbox.

So, that's why I hope everybody listens. You'll get knowledge that is usable, portable, and helps elevate the general conversation.

[00:08:01] Rodney North: That fantastic. So as a reminder today, we've had on Jesse Tyler from the Hypertherm ESOP, also host of the new Owner to Owner podcast part of the EO Podcast Network. The man behind that, Bret Keisling, producer of Jesse's show, this show, and his own two shows has also been our guest. And I hope people get more excited about these shared opportunities and values and shared efforts among both cooperators and people in the ESOP world.

Thank you for joining us today.

[00:08:37] Jesse Tyler: Thanks for having us, Rodney. It was great.

[00:08:39] Bret Keisling: Thanks, Rodney. Looking forward to our collaboration.


Please check out the Why Worker Co-ops podcast with Rodney North and the Owner to Owner podcast with Jesse Tyler. And while you're at it, don't forget The EO/ESOP Podcast as well. Available wherever you get your podcasts.

Thank you so much for listening. This is Bret Keisling. Be well.

[00:09:06] 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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