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Mini-cast 160: Thankful for EO

Thankful for EO on The EsoP Podcast: Featured Spotlight King Arthur Baking

Bret Keisling is joined by the EO Podcast Network’s Victoria Huerta to discuss why EO makes them grateful during these challenging times. In time for Thanksgiving, we spotlight 100% ESOP King Arthur Baking Company.


Mini-cast 160 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 just one week before the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States, and we want to spend just a few minutes talking about one of great employee-owned companies here. And I also want to share a little bit about I'm so thankful to be in employee ownership, especially during some very challenging times.

But first, Victoria Huerta of The EO Podcast Network. Welcome back, Victoria. How are you?

[00:00:41] Victoria Huerta: Great, Bret, how are you?

[00:00:42] Bret Keisling: Excellent. You've got another Thanksgiving themed spotlight for us today. Why don't you take it away?

[00:00:48] Victoria Huerta: I am very thankful to be here and talking about King Arthur Baking. King Arthur Baking was established in 1790 and was the first flour company in the United States, as well as the first food company in New England and since the 1820s, they have exclusively milled American-grown wheat.

King Arthur Baking has always been involved in their surrounding communities. In 1992, they started a middle school outreach program where they went to 900 Connecticut middle schools to bake bread and share with the less fortunate. Their program is still standing and has expanded nationwide.

In 2000, they opened baking school and an onsite bakery located in Norwich, Vermont. In 2004 King Arthur Baking completed as conversion to a hundred percent ESOP impacting their 300 plus employees. And in 2007, they became certified as a B corporation to reflect their commitment to all of their business partners, the community, and the environment.

This Thanksgiving, if you're looking for tasty dessert to bring to the table, I would recommend checking out King Arthur's baking products, such as their flour, sugar, parchment paper, and more. One thing I think is super fun is they offer recipes available on their website that they have tested in their baking school.

For Thanksgiving, they offer tons of fall recipes, such as the traditional pumpkin pie, old fashioned apple cake, and even some unique ones like apple cider caramels. As I was doing research for the Mini-cast, I came across a cinnamon apple twist bread that sounded so good and I'm so excited to make.

[00:02:24] Bret Keisling: That is a great spotlight and King Arthur is worthy of our spotlight and attention any time. But one of the cool things, as you know, is that ESOPs came about, were created by an act of Congress, in 1974. And so, we consider an old ESOP to be 40, 50 years old and sometimes the companies aren't even that old, but King Arthur Flour, first mill in the United States and around the world, that is pretty, that's a pretty cool history to have.

[00:02:42] Victoria Huerta: It’s crazy impressive.

[00:02:43] Bret Keisling: So, we are very glad they're in the space. Victoria. I want to take a moment and share with the audience some of the themes that we talk about regularly, and I truly am thankful and looking forward to a very nice holiday season, and I wish everybody a good Thanksgiving.

But I'm frankly troubled about things going on in the world right now. And in some ways, I'm a little more troubled than been during the pandemic, because as we look at all the world's situations and whatnot, supply chain disruptions are creating havoc in the United States and around the world already.

But the big thing that I focus on is this belief, this mantra, that seems to be in the United States, that people don't want to work. And certainly, unemployment is higher than we would like to see. People aren't going for jobs. But to me, it's tied into some of the defects of our system. We're not paying livable wages for too many jobs. How do we get angry because someone won’t go to a job that doesn't pay them to live? The working conditions are often horrible. There are still all the inequalities between men and women and genders and skin color and just all that garbage. And I think people are saying enough is enough.

And so, for me, Victoria, for all I see this bumpiness over the next couple of years. We're in employee ownership and I sincerely believe employee ownership is the solution to the problems. And that's why I'm thankful. I'm just so grateful to be in a space that as we're looking at all these things and people just hey, they're problems, they're problems, they're problems. They're hard problems to solve, but at least employee ownership addresses them.

Victoria, you've been in employee ownership for four or five months now, since mid-summer 2021. Do you have any thoughts about employee ownership that are appropriate for Thanksgiving?

[00:04:31] Victoria Huerta: Yeah, I definitely think that The EO Podcast Network has taught me so much about employee ownership and has raised the standards for me. I see all of these owners that are giving back to the community and doing great things for the company that they work for and it's because they are owners. They have a stake in the company, these great benefits, and that in itself has a big part on job stability.

Even listening to the Owner to Owner podcast, they have a great passion and love what they're doing and what they get paid for and that's something I have taken into great consideration for my future.

[00:05:02] Bret Keisling: Victoria, that is beautiful. I really appreciate your spotlight and your thoughts on employee ownership. It's so exciting for me to see how you're considering the workplace differently since you've been working for the podcast network. So, I appreciate that.

With that, we will wrap up today’s episode. I hope everybody has a wonderful week ahead and a very happy Thanksgiving. I hope you'll join us on Tuesday for our primary EsOp Podcast and check out the Owner to Owner podcast with Jesse Tyler.

This is Bret Keisling. Be well.


[00:05:34] 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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