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Mini-cast 167: Best of 2021 — Cecil Betit

Bret Keisling brings you an excerpt from our most downloaded long-form episode of 2021: Cecil Betit and the Carris Reels Research. In this excerpt, Cecile Betit discusses the importance of EO being taught in schools of every level.

This excerpt originally aired on October 5, 2021, as part of Episode 169 "Cecile Betit and the Carris Reels Research."


Mini-cast 167 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. Last week on the Mini-cast, we played for you our most downloaded episode of 2021. It happened to be a Mini-cast episode, which we called "Cranky Bret and the Bad Customer."

[00:00:25] This week, I wanted to kick off our first Mini-cast of 2022 with an excerpt from our most downloaded long form episode of 2021. It originally aired as Episode 169 of the EO/ESOP Podcast, and my guest was Cecile Betit. As an independent researcher, serendipity stepped in and connected Cecile with Bill Carris of Carris Reels immediately before Carris Reels transition to employee ownership in the nineties. Cecile has studied, chronicled, and shared Carris Reels' history and she's continued her work with Carris ever since. With a nod to her New England roots, I can tell you that Cecile is wicked smart. She's also kind, compassionate, and filled with the desire to make our world a better place. And her passion, like mine, is employee ownership.

[00:01:14] In this excerpt, I asked Cecile about the importance of bringing employee ownership into academia: in the business schools, law schools, and colleges. I hope you'll take time to visit, where you can hear Episode 169 in its entirety.

[00:01:30] Without further ado, here's an excerpt from my conversation with Cecile Betit.


[00:01:36] Bret Keisling: One of the other themes I attribute to you on social media is employee ownership and ESOPs really are absent from graduate schools, essentially, right now. They're not really taught in a lot of business school programs, law schools, you know, and I graduated law school and was an adjunct law professor for five or six years, employee ownership isn't on the radar. And that then feeds into academia and the research that will allow us to grow because one of the things the practitioners don't realize is we are building much of what the practitioners do on the research. And if the practitioners stopped to think about it, they go into potential clients who are considering employee ownership and they are dropping data on these clients, it all comes from the research! That doesn't come from the practitioners. That comes from you, the folks that Rutgers, all the folks that do tremendous work. How important is it for us, you, me, and everyone, to encourage more of that research, more of the education and work on immersing the graduate schools in employee ownership?

[00:02:43] Cecile Betit: I think it's terrifically important, Bret, and I'm very glad you mentioned it. Through Rutgers there's a program called CLEO, which is the Curriculum Library for Employee Ownership. Adria Scharf headed a panel last week at the academy of management that talked about ways of teaching about employee ownership. And this is terrifically important.

[00:03:05] My feeling is that in high school business classes, college, graduate school, that employee ownership should be mentioned as a form of ownership and what it does, how it contrasts, and all of that. Young entrepreneurs need to see this as part of their succession plan. One of the things that I've talked to Doug Kruse about this on a couple of occasions in the research that's done, there's a certain elitist. Many of the journals in academia are not available to a state college. It doesn't have the money to subscribe to the big data that's available through journals like Emerald, Elsevier. In academia, there are several tiers to the journals. But the colleges buy at the tier that they can afford. And that means that a lot of the great work that's being done by very prestigious researchers is not available. I need to drive to get that. There are other things I can get remotely, but I'm not subscribing. But that becomes a real drawback to this idea that you and I are promoting, which is let's make this as common as sliced bread, as they used to say.

[00:04:19] And rather than an academic pursuit, what we really want are more employee owners. We want more current owners to be selling to their employees. And the big data is so important because it tells us that it promotes a better society, a better country, and that as we build wealth across the board for minorities, for women, for all of those. Those are very important data points that you need big data to prove.

[00:04:50] But at the same time, when that entrepreneur is standing to make a decision, it's one person is one vote to decide what's going to happen to this company. And we need to be much more alert to helping that person make a decision that benefits him, benefits his legacy or her legacy, and helps their community, because we know that this is not going to be sold abroad and that good wages will continue to be paid. And those, I think we need to have more impact driven of employee ownership, rather than just a particular piece that we're touting.

[00:05:29] Bret Keisling: Is there any final point you'd like to make anything that would sum up or anything you haven't covered?

[00:05:34] Cecile Betit: An ideal scenario for me, Bret would be at the 10,000 people retiring today would sell their companies to the employee owners and it builds their future. And in their retirement, I hope they will talk to high school classes, college classes about why they did this and what it has contributed to their lives, the lives of their employee owners, and the lives in their community.

[00:05:56] We live in a network, and I think if we can somehow promote that network to be the best we can be and to encourage others to be the best we can do that, that's a lot in one day.


[00:06:08] Bret Keisling: I hope you'll check out Episode 169 and all of our previous episodes at And then I hope you'll go to and check out the tremendous conversations Jesse Tyler's having in his new podcast that we launched this past September.

[00:06:26] This coming Tuesday, on our primary EO/ESOP podcast, we feature part two of my conversation with Billy Duren of Threaded Fasteners, Inc. He's as interesting a person as I've met in employee ownership, and I really hope you'll check out part two when it drops.

[00:06:42] Take care of yourself and those around you. Our country and our world continue to go through an awful lot right now. And in the finest spirit of employee ownership, we'll get through it better if we get through it together.

[00:06:53] Thank you so much for listening. This is Bret Keisling. Be well.


[00:06:57] 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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