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Mini-cast 257: Celebrating 205,000+ Podcast Listens

The EsOp Mini-cast with Bret Keisling: Celebrating 205,000+ Listens

Bret Keisling is thrilled to announce that our podcast episodes have been listened to or downloaded over 205,632 times since 2017! Thank you to our fantastic guests, dedicated team (past and present), and most importantly, YOU - our listeners, for making this possible. The EsOp Podcast and Mini-cast are platforms for empowering conversations and inspiring stories in the world of employee ownership. Thank you for being part of our incredible journey. Let's keep amplifying and celebrating the voices of employee owners together! 


Schedule a free, no obligation chat to see how Bret can help you grow your ESOP, co-op, and EOT on calendy here or email Bret at

... or watch the video below.


Mini-cast 257 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. We started our primary EO/ESOP podcast in September 2017, followed just a few weeks later by the ESOP Mini-cast. Our goal was to amplify and celebrate all forms of employee ownership.

[00:00:32]  I think we've done a pretty good job of doing that. Not just celebrating all forms of employee ownership, but being a neutral cheerleader of all of the organizations who focus exclusively or primarily in the employee ownership space.

[00:00:45] Today I'm going to step out of my comfort zone and amplify and celebrate... the EsOp Podcast and Mini-cast! According to SoundCloud, as of March 8th, our combined podcasts have been listened to or downloaded an amazing 205, 632 times since 2017.

[00:01:05] We've covered just about every topic relevant to ESOPs, co-ops, and employee ownership trusts. We've had international guests from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, Sweden, and Canada, and we've discussed aspects of employee ownership from several other countries as well. The majority of our episodes have featured guests, including advocates, researchers, ESOP and co-op practitioners, as well as executives and rank and file employee owners from too many employee-owned companies to count.

[00:01:37] I started the podcast in 2017 while managing director of Capital Trustees. I still remember the excitement when the first couple of episodes dropped, and we'd get like 20 listeners a week. I also smile when I look back at the early episodes, because the guests were almost always friends and colleagues in the ESOP space, who wanted to support my efforts, even though at the time none of us really understood what podcasts were all about.

[00:02:02] In 2019, I sold my interest in Capital Trustees to my partner, Rich Heeter, and I proceeded to focus on general advocacy for employee ownership that has continued to this day.

[00:02:13] I'm very mindful that the success of the podcast is directly connected to the quality of the guests that I've had through the years. I've been so fortunate to talk with some of the coolest, most passionate, smart, and dedicated people in employee ownership.

[00:02:27] Here's a fun fact that amuses the heck out of me for some reason. Although I've appeared on almost every episode, I'm not on the single most listened to episode in our archives, which is an ESOP 101 featuring my Capital Trustees partner, Rich Heeter. For some reason it just cracks me up that the most listened to episode in our archives doesn't include me.

[00:02:49] Some other things I'm very proud of. The theme music of the podcast was composed by my son Max Keisling and I love the fact that his composition has been heard a couple of hundred thousand times. My older son Brian worked for Capital Trustees when we launched the podcast, and he served as producer for the first two years.

[00:03:07] He did a wonderful job and, to be honest with you I don't think I appreciated at the time how hard his job was or how talented he was at it. I took over producing duties in 2019, and to be honest with you, in the last couple of years, technology has advanced to the point where my job is so much easier than Brian's ever was. He did a great job getting us started.

[00:03:29] About two and a half years ago, I recognized that there was something that I could not do authentically on my podcast, and that's speak as an employee owner. I've been a CEO of an ESOP and an ESOP trustee, but I've never been a rank-and-file employee owner. So, I reached out on social media for a host and was so fortunate to have Jesse Tyler step up and become host of the Owner to Owner podcast, which I produce, and we co-branded both of our podcasts under the EO Podcast Network.

[00:03:57] Finally, there's a woman who from day one has pretty much been the glue and the talent that has held everything together behind the scenes. She prefers to remain anonymous and is requested often that I not sing her praises by name, but I'd like you to know that without her I'm not sure we would have gotten past the first couple of seasons.

[00:04:15] So, I'm so grateful to those who have worked with me past and present, I'm grateful to everyone who's ever appeared as a guest, and I'm especially grateful to you, the listener.

[00:04:25] Hosting a podcast is more rewarding than I ever could have dreamed, and I'm so grateful to have this outlet. So, here's to 205, 000 plus listens, and here's to keep doing what we're doing.

[00:04:36] Before we go, the only thing I enjoy more than doing the podcast is speaking in person with employee owners and their companies. If you'd like to talk to me about coming in and speaking at either an annual meeting or perhaps an ESOP committee meeting, etc., I'd love to have that conversation. We'll include a link in the show notes to my calendar where you can schedule a free, no obligation chat.

[00:04:58] With that, we'll wrap up this episode of the Mini cast. Thank you, as always, for listening.

[00:05:03] This is Bret Keisling. Be well.


[00:05:06] Bitsy McCann: We'd love to hear from you! You can find us on Facebook at EO Podcast Network and on Twitter [X] @EsOpPodcast. This podcast has been produced by Bret Keisling for the EO Podcast Network. 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 cannot guarantee the accuracy of the transcription. Please refer to the original audio when citing sources.


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