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2019 Employee Ownership Month Recap

Another Employee Ownership Month is now in the books, so we figured we’d share some highlights from this year’s activities:

Employee Owners of Vermont Fundraiser & Food Drive: For the second year in a row, the Employee Owners of Vermont group organized an Employee Ownership Month fundraiser to benefit the Vermont Food Bank. The 2018 campaign was the highest performing fundraiser to have been run on their online platform, but this year blew our previous record out of the water! Employee owners and their companies raised a total of $30,894 at time of writing, and companies are currently counting out food donations as well. Huge congratulations to all involved in making this a success, and if your company would like to get involved with future activities, feel free to email matt@veoc.org for more details!

Employee Ownership Month Celebration at Switchback: In what has become an annual tradition, Switchback once again hosted a celebration of Employee Ownership Month in their taproom. This year’s gathering brought together more than fifty folks from fourteen employee-owned companies to share a bit about their organizations, hear from John Sayles about the work of the Vermont Food Bank (which benefited from donations to the event), and raise a glass to employee ownership!

Valley Employee Ownership Committee Dinner and Discussion: Instead of doing an Upper Valley version of the Switchback event, area companies decided this year to try something new: a dinner and facilitated conversation aimed at ownership committee members and company leaders. Thanks to the legwork of Melissa Jacobson of Chelsea Green Publishers and the format design by Kori Joyce of Hypertherm, a dozen and a half folks from six area companies enjoyed dinner together at Piecemeal Pies in White River Junction. The conversation was drawn from questions submitted in advance by attendees, and got into good territory around the role of ownership committees, approaches to building ownership culture, and communicating the meaning of employee ownership to different generations of co-workers.

Co-op Month Roundtable and Celebration at Rabble-Rouser: In addition to being Employee Ownership Month, October is also Co-op Month, and the two overlapped nicely on the 29th in Montpelier. In the late afternoon, folks from five Vermont worker co-ops gathered for a “Hot Topics” round-table facilitated by Lane Fury of the Cooperative Fund of New England. That rich discussion was followed by a cross-sector Co-op Month celebration at Rabble-Rouser (Vermont’s newest worker co-op), at which the worker co-op community was joined by folks from a wide diversity of cooperatives, with more than 50 people in attendance representing at least 23 different organizations.

Upcoming Activities: Now that Employee Ownership Month is at its end, the next major activities on the VEOC’s horizon are our Annual Meeting in January, our annual Ownership Succession seminar series, and planning for our 2020 Vermont Employee Ownership Conference (June 11 - Save the Date!). Keep an eye out for more updates soon as the details for these activities are confirmed!