18th Annual Vermont Employee Ownership Conference – Now Virtual

Event Details:
When: August 18, 2020 8:30 am – August 18, 2020 5:00 pm
Location: Virtual

Cost To Attend:
Nonmembers –
VBSR Members –

Registration is open

Vermont Employee Ownership Center (VEOC) Conference Now Virtual!

Rescheduled from June 11th due to COVID-19, the VEOC’s 18th annual Vermont Employee Ownership Conference will be held virtually on Tuesday, August 11th! Featuring 15 workshops and a number of other activities, the one-day conference is the largest annual gathering of Vermont’s employee-ownership community. It is a great opportunity for newcomers to get oriented and old hands to deepen their knowledge.

Discounts Available: we offer a variety of discounted tickets for students, academics, first-time attendees exploring employee ownership, and economic development professionals. If you’re interested in learning more, please email


8:30-9:00: Arrival and Socializing

9:00-10:00: Welcome and Keynote by Blake Jones

Blake is Co-Founder of Namaste Solar, an employee-owned cooperative and solar electric company based in Colorado. Founded in 2004, Namaste Solar is democratically owned and governed by its 200+ employees and is a certified B-Corp. Among its business practices are a 6:1 cap for highest-to-lowest pay, donating 10% of after-tax profits to the community, and being 100% transparent with all company information (including salaries). Due to its unique business model, Namaste Solar has earned widespread recognition including a “Best Place to Work” award from Outside Magazine (2013-2018), a “Best for the World” designation from B Lab (2012-2014), a “Most Democratic Workplace” award from Worldblu (2010-2014), and a #56 ranking on the “Inc. 500” (2009).  Blake is a cooperative enthusiast and is a co-founder of three other cooperatives:  (1) Clean Energy Credit Union, a new federally chartered credit union that provides loans exclusively for clean energy (and energy saving) projects throughout the USA; (2) Amicus Solar Cooperative, a purchasing cooperative and certified B-Corp that is democratically owned by 55+ solar installation companies throughout North America; and (3) Kachuwa Impact Fund, an investment cooperative and impact investing fund with multiple impact themes including renewable energy, cooperatives, certified B-Corps, and companies that are majority-owned by women, people of color, and/or employees. Blake is a 2010 Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur of the Year” award recipient and has a BE in Civil Engineering from Vanderbilt University.

10:15-11:30: Session Block A

1. An Introduction to Employee Ownership
2. Hot Topics for Worker Cooperatives
3. ESOP 101 for Employee Owners
4. Developing Resilience
5. Hot Topics for ESOPs

11:45-12:15pm: “Table Topics” Sessions

12:15-12:45: Lunch Break

12:45-2:00: Session Block B

​6. ESOP Transaction Basics
7. Co-op Conversion Nuts & Bolts
8. Sharing Financial Information in Times of Rapid Change
9. Big Picture Thinking in the Time of COVID-19
10. Leading in a Time of Heightened Awareness of Racial Inequalities

2:15-3:30: Session Block C

11. Valuation for Employee Ownership Deals
12. Democracy at Work: Good Governance for Worker Cooperatives
13. Strategies for Collaboration: A Conversation with Keynoter Blake Jones
14. Engagement & Inclusion: You Can’t Have One Without the Other
15. Effective ESOP Boards: Responsibilities and Best Practices

3:45-4:00: Wrap Up Session

4:00-5:00: Virtual Reception/Happy Hour

5:30-?: Informal in-person after-party on the Switchback Brewing company patio (weather and COVID permitting)

Register here.