past event
Employment and Jobs

Can Employee Share Ownership Improve Racial and Gender Wealth Equity?

About this event

Even before the pandemic, in an allegedly strong economy, workers at the bottom end of the opportunity scale were struggling to support themselves and their families. No single metric is more striking in this respect than the divisions in wealth between men and women, and between white households and households of color. White households have roughly 10 times the wealth of Black households. Households headed by single women have less than 40% of the wealth of those headed by single men.

Workers and families in low-wealth households face daunting barriers to achieving common financial goals, such as owning a home, investing in education, starting a business, saving for retirement, and taking control of their economic future. The pandemic has exacerbated and heightened awareness of these inequities, and there is a mounting sense of urgency to surface practical solutions. Broadening opportunities to participate in the ownership of business assets can help address this wealth divide and offer working people the opportunity to meaningfully participate in the success of our economy.

This discussion includes perspectives from research, business, policy, and worker-owners.


During the event audience members shared a variety of resources, including research reports, infographics, directories, and more. We share a selection below.


Other Resources, Infographics, Websites

Directories/Job Boards

  • Directory of employee-owned businesses to support: “ShopEO: Find employee-owned companies to support.” Certified EO.
  • Job board featuring opportunities at employee-owned businesses: “’Own Your Job’ Job Board.” Democracy and Work Institute, Apis & Heritage.
  • Listing of state-by-state Centers for Employee Ownership: “Are we watching the start of a movement?” Indiana Center for Employee Ownership.
Opening remarks

Natalie Abatemarco

Natalie Abatemarco
Managing Director, U.S. Business Partnerships and Inclusive Finance, Citi Community Investing and Development

As Managing Director of U.S. Business Partnerships and Inclusive Finance at Citi Community Investing and Development, Natalie Abatemarco manages Citi’s efforts to strengthen new and existing strategic business initiatives and aligns internal efforts closely with the work of various nonprofits and consumer advocacy organizations, focusing on expanding economic empowerment and growth for lower-income and underserved communities.

Ms. Abatemarco has held various roles within Citi since joining the firm in 1996. She currently serves as a member of Citi’s North America Consumer Bank Business and Industry Practices Committee, and the Community Reinvestment Act/Fair Lending Governance Committee.  She is one of six senior Citi leaders to have been recognized among American Banker “Most Powerful Women” rankings.

Ms. Abatemarco is also a member of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency’s Minority Depository Institutions Advisory Committee. She is a founding member of the Asset Building Policy Network, a coalition of civil rights organizations committed to improving the opportunity for economic progress for low-income individuals and communities of color, and also serves on the boards of directors of the Long Island Community Foundation and the Woodstock Institute in Chicago, as well as the Bankers and Community Council of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition.


Ayanna Banks

Ayanna Banks
Material Handler and Shop Steward for Recology San Francisco Recycle Central, Recology

Recology employee-owner Ayanna Banks is a material handler and shop steward in Recology’s San Francisco Recycle Central on Pier 96. The recycle center sorts approximately 750 tons of commingled materials every day and is the largest exporter of wastepaper on the West Coast. She has been a proud employee-owner since 2000 and a member of the Recoloy Ownership Culture Committee since 2008. Ayanna is an active member of the Recology team, recently leading other Recology employees and managers in a demonstration remembering the life of George Floyd. She is described as an inspirational team player.

Julie Bertani-Kiser

Julie Bertani-Kiser
Senior Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer, Recology

Julie is the senior vice president & chief human resources officer at Recology. Julie is responsible for strategically leading Recology’s human resources efforts to help promote a culture of employee ownership and engagement by developing solutions to enable all employees to contribute toward the success of Recology. Julie has been an employee owner at Recology since 1994, a member of Recology’s ESOP Administrative Committee since 2007, and chair of the ESOP Administrative Committee since 2018. Julie holds a Bachelor of Science in Business from San Francisco State University and an MBA from the University of San Francisco.

Janet Boguslaw

Janet Boguslaw
Senior Scientist, Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University; Fellow, Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing, Rutgers University

Janet Boguslaw is a senior scientist at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, Brandeis University, and is a fellow with the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing at the School of Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University.

Dr. Boguslaw is an educator and researcher with expertise in multi-sector innovations to advance equitable economic opportunity and security for low-income populations, with a goal of bringing innovative program and policy solutions to scale. She has worked with corporate managers to advance community development initiatives, with state and federal agencies on workforce education and employment stabilization, and with foundations and nonprofits to identify and address strategies for population and programmatic resiliency and wealth building. Her current work at Heller examines job quality and equitable career advancement strategies to increase racial and gender diversity in health care employment. At Rutgers she is examining the asset building, life course, and family impacts of employee ownership with a focus on its role in reducing gender and racial wealth inequality.

Prior to joining the Heller School, she worked at the Industrial Services Program of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, evaluating and managing innovative state-wide initiatives targeted at sectoral business and employment stabilization. At the Center for Corporate Citizenship at the Carroll School of Management at Boston College, she worked to engage the private sector in alignment with wealth building initiatives. She regularly publishes, presents, and consults to advance this work.

Susan Hoop

Susan Hoop
Customer Service Representative and Employee Owner, Recology

Recology employee-owner Susan Hooper is an accounts receivable and customer service specialist at Recology’s Auburn Placer Transfer Station and Office. She has been a proud employee-owner since 1985. For the past 11 years, Susan has served as the chair of the Recoloy Ownership Culture Committee, which has 77 representatives. Susan is described by her colleagues as a cheerleader and motivator to her fellow team members.

Todd Leverette

Todd Leverette
Legacy Business Program Manager, Democracy at Work Institute

Todd Leverette promotes and catalyzes employee ownership as a wealth building tool for black and brown workers. Through his work as program manager at the Democracy at Work Institute and co-principal of A&H Capital Partners, Todd looks to activate impact and institutional investment in time-tested employee ownership models that provide workers of color with pathways to wealth accumulation, communities with stability and resilience, and investors with attractive risk-adjusted returns.


Kimberly Adams

Kimberly Adams
Host/Correspondent, Marketplace

Kimberly Adams is a host/correspondent at Marketplace, America’s largest broadcast business program. She covers the intersection of politics and the economy from Washington, DC, where she also serves on the board of governors of the National Press Club. Before moving to DC, Kimberly reported on the political, social, and economic upheaval in Egypt following the Arab Spring as a freelance journalist based in Cairo. Her work aired on multiple networks in the US, Canada, U.K., Ireland, Germany, Hong Kong, and elsewhere. While reporting in Cairo, she received awards from the National Association of Black Journalists, the Religion Communicators Council, and the Association for Women in Communication. Prior to freelancing, Kimberly worked as a producer for NPR from the DC headquarters, covering politics, arts, culture, and breaking news as a producer for “Weekend Edition” and the Washington Political Unit.


Video: “Can #EmployeeOwnership Improve Racial and Gender Wealth Equity?” featuring guests from @RecologyWZ, @IASP_Heller, @Institute_coop, @Citi, and @Marketplace. Hosted by @AspenWorkforce & @Aspen_BOI.

Promoting #employeeownership can help to build a more equitable economy and expand the freedom of working people. Hear @AspenWorkforce & @Aspen_BOI #talkopportunity with guests from @RecologyWZ, @IASP_Heller, @Institute_coop, @Citi, and @Marketplace.

The story of our economy is one of growing divides, but #employeeownership may help to curb this trend. Hear @AspenWorkforce and @Aspen_BOI #talkopportunity with @RecologyWZ, @IASP_Heller, @Institute_coop, @Citi, and @Marketplace.

Wealth = opportunities like homeownership, education, retirement, and entrepreneurship. For women and people of color, the wealth divide can seem insurmountable, but #employeeownership may offer a way to advance.

Expanding #employeeownership is a promising way to help people build wealth, allowing workers to share in the upside of their company’s success.

Opportunity in America

The Economic Opportunities Program’s Opportunity in America discussion series has moved to an all-virtual format as we all do what we can to slow the spread of COVID-19. But the conversations about the changing landscape of economic opportunity in the US and implications for individuals, families, and communities across the country remain vitally important. We hope you will participate as we bring our discussions to you in virtual formats, and we look forward to your feedback.

We are grateful to the Ford Foundation, Prudential Financial,, the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth, and the Surdna Foundation for their support of this series, and to Citi for its support of this special event.

Learn More

The Economic Opportunities Program advances strategies, policies, and ideas to help low- and moderate-income people thrive in a changing economy. Follow us on social media and join our mailing list to stay up-to-date on publications, blog posts, events, and other announcements.

Event information
Fri Oct 16, 2020
2:00pm - 3:15pm EDT