past event
Employment and Jobs

Day Two Agenda – Thursday, June 15

8:30 am – 9:00 am ET
Registration, Breakfast and Networking

9:00 am – 9:10 am ET
Welcome and Opening Remarks
from Joseph Blasi of Rutgers University Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing and Maureen Conway of the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program

9:10 am – 10:15 am ET
I – Rebuilding the Middle Class through Employee Ownership

Stagnant wages, the rising cost of living expenses, and other factors have led to a shrinking middle class and growing income and wealth inequality in recent decades. Workers in employee-owned businesses, however, have often fared better than their peers on a range of measures related to economic well-being. Speakers will discuss the latest research on wealth inequality and the potential of employee ownership to help rebuild the middle class.

– Richard Freeman, Herbert Ascherman Chair in Economics, Harvard University
– Doug Kruse, Distinguished Professor, Rutgers University Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing.
– Fidan Kurtulus, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
– Veronica Ortiz, Business Systems Analyst Manager, Worker-Owner, Web Industries
– Stephen Smith, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer,  Amsted Industries Incorporated
Steve Storkan, Executive Director, Employee Ownership Expansion Network
– Tomás Durán, President, Concerned Capital

Moderator – Abha Bhattarai, Economics Correspondent, The Washington Post


10:30 am – 11: 30 am ET
II – Ownership for Equity: Building an Inclusive Economy through Employee Ownership

A disproportionate share of women and people of color are employed in the lowest paying jobs in the US, struggling to meet basic needs much less build any wealth, Long-term trends show households of color face a widening wealth gap when compared to white households. Employee ownership offers a potential tool to help address the wealth divide, and improve job quality and agency in the workplace for women and people of color, and in the process help build a more inclusive and fair economy. Join this discussion to hear more about how employee ownership can advance race and gender equity.

Melissa Hoover, Senior Fellow at the Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing,
and Founder and Co-Executive Director, Democracy at Work Institute

– Robynn Cox, Assistant professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside
– Sean-Tamba Matthew, Shareholder, Stevens & Lee, SES ESOP Strategies / Project Director for the Rutgers-Kellogg Project at the Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing
– Evan Edwards, CEO and Executive Director, Project Equity
Jeanne Wardford, Program Officer for Family Economic Security, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation
– Sarah Keh, Vice President of Inclusive Solutions, Prudential Financial

Moderator JJ McCorvey, Business and Innovation Reporter, NBCNews 


11:45 am – 1:15 pm ET
Breakout Discussions (for In-Person Audience)

    1:15 pm – 2:00 pm ET
    Lunch Break

    2:00 pm – 3:00 pm ET
    III – Employee Ownership and the Company of the Future

    In 2022, the Fortune 500, the largest publicly traded companies, generated nearly over $16 trillion in revenues and over $1.6 trillion in profits. Large public and private companies such as these that have more than 1,000 workers employ more than 40 percent of the US workforce. Though a sizable percentage of these companies offer profit sharing programs or equity compensation, many workers, particularly front-line employees, do not participate or have access to these programs resulting in missed opportunities to expand wealth and create a culture of employee ownership to improve innovation and business performance. Speakers will discuss innovations in employee ownership and how we can reimagine how large corporations share profits and ownership and create a future where workers and companies thrive together.

    – Marshall Vance, Associate Professor of Accounting; L. Mahlon Harrell Faculty Fellow, Virginia Tech
    – Felice Klein, Assistant Professor of Management, Boise State University

    Chris Fredericks, President and CEO, Empowered Ventures
    – Erik Forman, Co-founder, The Drivers Cooperative
    – Anna-Lisa Miller, Executive Director, Ownership Works
    – Robyn Shutak, Managing Director, Infinite Equity

    Moderator – Joseph Blasi, Director, Rutgers University Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing


    3:15 pm – 4:30 pm ET
    IV – American Values and the Competitive Advantage of Employee Ownership

    Americans have long-held values around dignity, hard work, and the promise of the American dream. These values, however, are often divorced from our discourse and policies around the health and competitiveness of our businesses and our economy. And too often, it is believed that we must sacrifice the well-being of our workers in favor of growth and a higher GDP. Employee ownership, which is good for businesses, workers, and our economy, is one strategy for helping us break this false choice and narrative. Join these speakers to hear more about how employee ownership can help us create a strong, competitive economy and help us live up to the values we hold about work and opportunity

    – Erik Olsen, Department Chair of Economics, University of Missouri-Kansas City
    – Paige Ouimet, Professor of Finance, University of North Carolina

    – Margot Brandenburg, Senior Program Officer, The Ford Foundation
    – Julius Krein, Editor, American Affairs
    – Jerome Brown, Senior Vice President and Director of Quality, HDR

    Moderator – Maureen Conway, The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program


    4:30 pm 4:45 pm ET
    Closing Remarks

    4.45 pm – 5.45 pm ET

    Event information
    Thu Jun 15, 2023
    8:15am - 5:45pm EDT
    The Aspen Institute
    2300 N St NW, Unit 700
    Washington DC, 20037