Leaders From the Private and Public Sector Will Convene for the Employee Ownership Ideas Forum

May 31, 2023

The Aspen Institute and the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing at Rutgers University will co-host the Employee Ownership Ideas Forum on June 14-15th, 2023


Contact: Lizette Olmos Godfrey
The Aspen Institute

Washington, DC, May 31, 2023 — Policymakers, researchers, employee-owned companies, and economic experts will convene for the Employee Ownership Ideas Forum to explore how the U.S. can grow employee share ownership. The two-day Forum is co-hosted by the Aspen Institute’s Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) and the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing at Rutgers University. Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida and Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland recently introduced the Employee Equity Investment Act, to support the growth of employee ownership. The bill, which builds on recent legislative and bipartisan successes, like the WORK Act, will expand Small Business Administration financing for small- and medium-sized businesses seeking to transition to employee ownership. 

The Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) has supported dialogue, convenings and rigorous research that demonstrate the importance of employee ownership in reducing the wealth gap, improving job quality, and increasing the resilience and strength of the U.S. economy. 

Panelists at the two-day forum will dive into issues including the latest research on the benefits of employee ownership for workers, business and communities. Additionally, panelists will discuss innovative ideas for strengthening employee ownership, focusing on collaborative efforts between the government, the private sector, and philanthropies. Participants will also consider the potential for recent legislation to advance the different forms of employee ownership, and representatives from  employee-owned companies will share their successes and challenges.

Speakers include:

  • The Honorable Chris Van Hollen, U.S. Senator for the State of Maryland
  • The Honorable Ben Cardin, U.S. Senator for the State of Maryland
  • The Honorable Blake Moore, U.S. Congressman for the State of Utah 
  • The Honorable Dean Phillips, U.S. Congressman for the State of Minnesota 
  • Ken Baker, CEO, NewAge Industries
  • Jared Bernstein, Council of Economic Advisors
  • Abha Bhattarai, Economics Correspondent, The Washington Post
  • Joseph Blasi, J. Robert Beyster, Distinguished Professor, Director of the Rutgers’ Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing at Rutgers University.
  • James Bonham, President, The ESOP Association
  • Heather Braimbridge-Cox, President and CEO, Windings, Inc. 
  • Ike Brannon, Senior Fellow at the Jack Kemp Foundation; Former Visiting Fellow at the Cato Institute
  • Jen Briggs, Founding Partner of GRITT Business Coaching, Member of the Colorado Commission of the Office of Employee Ownership
  • Alex Brill, Senior Fellow, American Enterprise Institute 
  • Jerome Brown, Senior Vice President and Director of Quality, HDR
  • Haydee Caldero, Senior Vice President / Finance & Strategy, Crepes a Latte
  • Regina Carls, Managing Director, ESOP Advisory Group Head, JPMorgan & Chase Co
  • John Cochrane, Senior Manager of Policy and Programs, US Impact Investing Alliance
  • Maureen Conway, Vice President, Aspen Institute and Executive Director of the Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program
  • Robynn Cox, Assistant professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of California, Riverside
  • Evan Edwards, CEO and Executive Director, Project Equity
  • Chris Fredericks, President and CEO, Empowered Ventures
  • Richard Freeman, Herbert Ascherman Chair in Economics, Harvard University 
  • Melissa Hoover, Founding Executive Director, Democracy at Work Institute
  • Sarah Keh, Vice President of Inclusive Solutions, Prudential Financial
  • Marjorie Kelly, Distinguished Senior Fellow, The Democracy Collaborative
  • Ron Kelly, Outreach Lead, State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), Department of the Treasury
  • Felice Klein, Assistant Professor of Management, Boise State University
  • Julius Krein, Editor, American Affairs
  • Doug Kruse, Distinguished Professor, School of Management and Labor Relations at Rutgers University
  • Fidan Kurtulus, Professor of Economics, University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • JJ McCorvey, Business and Innovation Reporter, NBCNews 
  • Anna-Lisa Miller, Executive Director, Ownership Works
  • Jack Moriarty, Founder and Executive Director, Ownership America
  • Eleanor Mueller, Economics Reporter, Politico
  • Dr. Karama Neal, Administrator, Rural Business-Cooperative Service, US Department of Agriculture
  • Erik Olsen, Department Chair of Economics, University of Missouri-Kansas City
  • Veronica Ortiz, Business Systems Analyst Manager, Worker-Owner, Web Industries
  • Paige Ouimet, Professor of Finance, University of North Carolina
  • Stephen Smith, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Amsted Industries Incorporated
  • Steve Storkan, Executive Director, Employee Ownership Expansion Network
  • Jeanne Wardford, Program Officer for Family Economic Security, The W.K. Kellogg Foundation
  • Zach Warmbrodt, Financial Services Editor, Politico

Today, 14 million employees benefit from participation in employee stock ownership plans, and a large, bipartisan majority of Americans would prefer to work for an employee-owned company. EOP will continue to support a robust, national conversation on employee ownership. Please join us on June 14 and 15 for the Employee Ownership Ideas Forum, a two-day event co-hosted with the Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing in Washington D.C.

Find out more and sign up for in-person or virtual attendance (day one / day two). To see the agendas and speakers for each day, please follow these links:

Members of the media interested in interviewing Maureen should contact Lizette Olmos Godfrey at  




The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program (EOP) advances strategies, policies, and ideas to help low-and moderate-income people thrive in a changing economy. We recognize that race, gender, and place intersect with and intensify the challenge of economic inequality and we address these dynamics by advancing an inclusive vision of economic justice. For over 25 years, EOP has focused on expanding individuals’ opportunities to connect to quality work, start businesses, and build economic stability that provides the freedom to pursue opportunity. Learn more at at as.pn/eop.

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit www.aspeninstitute.org

 The Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing at Rutgers University conducts empirical research, analyzes policy, and sponsors the leading global fellowship program and academic conferences in the field. The Institute also manages a program to help college professors teach about these subjects (The Curriculum Library for Employee Ownership) and a technical assistance center (The NJ/NY Center for Employee Ownership). One recent initiative (The Employee Ownership Online Education Program), sponsored by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, features free online videos to help retiring business owners sell to their employees. 

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