Preconference Sessions Monday, April 24

Preconference sessions are a valuable enhancement to your NCEO Annual Conference experience. These three-hour-long sessions are designed be interactive and engaging. You'll walk away with a toolbox full of new skills and techniques that you can immediately employ at your business.

A preconference pass allows you access to one am session and one pm session. Register Now

Morning Sessions (9am–12pm)


High Involvement Planning Workshop: People Support What They Help Create Presented by The Great Game of Business

Employee ownership often changes the goals around which companies make their plans, but it also gives them tools to achieve more than companies without employee ownership. A strong high-involvement planning (HIP) process takes planning out of the boardroom and gives it to the employee owners who must make it happen. Learn how involving everyone in the strategic planning process makes their individual tasks become better aligned with the overarching company goals and that synergy drives success.

Learning objectives:

  • Upon completion, participants will be able to learn how to engage people across their company in building a strategic plan that supports the company's financial goals
  • Upon completion, participants will be able to understand best practices in educating people about the business and sharing information that they can use to contribute to its success
  • Upon completion, participants will be able to learn how to translate the strategic plan into something that guides the creativity and day-to-day work of everyone at your company


Rich Armstrong, Great Game of Business

Steve Baker, Great Game of Business


GreatBanc Preconference Presented by Greatbanc Trust Company

This session is designed for companies that are seeking greater value from their boards. From the nuts and bolts of how an effective board operates to the principles that drive what the board should and should not do, this preconference session will draw on members of boards, outside experts, and NCEO data to cover what it takes to have boards that make companies stronger. This session will help you cover the basics, from legal requirements to valuation basics considering what board members should be aware of in this changing environment, and issues unique to ESOPs. It will also dig into core structure questions such as committees and the role of the board chair. You will leave with a path toward finding and onboarding independent directors and a framework for strategic planning that includes a productive role for the board.

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand the basics, from legal requirements for all boards to issues unique to ESOPs
  • Understand the role of the board chair, board committees, and independent directors
  • Understand the board's role in executive compensation, strategic planning, and capital planning


Steve Ryan, Great Banc Trust Company

Mitch Miller, Great Banc Trust Company

Afternoon Sessions (1pm–4pm)


Creating a Thriving Ownership Structure Throughout the ESOP Lifecycle Presented by Chartwell

At every stage of the ESOP lifecycle, there are critical decisions that your organization will face impacting the growth and sustainability of your company. In this interactive session, we will walk through each stage of the ESOP lifecycle and discuss best practices and how proactive planning can help a company achieve its long-term objectives. Our panel, which includes the CEO of a successful, 100% ESOP-owned company, will share perspectives on a range of interrelated and dynamic topics, including compensation and ownership philosophies, governance, employee communication, handling repurchase obligations, executive compensation, and ongoing growth strategies. Throughout the discussion, we will promote a holistic view of the evolving roadmap to long-term success, as well as the importance of thinking beyond the traditional view of ESOP sustainability.

Learning Objectives:

  • Develop understanding of the critical decisions at each stage of the ESOP lifecycle and the dynamic, evolving nature of the planning process throughout the lifecycle
  • Gain insights of how good governance and proactive planning can support an ESOP-owned organization's ability to achieve its goals and objectives
  • Reframe the traditional perspective of long-term "sustainability" to strategically growing the business in a way that aligns with the company's ownership and compensation philosophies


Tina Langlois, Chartwell

Katie Lind, Chartwell

Allison Wilkerson, JD, McDermott Will & Emery

Justin L. Jordan, Essential Ingredients, Inc.


Profit & Cash: A Financial Literacy Game Presented by GRITT Business Coaching

Business and financial literacy is at an all-time low in the United States; nearly 70% of Americans would fail a basic financial literacy assessment. As employee-owners, it is imperative for us to have a basic understanding of how the companies "we own" perform financially. When we understand these basic principles, we can impact profitability and drive value to all of our fellow employee-owners.

Break out of the boring rhythm of classroom style learning and into an interactive, fun experience! Experts have brought this business and financial literacy simulation to over a half million people worldwide. In this session you will dispel the myth that business financials are complicated and find that learning about numbers really can be fun!

Learning Objectives:

  • Understand and differentiate the financial scorecards (income statement, cash flow, and balance sheet) and how they are used in your company.
  • Draw a correlation of similarities between personal finances and business finances. You have a personal income statement, cash flow, and balance sheet too!
  • Understand how your business generates income and creates cash.
  • Impact of collaborative teams when they are empowered and encouraged to be engaged around the financial performance of the company.
  • Gain insight as to how profitability, cash flow, and debt impacts ESOP share value.


Patrick Carpenter, GRITT Business Coaching

Michael Northrup, GRITT Business Coaching