This October, Wiley|Wilson will join with thousands of other ESOP companies around the nation to celebrate employee-ownership during Employee Ownership Month. However, this year’s celebration has special meaning for Wiley|Wilson: the company is also marking its 20th year as an ESOP.
“When the company first shifted to an ESOP model in 2000, we were cautiously optimistic about our future,” explained Fred Armstrong, Wiley|Wilson Chairman and CEO. “Now, 20 years later, we know the strong ownership culture we’ve built has provided great benefits to our clients and employee-owners.”
Even though employee-owners have not been able to gather in person for a large celebration, the company has found innovative ways to mark the anniversary. At the beginning of the summer, the company launched an ESOP 20 for 20: How it All Began, three-part video series. Each segment features an employee-owner sharing the story of how the ESOP transition happened and different reactions to the decision.
“The ESOP 20 for 20 series was very well-received and gave everyone an insider’s perspective on the event that has shaped our culture for the past two decades,” explained Mike Ervi, who chairs the company’s ESOP Ownership Committee. “We have a few other events planned for October and the rest of the year that will share different stories from our ESOP history.”
One of those events is the ninth annual Ownerfest, the company’s signature ownership event. This year’s Ownerfest will be all virtual, with a mix of both on-demand video segments (like Webex Meetings Gone Wrong and Amy & Ezra in the Morning!) and live virtual meetings that all employee-owners are invited to attend. “One of the live sessions will be a panel discussion led by employee-owners who were with the firm before it was an ESOP and after the transition,” Mike added. “Although none of us expected our 20th ESOP anniversary to look quite like this, we are still excited about the opportunity to share the story of how our ESOP came to be and celebrate 20 years of employee-ownership.”