2012 Annual Employee Ownership Conference

By Hilde Stephan

Minneapolis will once again play host to the annual Employee Ownership Conference on April 25-27, 2012 at the Hilton Downtown Minneapolis, co-organized by the Beyster Institute and the National Center for Employee Ownership. Approaching its 12th year, this annual conference is committed to producing valuable learning opportunities throughout the three-day conference, designed to inform and inspire participants.

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The conference will provide more than 80 innovative and engaging breakout sessions, three general sessions, and two-pre-conference sessions led by thought-provoking leaders in the field. Learning tracks include "ESOP Basics," "ESOPs: Beyond the Basics," "Equity Compensation," "Communications and Culture," and "Leadership and Governance." Participants also can pre-register and participate in two in-depth pre-conference sessions on April 24 entitled, "Compensation Issues for Privately Held Companies" and "People and Policies in Employee-Owned Companies."

We are pleased to announce that highly esteemed and prominent keynote speaker, Henry Givray, president and CEO, SmithBucklin Corporation, will join us this year. His presentation entitled, "The Passion of Leadership" will illustrate what defines and molds a great leader and turning inspiring ideas into practical use that can be applied toward leading a highly prosperous company. Conference attendees can gain useful insights and applicable tools through this keynote address, in navigating through company challenges faced by leaders today. These challenges are surmountable with the right direction and application, as he states in his article Leadership Revealed: "...(in) managing through difficult, uncertain times...one fundamental truth does stand out: All of the best strategies, creative ideas and brilliant game plans cannot succeed or be sustained without strong and effective leadership." What are the core values and fundamental practices of being and striving to be a "strong and effective" leader? How do leaders enrich and inspire a company culture to create a more cohesive, dedicated and enlivened workforce? Givray has been featured in Crain's Chicago Business, authored two articles for Business Week and contributed to numerous other noteworthy publications which touch on these questions on leadership and culture.

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In addition to attending breakout sessions and planned events, the city of Minneapolis can keep each participant's schedule enjoyable beyond the conference halls. This vibrant city offers a multitude of activities and cultural experiences that will be of interest to everyone. Spend an afternoon visiting the beautiful Minneapolis Institute of Arts, a fine art museum which features renowned artists such as Rembrandt, Delacroix, Van Gogh and Courbet. Catch a comedy or drama at the Guthrie, Pantages, or the Orpheum theatre, where the hit Broadway musical, "Mamma Mia" will be playing April 24-29. For more information please visit the NCEO or Beyster Institute Web sites at www.nceo.org/conference / www.beysterinstitute.org or contact Hilde Stephan, Beyster Institute coordinator for Special Events at hestephan@ucsd.edu/858-822-6002.