Leading in an Ownership Setting: The Program for CEOs

Leadership effectiveness is the critical factor in the success of an ESOP company, and this is the only program that formally addresses the relationship between ESOP companies and the effectiveness of their leaders. It examines how leadership that develops and fosters employee engagement and participation impacts the company’s bottom line. This program is focused on enhancing each participant's leadership effectiveness, and on building a network of ESOP CEO’s who can share resources and best practices to enhance the success of ESOPs across the country.

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Who should attend? 

This program is for current CEOs or Presidents of ESOP companies or for their designate successors. Leaders who find this program most beneficial:

Experienced CEOs or Presidents:
  • The program offers you the time and resources for thinking strategically about your leadership agenda for your company, whether it’s about strengthening your company’s culture, leading change or thinking more deeply about succession and sustainability
  • If you have leadership experience but this is your first time leading an employee-owned company, the program will heighten your awareness of the positive potential of employee ownership as well as provide you with tools to leverage it
  • An executive assessment will provide you with 360 feedback about how your leadership is experienced; an executive coach will help you integrate that feedback with your strengths, values and self-assessments so that you can create an action plan for enhancing your leadership.
  • Peers who understand the challenges and opportunities of leading in ownership context will provide you with a safe and constructive place to talk about company’s issues that may not be appropriate to air within your company.
Incoming CEOs or Presidents:
  • Enhance your knowledge of yourself as the top leader in your company
  • Learn more about the responsibilities of being in the top leadership role
  • Deepen your understanding of how as a top leader you can maximize the opportunities of employee ownership
  • Think through the steps in your transition into the CEO role that will set you up for success
  • Develop a plan for the impact you want to have as a leader of your firm
  • Think through the leadership team you will need around you to complement your strengths and make your company successful

Look at what program alumni have to say about their experience:

Carolyn Stanworth

President and CEO
BL Companies

"The UPenn CEO Employee Ownership Program allowed me the time, focus, and environment to take a step back from the day-to-day to gain insights and tools to perform at a higher level. The program was instrumental in helping me learn more about myself as a leader, how my values and the company's values need to be in alignment for success, and then how to leverage them."

Mike Willard

Salem Distributing

"You will be constantly challenged throughout the sessions, and this will make you a better CEO. Possibly the best outcome is the networking amongst the peers in your class. I have a group of CEO’s I can bounce ideas off of that are like-minded and, in most instances, have encountered the challenge I currently am facing. This is a “must attend” event for emerging CEO’s and current CEO’s."

Roseline Bougher

A.D. Marble

"This program allowed me to become a leader for our ESOP, which is different in many ways from other companies. I learned so much about who I am as a leader and as a person, and to this day, I am able to apply what I learned in my business and in my personal life. Definitely worth it!”"

Program Dates

The program takes place in sequential sessions. Participants should attend both sessions.
          Part I: Sunday, July 12 - Friday, July 17, 2020
          Part II: Sunday, December 6 - Thursday, December 10,  2020


$12,000 (ESOP Association Members)
$14,000 (Non-Members)
(Tuition does not include accommodations at the Inn at Penn)

Program Size

To maximize the benefits of this program, class size is limited to 20 participants. Register early to reserve your space!


The Certificate Program will be held on the campus of the University of Pennsylvania, one of the most beautiful of the Ivy League institutions.

Registrants are responsible for their own hotel accommodations. A block of rooms are reserved at the Inn at Penn. Occasionally the block fills up in which case attendees will need to reserve rooms at other nearby hotels. We encourage you to make your room reservations when you register for the program.

Cancellation Policy

Cancellation requests must be sent by June 1st to Ginny Vanderslice at virginiv@sas.upenn.edu.


Questions may be sent to Amanda Rushing at amanda.rushing@esopassociation.org or 202-293-2971.


For more information about program content, contact Ginny Vanderslice, the program’s Academic Director, at virginiv@sas.upenn.edu or 215-292-4865.

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