Mills James became an employee-owned company in 2007.
An ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) is a long term benefit plan where a portion (or all, for some companies) of the company’s stock is owned by the employees and held in a trust. Funding for the purchase of individual employees’ shares is made possible through a profit sharing arrangement.
For nearly two years, I chaired Mills James’ Employee Communications Committee. In this role, I spearheaded a group of 12 employee-owners who assisted in communicating critical issues about the stock plan, share value and company financial data with our nearly 140 peers. The committee also served as liaison between the employee-owners and Mills James’ executive management.
Under my leadership, Mills James’ ESOP Employee Communications Committee established a committee structure and adopted a formal mission statement and bylaws. We produced an informational video, which won a national marketing award from the ESOP Association, wrote and designed an ESOP plan FAQ brochure, and created a one sheet to assist employee-owners in understanding how to read their annual account statement.
I served as a spokesperson for the committee within the company — briefing fellow employee-owners at staff meetings, annual shareholder meetings, and the company’s new employee orientation sessions.
I also represented Mills James as a member of the national ESOP Association, lobbying Ohio congressional representatives on ESOP issues during a visit to Capitol Hill, and presenting at regional and national ESOP Association meetings — speaking about the Mills James video at association meetings in Columbus, Louisville, KY and Washington, D.C. Additionally, I was appointed to serve on the National ESOP Association’s Ownership Culture Committee, which dealt with marketing and communications.