October is employee ownership month, and Cornerstone is approaching the five-year mark of being employee-owned. To commemorate that milestone, I would like to reflect on why Cornerstone made the bold decision to restructure our organization, and what we have learned from giving those who are most responsible for the organization’s success a tangible stake in its future.
If the past 20+ months have taught us anything about our business and our employee owners, it is the importance of resilience and the power of communication, collaboration and cooperation among colleagues who respect each other and genuinely care for our clients and one another.
Cornerstone has been fortunate to enjoy great success during this most difficult and uncertain time because of our team model and approach. I remain incredibly proud of our employee owners and their response to the pandemic, both individually and collectively. We have an amazing group of hardworking, dedicated, and caring individuals who have put our people and clients first and positioned the business to continue to prosper.
Why are we an ESOP?
To strengthen our collaborative culture, reinforce our commitment to a team approach, and properly recognize the full value of our professionals now and into the future, Cornerstone sold the company to our employees and established the Cornerstone Government Affairs, Inc. Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) in 2016. As a result, each employee owner of the firm earns equity in the business and will hopefully enjoy a more secure financial future.
The establishment of the ESOP allowed us to stay focused on, and remain true to, our vision and philosophy, while also creating equity and leadership opportunities for all employees. As owners of the business, our employees share in the future growth and prosperity of Cornerstone, keeping everyone invested in the long-term success of the business. It allows us to reward people for their loyalty and performance and creates a platform for growth, diversification, and sustainability.
We are pleased and proud of this decision and believe that the culture of ownership has benefitted all aspects of our business.
What have we learned?
To separate ourselves in a highly crowded and competitive field, we wanted to establish and promote a brand that was not only marketable, but also genuine. A brand that fulfills our mission and vision and promotes our team philosophy.
Employee ownership did and does just that for our employees and our clients. The team mindset and core principles that guide the strategic direction and day-to-day management of the firm allow us to attract the very best people and create a positive and productive work environment.
To all our employees, past and present, I offer a heartfelt thank you.
Thank you for the trust and confidence you all place in yourselves and each other. Thank you for embracing the culture, vision, philosophy, and approach that underpins our success. And finally, thank you for being an amazing group of fiercely committed and talented professionals that I have the honor of working with each day.