Pilot: What to Expect on Empowered Owners

We’ve started a podcast, this you know, but what’s the goal and what can we expect to hear on future episodes?

We are so glad you asked, because EV’s own Chief of Staff Emily Bopp joins the show to talk through all these things and more. The purpose of the podcast is building community and camaraderie within Empowered Ventures. In this inaugural episode of Empowered Owners, Emily and Chris share who they are, why they’re so passionate about this podcast, and what they’d like it to accomplish.

You’ll learn about EV’s purpose of creating life changing outcomes for our people and some topics they hope to cover in future episodes. Tune in to the conversation as we embark on the journey of bringing our employees closer together and build a community-oriented culture.

You’ll learn:
• Why we decided to started a podcast
• What to expect from future guests (and what it’s like to be one)
• What we want from you, our audience of empowered owners

Check out the pilot episode wherever you listen to podcasts and view everything on @Empowered_Ventures on YouTube. Connect to the full transcript here or read it below the media links.


Pilot Episode Transcript [Empowered Owners]

Chris Fredericks: Welcome to Empowered Owners, the podcast that takes you inside Empowered Ventures. I’m your host, Chris Fredericks. In each episode, I’ll have a discussion with one of our employees to discover and highlight their distinct personalities, perspectives, and skills, while also keeping you in the loop with exclusive news updates on company performance and a glimpse into the future plans of Empowered Ventures. This is an opportunity for me to learn more about our amazing employee owners and an opportunity for you to hear regularly from me and others from within Empowered Ventures. On this first episode of Empowered Owners, I’m joined by Emily Bopp, EV’s chief of staff, to talk about why we’re doing this podcast, what we’d like it to accomplish, and more. We also talk about EV’s purpose of creating life- changing outcomes for our people, what it means to us, and some topics we hope will get covered in future episodes that we think you’ll be excited to hear. So without further ado, let’s get to the conversation. So Emily, welcome to our first podcast episode.

Emily Bopp: Right now. Can you believe it’s actually happening?

Chris Fredericks: No. No.

Emily Bopp:  We are.

Chris Fredericks: We’ve been talking about this for a while. It’s very exciting.

Emily Bopp: We have been talking about this for a long time. Thanks for having me. This is awesome.

Chris Fredericks: Yes, absolutely. I thought it’d be a good place to start to just introduce ourselves. So why don’t we start with you and you share your background or even when you joined Empowered Ventures and what you do here. Just talk about who you are.

Emily Bopp: Would love to, thank you for giving me the chance. So Emily Bopp, chief of staff here at Empowered Ventures. When did I start? It feels like it’s been an eternity, in a good way, in a good way. It feels like it’s been an eternity, but you and I met years ago. We met at a Butler Business Consulting Group event, and I’ll never forget it because it was just one of those random conversations during a break and stayed in touch and I’m so glad that we did. Then, yeah, a little bit about me. My professional background, I often call it a kaleidoscope. Anyone who spent any amount of time with me has probably heard me say that word. And if you can imagine when you played with those as little kids, all the little colors, all the little shapes, so much of my path was atypical. I didn’t start out my adult life in business, and yet here I am. So that’s a really long story and maybe one for another day. I will say that all of those lots of different experiences, all of those little colors and pieces have prepared me to be of service to Empowered Ventures in some pretty exciting and unique ways, and I love my job as chief of staff. A lot of people say, ” What is that? I’ve never heard of that.” So just real quickly for everyone to understand, first and foremost, to help you to make sure that you’re able to stay focused on your best and highest calling. So taking things off of your plate that aren’t maybe where you should be keeping your focus and taking care of some of those things for you. But then beyond that, sort of owning and handling any of the cross- functional work that doesn’t squarely land in one of our other team members functional areas of expertise. So, again, because of my kaleidoscope background, I love that I can jump in areas that maybe I only have a little bit of experience in. But I’m super fast in learning on the uptake and can take those and move them forward. Some recent examples have been helping our team find and onboard productivity tool. So we are crossing over into a new era at Empowered Ventures where we needed to be able to have greater visibility into each other’s work and just processes and systems behind that. So I spearheaded that effort, helping us through our annual vision strategy and planning season; helping us find some fractional help, some part- time help in both IT leadership and HR leadership this podcast and bring it together. There’s just so many things that are important to the Empowered Ventures enterprise that don’t fall squarely into our very small teams areas of functional expertise. So if the first part of my job is all about helping me stay focused, the second major part of my job is in picking up all of these pieces that don’t naturally fall to someone else’s inaudible-

Chris Fredericks: The way I think about it, and it’s oversimplifying it, but you’re a phenomenal doer, especially of things that you don’t maybe have experience with yet. So you love learning, you love taking on new challenges and getting things going, and you’re comfortable tackling that in a variety of areas. We definitely have a lot of things happening, a lot of things that we haven’t done before, that we need to get moving in an organized fashion, and you’re exceptional at doing that. So for me, it’s definitely been noticeably hugely different in terms of our ability to move forward and get things done effectively as soon as you joined and started helping us.

Emily Bopp: That’s awesome.

Chris Fredericks: Yeah, really grateful. Thanks for your help.

Chris Fredericks: Yeah, absolutely. So I guess I should probably share a little bit about me, too. So I’m Chris Fredericks, I’m CEO of Empower Ventures. I’ve been with this organization essentially with TVF, which founded Empowered Ventures back in 2020 for right at 18 years. My background is as a very boring number cruncher, an accountant. I started in TVF in the accounting department, and I just have been super fortunate to get a lot of opportunities within TVF and now with Empowered Ventures to do a lot of really interesting work. But it all really culminating for me in employee ownership and the impact employee ownership can have for our people at TVF at first and now broadening into additional companies. So for me, this is a dream job that I’m in now, especially just with the impact that I believe this organization does have on people today and will have in the future. So that’s enough about me and us. I guess, we probably got to get to the meat of this episode soon. So I guess this first show is really a way for us to share and connect with our people about what the show’s even about. Why are we doing this? Most companies don’t do podcasts internally, a lot are starting to do it externally for their customers and their industry. We’re doing a really strange thing, which is a podcast that’s focused on just our people, our great people at Empowered Ventures. So I’ve thought about this for myself. Our success at the high end, our total addressable market is 175 people, which is the tiniest potential total addressable market of any podcast launched ever, probably. But I want this to be an exceptional show for those 175 people, and we have a lot of ambition for this show. So I guess maybe we can start to talk about maybe some context for why we’re even launching this show and what we’re hoping to get out of it. So what are your thoughts on that?

Emily Bopp: Well, for sure, and so I wanted to grab a word that you said at the very beginning, but you said it quickly and make sure that we call that out. You said a way for our employees to be connected. That’s a huge, huge thing. We are this enterprise, this collective of all these different businesses with employees at any given business, marginally aware maybe, of Empowered Ventures and how they’re connected, although as the time goes by, that awareness is growing. But I mean, correct me, if I’m wrong, part of what your vision for all of this is, ” How can we supercharge that? How can we help our people feel connected to us, to each other, to really get to know each other?” I mean, you had the vision for all of this. I’d love to hear what you saw in your head as the potential.

Chris Fredericks: Yeah, yeah. Thanks for asking. Yeah, I think businesses and companies generally have always found geographic distance to be a challenge to building a really great community- oriented culture, and TVF had that. So with West Coast, East Coast, a few kind of people throughout the country. Then now with Empowered Ventures, we’ve got the additional complexity of more locations that are with separate businesses. So teams that don’t have to interact on a day- to- day basis, and in fact, we’re part of who we are is we allow and embrace each company keeping its unique kind of culture within an employee ownership environment. There’s not a natural way to build community and camaraderie amongst the entire Empowered Ventures Enterprise. So thinking about how to connect with everyone consistently, but without it being in their business day- to- day and being too intrusive, essentially. It seems like podcasting might be a great way to enable that connection, especially where the idea really came to life for me was when I started thinking about bringing people from throughout the enterprise, from all the different businesses, from all the different departments and teams, and bringing individuals into the podcast and actually helping everyone throughout get to know each other by hearing stories and getting to know people from other companies within our group. So that for me is where the idea came to life.

Emily Bopp: Yes, and I’m so glad you said that because that’s what got me on board with it. I mean, not that I wasn’t on board with it. inaudible-

Chris Fredericks:  Sure. So your first reaction was like, ” What?”

Emily Bopp: No, ” Who was actually going to listen to us drowning on and on,” but it’s not us drowning on and on. I love that that has been your vision from the beginning. How better to connect us to each other than to let each other connect. Let’s bring on, and I’m going to go ahead and say a couple names of people who have agreed to. So Mikayla Samer is from First Star, is going to be one of our first guests, and I’m so excited that she’ll be able to sit down and talk with her, and you’ll be able to talk about what jazzes her, about her work and her life and just get to know her. So I agree with you, this podcast is unlike any other. We’re only for each other, but we’re doing it in such excellence and with so much care and attention. This is very important to us to highlight each other and to sort of elevate each other and give each other a space to be known. Not a lot of companies do that, so I love that. Yeah, let’s do it.

Chris Fredericks: Yeah, absolutely. Well, let’s talk a little bit more about what we’re actually planning for each episode, because podcasts take on a lot of different forms. There’s some that are long form documentaries, hours long tons of research. There’s others that are large discussions with multiple people, and there’s a lot of different ways you can tackle the form and the function of a podcast. So would you want to walk us through the way, I’m putting you on the spot?

Emily Bopp:  I’ll just say a quick comment to help everyone for their minds. This is going to be a short podcast. So when Chris said inaudible documentary hours one, no, no, no.

Chris Fredericks: Cut to the chase.

Emily Bopp:  Yeah. Totally like, 20, 25, 30 minutes max, enough time to really have it be meaningful, hopefully something that you can catch on your car ride home.

Chris Fredericks: Well, I think technically this will be an interview- style podcast. So the plan is that I’ll be the host consistently. So in each episode I’ll be leading the discussion and interacting with a guest. So we’ll have a featured guest, and that’s going to be the bulk of each episode is a discussion between me and someone from within Empowered Ventures. Again, this will be almost anyone that’s willing and interested to come on. We want to have them on. It’ll be an interview style, but it will be very informal. So it’ll be a discussion to get to know people. We will talk about work. It’s not like we’re going to try not to talk about work. We do want to talk about work and what everybody’s doing, but we also want to know who people are and what makes them tick and what they’re interested in or anything almost that they want to talk about. Because ultimately, I think we just have a lot of really interesting people and we want to create a platform for those people to get to know each other. In a way, it’s a way for me to consistently be meeting all of our people because of that geographic dispersion and even the number of people out there. I’m not going to have an opportunity to meet a lot of people really consistently. That’s another great thing that I’m looking forward to with this podcast. But so in terms of the show flow, we’ll have a big discussion with somebody big 15 minutes, let’s say, and then that’ll be the first section of each podcast. Then we’ll probably have one or two more sections. Right now, we’re envisioning a fun, quick second section with the featured guest. This might be something really silly, like there’s a lot of gimmicks out there to make it to do fun stuff, but it’s really a way to have a short way to get to know them even better. So maybe we’ll have 10 quick hitter questions that are like, ” What’s your favorite cereal? What’s your favorite movie? What’s your whatever?” Because everyone actually, I find likes to talk about cereal. I don’t know if you’ve noticed that in life, but you can have really interesting discussions around cereal. So we might actually make that a consistent part of this, maybe not. Then the last section of the episode will probably be you and I talking about what just was discussed, what did you think about that guest? What really stood out to you, and what are you excited about with what was talked about in that interview, as well as maybe at that point starting to share also about Empowered Ventures? So maybe we’ll have news, news that’s really important that we want to share, or maybe we’ll want to get into our plans for each year, making sure everyone knows all the things that we’re working on at the Empowered Ventures level that may have an impact for everyone down the road or whatever. What else are you excited about with regards to this approach that we’re taking?

Emily Bopp: Well, just that it gives everybody an inside connection. So to just hear you describe that all, again, it’s reinforcing for me, especially having been with some of our employee owners in their businesses. We are invisible right now. We Empowered Ventures are… It’s hard for any of those folks to really know what’s going on at Empowered Ventures, who are they? Not just us, but all of the other employee owners who make up this big thing called Empowered Ventures. So yeah, if I could summarize what you just said, first major section is getting to know one of our fellow employee owners, you getting to know them, getting to know you, and it’s all recorded as a coffee chat conversation. Then there’s something fun that it takes it up a notch with that same individual. But then that last little bit, it’s like the insight peak, like, ” Here’s going on in Empowered Ventures that we’re not trying to keep secret at all. It’s just we didn’t have a way until now to make it accessible, to make it available.” So, yeah, I’m jazzed about this. I mean, I think that if folks were able to listen just even every once in a while at first, and then maybe it starts to get a little more addictive, I don’t know after then, but to have this consistently coming and we’re hoping to have a new recording coming out every week. It’s exciting of what we can share and what we can learn and what we can cultivate, not to overuse that word in our community by just setting aside this little bit of time. So I don’t know if I summarize that the way you would, but yeah.

Chris Fredericks: That’s awesome. Me, too, I’m excited. So yeah, I guess we could talk maybe about what comes next and also what we’re hoping to get in terms of how we’ll engage our audience, which is our people.

Emily Bopp:  Yeah. So everyone who’s listening to this, as we speak, all the equipment for the owners at your locations to be able to participate as our guests, that’s all being compiled. So you’re going to have a little kiosk, for lack of a better word, that will be hopefully very easy to use and very self- explanatory and not scary, where folks will just be able to come and sit down. Probably want to carve out an hour if you happen to be a guest with Chris. But my goodness, the interview is not an hour, you just heard us say, that hour is just so that you can sort of do a check and make sure the mic is okay and feel comfortable that we’re not in a hurry on either end of it. So yeah, the podcast kiosk kits are on their way, and some of our first interviewees have already graciously accepted. We’re doing a little legwork to prepare for their episode. Again, wanting to do this in excellence and not waste anyone’s time and have it be super interesting for the person who’s doing it and for everyone else who’s listening. So that all is going to be a little bit of a learning curve.

Chris Fredericks: I’m glad you mentioned excellence, because we are trying to make this at a high standard of production, and we have a really thoughtful approach we’re taking, and yet I want to give myself space to be very imperfect as a host, because this is hard. Being a podcaster is not an easy thing for most people to just jump in and do a quick aside. So the Tim Ferriss Show, a lot of people who listen to podcasts may know the Tim Ferriss Show. It’s one of the biggest podcasts in the world where he started it many years ago. I was listening to him or reading his books, and I happened to be one of the people that heard his first episode. You’d think this guy who was a New York Times bestselling author would be very comfortable just jumping behind it and doing a podcast. He got completely wasted to do the first episode because he was so nervous, and literally, you can go back today and listen to it, and he is drunk. He says it. He says, ” I am drunk and this is the only way I could get myself to get behind this podcast.” I’m proud to say there, I required no, no, nothing like that to do my first, and neither did you, Emily. I just want everybody to know, even though excellence matters to us, we also just want this to be fun, and we want the guests to be very comfortable. They don’t need to come on thinking they need to be excellent. I think that’s really important. They actually just need to come on and feel comfortable chatting with me and having a good time. Hopefully maybe this first episode shows that I am actually not as serious as I come across sometimes and that I can just have a chat with people and we’d love to have a lot of people on this. So yeah, I don’t know. I’m trying to sell myself as someone that can just have a chat. So come on, everyone, come on this podcast. It’ll be a lot of fun.

Emily Bopp: For sure. You know what, even to that point, if I could grab it real quick, maybe folks ought to know that their first time on is not their last time on. You know what I mean?

Chris Fredericks: Yeah.

Emily Bopp: So come do it and we’ll see how it goes, and maybe we all are like, ” Oh, that one’s something,” and now we try it again. This is something for us, buy us for us so we can make it what we want it to be, and that go, that we extend that invitation. I mean, you and I have had this conversation, and we want our employee owners to feel like this is theirs. They own it. That this is so, yeah, let’s feel our way along together and any of our first guests and anyone listening to this who thinks, ” Uh- oh, I might also get my shoulder tapped or maybe I’ll raise my hand to be a guest.” You know what? Come on and make it what you want it to be. If it is uncomfortable at the beginning or weird, or who cares, a year from now, you’ll be doing it again and it’ll be awesome.

Chris Fredericks: Yeah. Oh, that’s great. I love that. That takes me to what we would be looking for from everybody now going forward. I think we’ve alluded to it, but we’d love to have people send us any topics that they’d like us to cover. Any people within Empowered Ventures that they think would be great guests, anything they’re just curious to learn more about that they’d like to hear from us on, segment ideas, if they have any silly ideas for a segment, or, we want this to be everybody. So this is not something that’s done and finished and it’s going to stay the same forever. Definitely help us create this, co- create this as we go forward and basically reach out to us, we have our emails on our websites, chris @ empowered. ventures, emily @ empowered. ventures. We want to hear from everybody, any ideas they have, any questions they have, just reach out to us and we’d love to hear from everybody

Emily Bopp: For sure. I’m so glad that you thought to bring that up. Yeah, what do you want to know? Not you, you out there, what do you want to know? Maybe you don’t know yet. We’re dying to make this super meaningful for all of us.

Chris Fredericks: Yeah. Absolutely.

Emily Bopp:  Yeah.

Chris Fredericks:  Well, great. This has been, I think, a really great intro to what we’re trying to do with this Empowered Owners Podcast. So Emily, just thank you for jumping on here, making this conversation happen and participating, and most of all, helping get this whole ball rolling and planned and in a really thoughtful way. Definitely couldn’t have done it without you, so thank you for helping us get here.

Emily Bopp: You’re welcome. I just want to say you have a gift of being a visionary and being extraordinarily thoughtful and genuine toward everything that you do. It is an honor to help you get to make these things come to light and happen. So yeah, this is going to be awesome.

Chris Fredericks: Thank you. That’s really nice of you to say. Appreciate it. Well, that wraps up our first episode of Empowered Owners. I’d like to thank Emily for joining me and for doing so much work behind the scenes to make this and future episodes happen. Thank you to everyone who has provided ideas and feedback during the planning process leading up to this first episode. Last but not least, a big thank you to our production team at Share Your Genius for making this episode possible. Be sure to join us next time on Empowered Owners as we explore the lives and stories of the amazing employee owners that make up Empowered Ventures. If you haven’t already, follow our podcast on your favorite platform so you never miss an episode. Thank you for tuning in.


Tags: Podcast
Episode One… Amanda Sanchez: Leading with Passion & Curiosity