Broughton Consulting Reflections on 2020

Anne-Claire Broughton, Principal

In the bear of a year that was 2020, I was grateful to be part of two business groups that took particular care of their employees and each other: the employee ownership community and the Great Game of Business (GGOB) community. GGOB developed a cash flow tool early in the pandemic to help businesses forecast cash for the next six months and I had many great conversations with clients using the tool. I saw companies doing everything they could to provide great service to their customers while keeping their people safe and employed. My clients used their weekly GGOB huddles to keep everyone informed on where their companies stood financially and how each person could influence the numbers positively. They found ways to support each other with the abrupt transition to working at home while juggling the need to manage households that often included children doing online schooling. One client began providing hot meals once a week to their community. Another had weekly online game nights to keep their team’s spirits up.

The employee ownership world also worked hard to find ways to help small and medium sized businesses survive and come out of the pandemic stronger; research from Rutgers shows that employee owned businesses were less likely to lay off employees during this time. The Employee Ownership Expansion Network worked hard to expand its network of state employee ownership centers, and my associate Austin and I spent a lot of time building the North Carolina Employee Ownership Center alongside NCEOC’s strong Board of Directors. We raised funds, built relationships, spoke at events, connected businesses with employee ownership service providers, and maintained a strong social media presence. 

This work culminated in the NCEOC hosting its first event celebrating employee ownership in October and ending the year strong by hiring its first full-time executive director, the very talented Guenevere Abernathy. I’m so pleased that our hard work will enable the NCEOC to head into 2021 as a well-established organization with strong leadership and great potential. This has been a huge project of which I am very proud.

All in all, 2020 was a good year for Broughton Consulting and I am very grateful for health, family, meaningful work, and amazing colleagues. I’m looking forward to more great adventures in 2021.

Austin Amandolia, Asssociate

This has been a strange year to be a student, employee, and community volunteer, but I’m thankful to work for a company that so clearly values its people. 

Much of my day-to-day work revolves around supporting the North Carolina Employee Ownership Center (NCEOC), a non-profit organization Broughton Consulting has been tasked with operating for the past year and a half. NCEOC is focused on protecting jobs and maintaining community wealth by helping businesses walk through succession planning, considering employee ownership as a viable option. This work felt even more important during a year where many businesses were looking at their bottom lines and wondering whether it was worth it to take out that new line of credit to stay open.

As I’m sure many have felt, there were moments of helplessness this year, where I wanted to do my part to support folks weathering the pandemic. I’ve appreciated the opportunity to contribute to projects that directly supported businesses through a challenging year. We’ve helped businesses pinpoint their cash needs, listened to colleagues process the year, and built a non-profit organization poised to change communities by protecting jobs and sustaining community wealth. 

Reflecting on 2020 is a challenging act. There are so many competing feelings about how this year went and what it means for our world. One thing that has been clear to me is the need to ensure our businesses are forces for good, the motto of Certified B Corporations such as Broughton Consulting. We heard many stories this year of businesses stepping up to support our communities and ensure our needs were met in a timely manner. I look forward to seeing how businesses continue to make a positive impact in communities, and am happy to be a part of a company that prioritizes employees, community, environment, and profit, even during challenging times.