It’s remarkable when company owners pass on their ownership to their children.
What is it when an owner of a company chooses to provide for many families by passing ownership to her employees?
It’s unbelievable. . . . and rarely takes place.
Yet that is exactly what Anne-Merelie Murrell did for her employees when she transferred her majority ownership to all of us, the employees of Giroux Glass. She made us all owners and partners. Thank you, Anne-Merelie, for the gift of employee ownership! With big dreams, expertise, and the best union glaziers and office staff, we’re dedicated to making her proud and providing security for many families.
Our Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) and “Thank you Anne-Merelie” celebration took place on Friday, November 17thm just before (and how appropriate!) Thanksgiving. It marked the first time we brought all of our non-union employees together, from across state lines and our four offices (in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Fresno, and Las Vegas). It was important for everyone to be united, especially given our theme.
Anne-Merelie had, at the beginning of our ESOP transition in 2007, hand-drawn an illustration of her “Canoe Theory” to some of us at that time, and it which became the theme for our party. She shared then: “We are all leaders directing our own destiny. Now imagine what goals we can exceed, if we all row in the same direction. We’re unstoppable together.”
That phrase was commemorated on specially-printed champagne bottles and with symbolic oars, which were gifted to each employee-owner. Anne-Merelie received a life-size oar signed by all of us, to also symbolize that we take up her mission to row in the same direction, to exceed our goals together.
We were encouraged by the words of Neil Brozen (our ESOP Trustee), Rick Stafford (one of Giroux Glass’ external board members), Jacqueline Arbid (our Steering Committee chairperson), and of course, Anne-Merelie Murrell, who each spoke to our group. And to round out the party with fun and lightheartedness, it was made complete with a food truck (Ralph and Richie’s), DJ, bar, a “take a piece of the (ESOP) pie” pie station, a generous gift raffle, and more.
It was a very special time for all of us, and I am all the more grateful to work alongside such wonderful people. A very special thank you to our Culture Committee, Steering Committee, and other volunteers who made this event possible.