ESOP Governance Essentials

Thank you for your interest in ESOP Governance Essentials, presented by the Private Directors Association® and the National Center for Employee Ownership.

This course is ideal for:

  • Aspiring ESOP directors
  • Directors new to ESOP boardrooms
  • Owners considering an ESOP model

 Notes: 1. Click the button below then click Login to PDA. Enter your PDA credentials.
             2. Select the ESOP course and follow on screen instructions.


Should you decide to enroll in this course, the timing of your study is up to you, but please anticipate committing at least 12 hours to your ESOP education. The course is entirely self-paced, enabling you to learn when it suits your schedule.

  • Watch approximately four hours of video– three educational modules
  • Read two books provided in PDF form or available for purchase from NCEO.
  • Earn at least 80% in an online knowledge check. Please note: badge will be awarded after your course evaluation. Your feedback is an essential contribution to the success of this and other PDA courses.

You will need to complete the following course components to earn your digital badge:


In addition to compulsory course materials, we provide several additional resources—templates, sample materials, and webinars—which we hope you find useful.

ESOP Governance Essentials is a rigorous course designed to present a realistic look at the responsibilities of serving on an ESOP board. You may learn that ESOP board service is not for you.

Ready to enroll? 

ESOP Governance Essentials is available only to members of the Private Directors Association® and the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO).

This course is delivered online and is available only to PDA members.

Enrollment Fee: $150

Corporate Membership: Available as a complimentary corporate membership benefit. 

Login to Enroll Now

  Notes: 1. Click the button above then click Login to PDA. Enter your PDA credentials.
              2. Select the ESOP course and follow on screen instructions.

Thank you for continuing your education in directorship with the Private Directors Association®.

PDA and NCEO members who complete the course will be able to:

  • Describe what an ESOP is and outline the various ways this company structure can benefit a company and its employees.
  • Discuss why ESOPs have been adopted by a growing number of companies in the US.
  • Describe ESOP oversight by the Department of Labor and the implications of this for ESOP boards and trustees.
  • Compare the similarities and differences between board oversight of ESOP boards versus public company and private company boards.
  • Demonstrate awareness of the cultural and relationship skills needed to work effectively with internal and external stakeholders.
  • Accurately assess whether or not their soft skills are likely to make them a good match for an ESOP board.
  • Outline the role of an ESOP trustee and clarify how the trustee role differs from the independent director and executive management roles.
  • Discuss the board’s oversight role in the financial management of ESOP-owned companies, including a review of the company stock valuations; responding to acquisition offers; capital allocation/sustainability issues; and managing stock repurchase obligations.
  • Appreciate the level of financial knowledge necessary for any director to contribute usefully to ESOP board business and be capable of assessing their skills against these criteria.
  • Describe how and why boards of ESOPs retain various independent professional advisors who work with ESOPs.
  • Describe the reasons why an independent director might find ESOP board work fulfilling and worthwhile; or frustrating and perplexing.