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

This course is ideal for:

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

To enroll in the course or track your course progress, please follow these simple instructions:

Please note: PDA utilizes a separate website for its courses and a Single Sign-On (SSO) system.

1. Click the “enroll now” button below.

2. A second login screen will appear - click on the "PDA Members click here" button.

3. If you have already logged into your PDA account, you will be redirected to the course selection page. Otherwise, enter your PDA username and password to log in and access the courses.

4. Select the Certificate in Private Company Governance.

5. Follow the on-screen instructions to enroll and checkout.

6. If you need to return to your course progress, follow the steps 1-4.

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

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

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 why an independent director might find ESOP board work fulfilling and worthwhile or frustrating and perplexing.

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.

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

  • 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: The ESOP Governance Essentials badge will be sent to you after your course evaluation. Your feedback is an essential contribution to the success of this and other PDA courses. 


Ready to enroll? 

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

Course Enrollment Fee: $199

Corporate Membership: Available as a complimentary corporate membership benefit. 

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