Project Equity, a national nonprofit organization, names Evan Edwards as first Chief Executive Officer
Evan Edwards has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Project Equity, a national leader in the movement to harness employee ownership to maintain thriving local business communities, honor selling owners’ legacies, and address income and wealth inequality. This appointment deepens the focus on scale strategies to help local businesses thrive through employee ownership.
Project Equity works with partners around the country to raise awareness about employee ownership as an exit strategy for business owners, and provides hands-on consulting and support to companies that want to transition to employee ownership.
Evan Edwards has been appointed Chief Executive Officer of Project Equity, a national leader in the movement to harness employee ownership to maintain thriving local business communities, honor selling owners’ legacies, and address income and wealth inequality. Edwards was selected for his visionary leadership and business acumen acquired over his lifetime career, including the past nearly five years serving as Director of Strategic Partnerships and Business Engagement at Project Equity.
Edwards has played a critical leadership role at Project Equity during a period of growth as it expanded through partnerships including city and county localities, government agencies, nonprofit organizations and business associations throughout California and in targeted regions across the United States.
“We are at an inflection point in the history of our country and also our organization,” said Edwards. “Today marks a crossroads on our roadmap to resiliency: we saw during the worst of COVID how employee-owned businesses were significantly more resilient. Now we see employees leaving their jobs in unprecedented numbers in search of better jobs that present meaningful opportunity. Now more than ever, our communities need resilient businesses that offer quality jobs, which in turn create financial resiliency for workers and their families. At Project Equity, we are shifting to focus more deeply on scaling employee ownership in order to help realize this vision.”
Prior to joining Project Equity, Edwards spent over two decades working with start-up and early growth companies and in nonprofit leadership. His work identifying, cultivating and leading partnerships helped companies in multiple technology sectors scale. Edward’s track record enables him to bridge the private and nonprofit sectors, which is critical to the growth of employee ownership among businesses and as a field of economic development.
Project Equity co-founders Alison Lingane and Hilary Abell have led Project Equity for the past ten years. Today, Evan Edwards steps into the CEO role as the organization moves into its next chapter of growth. The co-founders remain in critical roles focused on moving the field of employee ownership to scale.
“Project Equity will now take a more active role in engaging with policymakers, government agencies and other stakeholders to advance employee ownership,” said co-founder Abell. “We see interest in employee ownership growing, and it is time to include it in our national vision for an equitable economic recovery.”
“The future is bright for employee ownership, and we have tremendous opportunity in front of us right now. As a field and as an organization, we need to be pulling the levers of awareness raising, private and public sector engagement, capital and policy to scale employee ownership,” shared co-founder Lingane. “It is time to ignite this critical phase of growth for our organization, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to have somebody with Evan’s talent as our first CEO.”
With employee recruiting and retention being such a critical need for businesses, employee ownership offers a blueprint for attracting and retaining people for the long term. And, for retirement-aged business owners, it preserves their legacy while providing a market sale of the business, on their own timeline without having to search for an external buyer.
Transitioning a business to employee ownership can support business continuity, preserve good jobs and rebuild local economies. This helps businesses and the communities where they are located to thrive for generations to come.