Deborah Groban Olson is an employee/labor side ownership attorney with over 28 years of experience creating and advising employee-owned companies, equity compensation plans, and cooperatives, representing companies, trusts, unions, and employees, and creating employee ownership feasibility studies.
She is also executive director of the non-profit Center for Community-Based Enterprise. C2BE links entrepreneurs with underutilized local resources to develop locally rooted businesses paying living wages. Its initial focus is southeast Michigan. She is a managing member of Ingenuity US, the mission-driven, for-profit sister of C2BE that is currently being organized.
As an attorney, Deborah is general counsel to the American Ingenuity Alliance, assisting inventors and unions to jointly improve bargaining leverage and local job creation.
She is also executive director of the Capital Ownership Group (COG)* and founding executive director of the Michigan Employee Ownership Center; founding chair of JointCities Development, a community development corporation in metropolitan Detroit; past chair of the National Center for Employee Ownership; and past vice-chair of the ESOP Association Michigan Chapter. She is a member of the Leadership Detroit Class XVII and the AFL-CIO Lawyers Coordinating Committee. Her publications are available here .
Deborah practiced labor law in Wisconsin, Arkansas and Michigan from 1976-1981, then began her employee ownership practice. She taught courses at Wayne State UniversityLaw School and its labor studies program, University of Michigan Institute of Labor & Industrial Relations, University of Wisconsin School for Workers, AFL-CIO Meany Center for Labor Studies. She is admitted to the bar in Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Arkansas, and holds a BA, cum laude, University of Wisconsin (1971); a JD, order of the coif, University of Wisconsin (1976) and has had a Martindale Hubbell AV rating since 1997.
*Although still on-line, COG was active primarily from 1999-2006. Olson directed COG’s Alfred P. Sloan Foundation-funded Fair Exchange Project, and authored “Fair Exchange: Providing citizens with equity managed by a community trust in return for government subsidies or tax breaks to businesses”, Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy (2006). The paper includes model state and federal fair exchange laws, also available in a separate document, which are particularly relevant now that the government owns an increasing portion of the US economy. COG is an international network of professionals, academics and activists that operates an on-line conference center, think tank, and library from Kent State University. Its purpose is to help communities use broad ownership to abate the negative impact of globalization. It has sponsored several international conferences and has had 20 working groups with over 600 participants from six continents and has responded to over 5.3 million information requests from people in 173 countries.
[i] Her publications, available at www.esoplaw.com, include: “Union Experiences with Worker Ownership” 1982 Wis. LR 729; “Keeping Jobs and Capital at Home” 1984 Nova Law Journal 583; “Employee Ownership and Economic Development” 1987 NYU Review of Law & Social Change; “Unions and Employee Ownership”, ESOP Handbook (Probus, 1989); “Unions and Fair Market Value: An Argument for a Safe Harbor for Negotiated ESOPs”, 1992 Journal of Employee Ownership Law & Finance 135; “ESOPs for People, Not for Wall Street,” 1993 Journal of Employee Ownership Law and Finance 5; “Development, Growth & Experience of ESOPs and Democratic Employee Buyouts” speech at Int’l. Conference on Democratic Employee Ownership, Dublin, Ireland 1993; “Giving Employee Owners a Real Voice as Stockholders: Legislative Proposals to the Dunlop Commission”, 1994 Journal of Employee Ownership Law & Finance; “The Employee Buyout Feasibility Study”, Leveraged ESOPs and Employee Buyouts, NCEO 1997 (updated 2004), “The Feasibility Study for an Employee Led Buyout” Winter 1998, Journal of Employee Ownership Law & Finance. Summary of “Capital Ownership Group Industrial Homestead Policy Proposals” Business Ethics September 2000 and Accountability, December 2000; Chap. 17 “Labor Unions”, ESOP Answer Book, Panel Publishers, July 2000; “Fair Exchange: Providing citizens with equity managed by a community trust in return for government subsidies or tax breaks to businesses”, Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy (2006).