ESOP Association Blog

Cal Ripken Jr. to Speak at Employee Owned 2021!

Hall of Famer and Baseball’s “Iron Man” to Share Insights and Experiences that Made Him One of the Greatest of All Time

We are incredibly excited and privileged to have Cal Ripken Jr. joining us in-person for Employee Owned 2021 in Las Vegas! Ripken will be our featured keynote speaker on Day 2 of our conference and will kick off that day’s programming at 8:00 a.m. (PT). Immediately following his keynote, Mr. Ripken will also join our Executive Series Track for CEOs and CFOs to offer his unique insights and perspectives to our ESOP leaders in a more intimate setting.

In the world of professional sports, Cal Ripken Jr.’s name is synonymous with perseverance and leadership. One of the most beloved baseball players ever, Ripken played his entire career with the Baltimore Orioles. In his first full season in 1982, he was named the American League Rookie of the Year and began the streak that would help define his greatness. He twice earned Most Valuable Player honors in the American League, and in 1983 helped lead the Orioles to a World Series Championship. He was named to the American League All Star team an incredible 19 times in his 21-year career with the Orioles and is one of only a handful of players with 400 home runs and 3,000 hits.

These accomplishments alone would have cemented his legacy as one of the greatest players ever. Yet Ripken’s crowning achievement, the feat that would help define him as “The Iron Man,” was in breaking a record that most believed could never be broken. Between 1982 and 1998, Ripken played in 2,632 consecutive games, besting the previous record by 502 games, a record that had endured for more than half a century.

For Ripken’s iconic career achievements in baseball, he was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century team in 1999. In 2007, in his first year of eligibility, he was voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame with 98.53% of the vote, a percentage surpassed by only five other players in history.


In the current economic environment, when ESOPs are facing so many challenges, we couldn’t think of a better guest to speak about perseverance and leadership than Cal Ripken Jr. As a player, bestselling author, businessman, and philanthropist, Ripken is an inspirational figure who has a lifetime of experience leading and pushing through adversity. His career and life experiences are easily relatable and highly relevant to employee owners who are striving to secure their future prosperity.

The keys to individual and organizational success are similar throughout the worlds of sports, business, and many other pursuits, and we’ll be hearing from Ripken and our other keynote speakers as they share their secrets across our core conference themes of “Adapt, Innovate, Lead.” If you want to know how our keynote speakers were able to reach the pinnacle of their fields, don’t miss this year’s EO2021!

In his keynote address, Cal Ripken Jr. will discuss his core elements of perseverance from his book Get In The Game that defined his quest to become one of the greatest of all time. These elements include:

  • The Right Values
  • A Strong Will to Succeed
  • Love What You Do
  • Preparation
  • Anticipation
  • Trusting Relationships
  • Life Management
  • The Courage of Your Convictions

We think you’ll agree that these elements are shared by a great deal of highly successful people and businesses. Join us in Las Vegas and see how Ripken was able to learn and apply these elements throughout his baseball and business career.

In addition to these values, Ripken will relate some of the stories and lessons learned that can be found in his latest book, Just Show Up. His wisdom goes far beyond the baseball diamond with many truths that can be applied to the business world, with topics such as “Success and Money Are Not the Same” and “Practice Doesn’t Make Perfect – Adjustment Does.”

In today’s business and economic landscape, ESOPs and their leaders are facing challenges like never before. In addition to building and enhancing core skills and valuable networking with your ESOP peers, our keynote speakers this year were selected to inspire you with real-world lessons and insights that will prove invaluable in helping guide you through these turbulent times.

We know you have a lot going on right now. That’s why this year for Employee Owned 2021, we worked hard to put together our strongest and most ambitious agenda ever. With our insightful speakers, innovative ideas, the latest industry updates, technical content you can trust, and a focus on current events, Employee Owned 2021 will prepare you and your ESOP to march confidently into 2022.

If you haven’t registered yet, there’s still time to sign up! Please join us and your fellow ESOP leaders in Las Vegas as we come together to celebrate our shared bonds and the spirit of entrepreneurship and connectedness that define ESOPs everywhere. We hope to see you there!