Truce Media uses trial grant to ensure a successful employee ownership conversion

Truce Media completed their employee ownership conversion earlier this year, bringing storytellers and filmmakers together to form a unique media cooperative. Truce Media is an employee-owned content creation, movie studio and digital media company, creating the very first member-owned movie and television studio.

Committed to revolutionizing the film and television production industry, Truce Media is an Article 58 Limited Cooperative Association (LCA) Public Benefit Corporation practicing “fair trade filmmaking.” Truce Media ensures their member-owners, clients and community flourish through inspired storytelling and long-lasting relationships. 

Truce Media took advantage of the Colorado Employee Ownership Office Trial Grant to complete their conversion. With the funding from the grant, the media collective was able to convert to their cooperative structure, offering a stake and a voice to their employee members. 

Founding member Brandon Naughton has been in the creative industry since 2002 and saw that there wasn’t a path for people to come together and have ownership in one collaboration. 

To instill the employee ownership mindset, the founding members have shared leadership roles and trained themselves on the structure and benefits as they went. Starting with a small ownership group, they are bringing more members on and hosting weekly kickoffs and weekly wrap-ups to openly discuss the effects of the employee-ownership conversion. As new members join, they are offered a mentorship opportunity with a veteran member in what they call an “Apprenticeship to Ownership Track.”

“The best part about employee ownership is that everyone owns what they do,” said Naughton. “They really bring their heart to what it is we’re doing. They bring all of themselves and want to see growth for everyone’s benefit, not just their own.  We are seeing constant revenue growth because everyone sees how we can increase salaries and profit sharing across the board and it creates a tangible excitement in the company.”

Reflecting on their conversion and what they wish they had known going into it, Naughton shares that putting together a solid founder’s agreement for creating the entity is instrumental to the success of a conversion. To have those principles and expectations in place from the beginning and create a singular long-term vision with feedback from the group makes all the difference to ensure the employee ownership structure works for your business. 

“Everyone can come together and build something that is socially beneficial, profitable and the people that are building the business can continually grow and reap the benefits,” said Naughton. 

Truce Media was visited on Friday, August 20, 2021 by Governor Polis as part of the Power the Comeback Tour. Governor Polis established the Employee Ownership Office and Commission to further the mission of employee ownership across the state and make employee ownership more accessible to business owners.

If you’re interested in the benefits of employee ownership or want to learn more about the various structures, visit our Introduction to Employee Ownership Toolkit.

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