How many meetings in a lifetime of work? Thousands? No, most likely tens of thousands in a business setting. Exciting? Rarely. With people you enjoy, a consistently great “we’re in this together” experience? For most of us, again, special and rare.

My term and participation on The Alliance Board ends this year. I can easily say it was one of the best experiences in my long career.

The leadership and management team under President and CEO Cheryl DeMars has created a consistently high-performance, high-service environment. From reports, to meetings, to strategy development, managing change and responding to crises, they’re always on focus, drawing just the right amount of involvement from the Board.

Meetings and special sessions are always well organized, relevant and with a clear purpose, no surprises. I like to get “out of the box” from time to time.
Not only is this acceptable, but encouraged. We laugh a lot. We support each other – special for a mixed group of people pulled together in a Board setting.

Participation on this Board has been a learning experience, especially with this ever-changing health care environment, and, this special group of exceptional people. Cheryl, in particular, encourages – no, she really expects – a lively conversation, a solution with broad consensus. She and her team project confidence, trust and openness; they always deliver; and they have been a joy to work with, special and rare.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Alliance is now seeking candidates to fill three board seats beginning January 2014. Representatives of member companies are encouraged to apply by July 10. To learn more or to nominate yourself or another Alliance member, please contact Cheryl DeMars at or by calling 608.210.6621.

Michael McDonald

Michael McDonald

Guest Blogger, Vice President, Human Resources, Safety & Communication at Foremost Farms, USA
McDonald has been the V.P. of Human Resources, Safety and Communications at Foremost Farms USA since 2006 and is responsible for all Human Resources initiatives, safety and health leadership, and internal and external communications for the $1.4 billion cooperative. He is also aggressively pursuing the continued introduction of consumer-driven health care. He joined The Alliance Board of Directors in 2008.
Michael McDonald

Latest posts by Michael McDonald