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2023 Fall Symposium & Annual Meeting Webcast

December 5, 2023 @ 9:00 am - 12:30 pm


Ever wonder why, despite offering fantastic benefits, employees seem to forget about them after open enrollment?

Join us for an enlightening session where we’ll unravel the mystery behind sustaining engagement with your benefit plan. We’ll focus on the mindset shift, effective communication tactics and continuous wellness programs crucial for ensuring your workforce not only remembers and appreciates their benefits, but uses them throughout the year.

Sessions Include:

  • Keynote presentation on the State of the Healthcare Industry
  • Popular Breakout session on how to Take Your Health Benefits to the Next Level
  • Healthcare Transformation Awards ceremony
  • Annual Business Meeting featuring the cooperative’s strategic vision for the upcoming year.

Seize this opportunity to stay ahead of the curve and gain insights about the ever-evolving healthcare landscape of 2024!

Program Overview:

9:00am – 9:05am CT Webcast Introduction

  • Cheryl DeMars, President & CEO – The Alliance
9:05am – 9:35am CT The Alliance Annual Meeting

  • Cheryl DeMars, President & CEO – The Alliance
  • Diana Clark, Benefits Manager – Promega, Board Chair – The Alliance
  • Doug Benzine, Vice President of Finance & Operations – The Alliance
9:35am – 10:20am CT Breakout Session

  • Beyond the Basics: Take Your Health Benefits to the Next Level
10:20am – 10:25am CT Break
10:25am – 10:30am CT Welcome & Opening Remarks

  • Cheryl DeMars, President & CEO – The Alliance
10:30pm – 11:00am CT Healthcare Transformation Awards Ceremony
11:00am – 12:30pm CT State of the Healthcare Industry

  • Ford Koles, Vice President and National Spokesperson – Advisory Board
12:30pm – 12:35pm CT Closing Comments & Adjourn


This event has been approved for HRCI, SHRM and OCI CE Credits.

The use of this official seal confirms that this Activity has met HR Certification Institute’s® (HRCI®) criteria for recertification credit pre-approval. The Alliance is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP® This event is approved by the WI Office of the Commissioner of Insurance for licensees under the course topic Principles of Accident and Health insurance.

Claim CE Credit: To request SHRM & HRCI CE credit, email events@the-alliance.org.

The system must record you actively viewing the course in its entirety in order for you to be eligible to claim CE credit for this course. Failure to view the entire telecourse (as noted in the start and end times listed on this page) will result in a denial of CE credits for this course.

State of the Healthcare Industry

Ford Koles

Vice President and National Spokesperson, Advisory Board

Ford Koles is one of Advisory Board’s preeminent thought leaders in health system economics and strategy and the keynote speaker at the annual meetings for Advisory Board’s strategy membership. Ford is a healthcare economist by training and has participated in every major Advisory Board research initiative since 1992. He is well-versed in healthcare history and the many reform initiatives we have lived through in the past three decades: coverage expansion; vertical integration and physician partnership models; managed care and payer contracting; horizontal integration and system economies of scale; and quality-based payment.

Prior to joining Advisory Board, he was a management consultant for the Hay Group and Ernst & Young. Ford received his BA from Kenyon College, and his MA in Economics from John Hopkins University.

Beyond the Basics: Take Your Health Benefits to the Next Level

Melina Kambitsi, Ph.D. – Moderator

Sr Vice President, Business Development and Strategic Marketing, The Alliance

Dr. Melina Kambitsi joined The Alliance in 2017 and leads the teams responsible for membership growth and retention. Dr. Kambitsi comes to The Alliance from Network Health in Milwaukee and Menasha, Wisconsin where she was chief sales and strategy officer. In this role, she was responsible for sales and underwriting, strategic planning, product development and risk-based contract analytics. Dr. Kambitsi currently serves on National CooperativeRx’s Board of Directors  

Sara Hames

Principal, NBS Advisors, LLC

Sara Hames, a principal with NBS Advisors, LLC, brings over 30 years of experience in employee benefits consulting.  She has dedicated her practice to helping interested employers disrupt and transform traditional healthcare into sustainable delivery models. Sara is a member of the International Society for Certified Employee Benefit Specialists (ISCEBS) and has been a featured speaker at many conferences. In addition, she has taught employee benefits classes at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, Marquette University, and the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans.  

Drew Leatherberry

President and Principal Advisor, Avergent

Drew Leatherberry is Founder and President of Avergent, a Wisconsin-based benefits advisement firm serving employers since 2019. Over the past 15 years, Drew has started and led agencies with innovative approaches to managing healthcare costs. As a certified Health Rosetta Associate Advisor, he leverages proven best practices from across the country to make healthcare affordable for plan members. He’s been recognized regionally and nationally as a voice for transformation in the healthcare benefits arena.   

Taylor Orton

Vice President, Employee Benefits, Cottingham & Butler

Taylor Orton has worked with Cottingham & Butler since 2012, and currently holds the position as the Vice President of Employee Benefits. Prior to managing a team of Consultants throughout the Midwest, Taylor ran the Healthcare Analytics division of Cottingham & Butler and brought with him an analytical background with experience at Crescent Electric and IBM. Taylor’s vast experience in both healthcare and data analytics provides employers with a strategical insight to make better decisions for their business and employees. 


December 5, 2023
9:00 am - 12:30 pm