From her early years in a very traditional family environ-ment
to her current role as head of human resources at an
iconic family-owned enterprise, Alison DeMille has come
a long way.
As the chief human resources officer (CHRO) at McCain
Foods Limited, DeMille oversees a matrix organization of 500
HR and communications professionals who deliver the full
breadth of internal and external human resources to the company’s
Founded in Florenceville, N.B., in 1957, McCain Foods has
grown into a truly global business with an annual turnover of $9.5
billion and 52 production facilities around the world.
DeMille joined the company in September 2014, taking on the
role of CHRO following a period as senior vice-president of HR
for Gap Inc.
To say DeMille is determined is a vast understatement. She
recently sat down with HR Professional to talk about how she cul-tivated
her self-made success and how she pays it forward to future
female industry leaders.
When did you decide you wanted a career
in human resources?
Alison DeMille: When I graduated from high school, I was not
allowed to go to university. My father was traditional and believed
I should get married and have children. He paid for me to go to
receptionist school. I started my career as a receptionist in a law
firm and then I worked my way up to legal secretary to one of the
partners. After a couple of years, he encouraged me to go to uni-versity
and I finally did at age 23. I got my undergrad in labour
studies at McMaster University and then my Master of Industrial
Relations at Queen’s. I was pretty left leaning. I initially wanted
HR CAN GIVE THE OUTSIDE-IN
PERSPECTIVE TO THE REST
OF THE ORGANIZATION.
HRPROFESSIONALNOW.CA ❚ DECEMBER 2018 ❚ 53