100 Women Wall of Honor
About100 Women Wall of Honor

Debra J. Alder

As an undergraduate, Debra “Deb” Alder (BS 1977 Home Economics Education) had no intention of joining – much less leading – her family’s dairy distributing business. But she credits her education not only for launching her early career as a teacher, but ultimately for helping her move up the ranks to become president and CEO of Alder Companies.

“Many of the courses about families encouraged us to ask ‘what impact will your decision have on others?'” This message, she says, helped her appreciate the importance of investing in and valuing people – no small matter when overseeing a company with more than 100 employees. It is also what led Deb to join with others to endow the 100 Women Chair in Human Ecology.

For Deb, like her father and his before him, business has never been “just about the balance sheet.” Instead, she says, “the ultimate goal always lies in strengthening and maintaining relationships.” Deb raised three children with her husband Dr. Jeffery Scherer (BS 1974 L&S Zoology, MED 1979) and takes great satisfaction in community involvement, including the restoration of a historic main street building in downtown Delavan, Wisconsin, her hometown.