Schoenfish named Chief People Officer to drive strategic human resources practices and culture initiatives

Friday, September 1, 2017 - 11:30am

BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today announced the hiring of Cheri Schoenfish as state government’s first Chief People Officer (CPO), seeking to build upon a culture of high-performing, citizen-focused team members and transform and unify human resources practices.

Schoenfish is taking a one-year civic leave of absence from her current position as Microsoft’s director of global talent management to fill the CPO position, starting Oct. 9.

As CPO, Schoenfish will be the state’s workforce strategist and organizational development leader, with a focus on enhancing performance and productivity as she coaches and advises the governor’s leadership team. She also will spearhead a strategic initiative with the human resources team across cabinet agencies to facilitate a unified approach and spur innovation in processes involving recruitment, hiring, goal-setting and performance management, talent management, succession management, rewards systems, team member relations and related areas.

“A major theme of this administration is reinventing government, and that begins with a focus on people,” Burgum said. “Cheri’s broad business background and global expertise in talent management will be invaluable as she works with leadership on furthering their skills and employee development strategies. We must continue to invest in people to deliver the 21st century services and experiences our citizens expect.”

Schoenfish earned a bachelor of art’s degree in Business Administration with a math minor from Dickinson State University and worked for 14 years in training and human resources at Great Plains Software in Fargo. Since Microsoft acquired Great Plains in 2001, she has served in a variety of human resources leadership roles at the national and global levels. Her duties as CPO also will include leading the further development of the “Team North Dakota” culture.

“I’m thrilled to join the Burgum administration and look forward to building upon the existing culture to help team members and leaders reach their full potential for the benefit of all North Dakotans,” Schoenfish said.

A Fargo resident, Schoenfish currently serves on the board of the Plains Art Museum in Fargo and is a past board member of the Greater Fargo Moorhead Economic Development Corp and the Children’s Museum at Yunker Farm.