SHRM Emerging Professional Champions: Alexandra Cafferty, SHRM-CP

Andrew Deichler By Andrew Deichler July 1, 2021
SHRM Emerging Professional Champions: Alexandra Cafferty, SHRM-CP

​As part of an effort to recognize the next generation of human resource leaders, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is naming students, alumni and others who work on behalf of emerging professionals as SHRM Emerging Professional Champions. This week, we're looking at Alexandra Cafferty, SHRM-CP, human resource specialist at Alliant and recent graduate of Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn.

Sometimes it's best to test something out before deciding if it's right for you. Alexandra Cafferty gave HR a test run and found that it was the perfect career for her.

While earning her bachelor's in psychology at Eastern Connecticut State University in Willimantic, Conn., Cafferty began to wonder if HR might be a better fit. After graduating, she enrolled in a course at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Conn., that enabled her to earn a Human Resources Professional Certificate.

"I figured before I spend a ton of money on grad school, let me just see if this is something that I really want to pursue," she said. "Once I did that, I completely fell in love with the human resources field.  I knew 100 percent that this is my passion. This is what I want to do for the rest of my career."

Shortly after earning the certificate, Cafferty saw a poster advertising Sacred Heart University's strategic human resource management program and decided to visit the campus and meet some of the professors. "I just fell in love with the campus and the program itself," Cafferty said.

Sacred Heart uses a tri-modal delivery system for classes, meaning that students are able to attend either in person through a livestream online or on demand at any time, since the classes are taped. That flexibility appealed to Cafferty, who lived about 40 minutes from campus.

Hitting the ground running, Cafferty joined her SHRM student chapter in her first year and was named vice president. She became president of the chapter in her second year. She also joined the Graduate Student Advisory Committee at Sacred Heart, and in 2019, she landed her current job as a human resource specialist at Alliant, a provider of audience-based marketing services in Brewster, N.Y. Last year, she joined the Southern Connecticut Chapter of SHRM Board of Directors.
2021 has been a very busy year for Cafferty. In April, she was part of a team of Sacred Heart University graduate students who competed in the Tri-State SHRM Student Case Competition and ranked first in the graduate division. She was also inducted into Beta Gamma Sigma as a member of the International Business Honor Society and received the Award of Excellence in Human Resource Management from the Southern Connecticut Chapter of SHRM, and the Dean's Leadership Award from Sacred Heart. 

She earned her SHRM-CP in February and graduated in May 2021. Beginning this fall, Cafferty will  attend Cornell University for its Employee Relations and Investigations Certificate program. "There's a lot going on, but I'm loving every second of it," she said.
Cafferty advises recent college graduates and current grad students to take the SHRM-CP exam as soon as they can. "I've been advocating that everyone in my class take the SHRM-CP exam now, especially before we graduate," she said. "All that knowledge is so fresh in your mind, and you can pass it with flying colors."

She also encourages any HR students to join their SHRM student chapters. Joining SHRM as a student is affordable, and it offers prospective HR professionals many resources and opportunities as they plan their careers. 

"Get the student membership now while you're still a student and you can get great pricing," she said. "SHRM membership has truly helped to provide me with the essential skills, knowledge and tools to be the most effective human resources professional and student chapter leader that I can be."

Do you know an outstanding SHRM student leader? How about a former SHRM student member who is achieving great success professionally? Or maybe a SHRM professional member, student chapter advisor or professional chapter that is advancing student membership and emerging professional programming? Nominate a member as a SHRM Emerging Professional Champion today.

[Students, would you like to learn more about the HR profession? Join us at the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo 2021, taking place Sept. 9-12 in Las Vegas and virtually.] 



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