Fatherhood Ignites Drive to Succeed

By Kathy Gurchiek Jun 23, 2015
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Jon DeArmond

​Jon DeArmond

Jon DeArmond couldn’t get here fast enough.

“I put my itinerary together as soon as I got my login code” for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) 2015 Annual Conference & Exposition, said the HR generalist for the State of Indiana.

DeArmond is a first-time attendee, one of five recipients of a new scholarship the SHRM Foundation awarded in 2015. The nearly $2,500 scholarship enables HR professionals who have been unable to experience the Annual Conference because of a lack of financial support to attend. It comes with full-conference registration, four nights’ housing at a conference hotel and a $500 travel stipend.

DeArmond’s road to HR began after he turned his life around. He’d been a poor high school student and dropped out of college after one year.

“I didn’t have a shred of drive in me at that time. I wound up bouncing around service industry jobs and found myself a shift manager at a local diner,” he wrote in his scholarship application. He was 26, and his girlfriend was pregnant.

“One day I woke up and realized I would be stuck in restaurant management for the rest of my life if I didn’t make a change,” he wrote.

Motivated by the impending birth of his daughter, Lylah, he returned to school to work on the business degree he’d started seven years earlier. DeArmond attended school during the day, delivered pizza in the evenings and studied late into the night.

He earned his online associate degree at Ivy Tech Community College, graduating cum laude in 2011. He earned his bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in HR and management from the Indiana University Kelly School of Business in December 2013. At IU, he made the dean’s list in 2012 and graduated with a 3.5 grade point average.

In January 2014, DeArmond landed a job with the Indiana state government, where he had interned for three months, in the Department of Natural Resources.

“I was always interested in business,” he told SHRM Conference Today. “The best resource a company or organization can have is the people—and they are also the most complicated.”

DeArmond finds training the most rewarding aspect of his job and says he’d like to earn his SHRM certification within the next year. Other goals include starting work on a master’s degree in business in 2016 with an eye toward becoming an HR manager and, eventually, an HR director.

Before he realizes those goals, though, “I need to further develop my body of knowledge,” he said in his scholarship application. In the meantime, he is looking forward to meeting other HR professionals at the conference.

Kathy Gurchiek is the associate editor at HR News.

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