Father-Son SHRM Certification Success

By Thomas Mobley, SHRM-SCP August 18, 2022
student studying

​HR often is a family affair. In the Mobley family, we have been running with this profession since it was led by the American Society for Personnel Administration (ASPA), through a name change to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and the current transformation of HR into an essential component of business and organizations worldwide. 

Mentors and Role Models

When I attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, I was blessed to have a fantastic faculty advisor and professor of personnel administration, Dr. Sandra Jennings. She made it a point to encourage her students to attend local, county and metro-area chapter meetings of ASPA, as well as the state conference. She also hosted study sessions as students prepared to take our first professional certification exam in 1986, which I passed. 

Dr. Jennings is the one who made sure the HR seed was firmly planted in me and who ensured that I would have the courage to continue my education. I did so, obtaining my master's degree in labor-employment relations, after which I took the next level of HR certification exam in 1991. Once again, I passed.

The Greater Cincinnati HR Association (GCHRA) awarded me a certification scholarship, and I still remember the day the committee chair presented it to me. I asked her what I needed to do going forward. Her answer: "When you pass your test, share your knowledge with others."

That is exactly what I have done since then. As a college professor teaching undergraduate and graduate courses at four different universities, I have consistently promoted HR certification. Many of my students have become HR-certified.

As an HR consultant, I also teach my own certification exam prep courses. Those who have prepared with me have an average pass rate of 89 percent; those to whom I have awarded scholarships have a 100 percent pass rate on the SHRM-CP exam. I hope the GCHRA committee chair who offered me her advice would be proud.

Leadership Leads to Opportunities

Over the years, I have been privileged to hold a variety of SHRM leadership positions. I value my membership and encourage others to become active in the organization. From my start as a student chapter president, my service has included serving as a chapter treasurer and president, state council director, and regional representative to a national advisory committee. I have attended more SHRM leadership, state and national conferences than I can count!

These roles have given me a unique opportunity to share the HR profession with two of my three children. Initially, they traveled with me to conferences, and eventually, they co-presented with me at the Ohio HR Conference. My daughter Cori followed a different path and is now studying to be a pastor. My son Seth twice attended the SHRM Annual Conference & Expo with me as a college student.

Seth obtained his first HR internship after graduating from high school. He worked as a recruiter for one of my former graduate students, the director of HR for a high-tech startup company in Cincinnati.

My Son, the HR Professional 

One of the things that impresses me about Seth is that he is a big-picture thinker who likes to leave his options open. In his first year of college, he was a musical theater major. By year two, he was majoring in engineering and business on a path to become a pilot.

As an upperclassman, Seth pivoted again, this time to HR. He wanted to earn his degree and pursue his dreams in aviation, but with the COVID-19 pandemic, no one knew how long the airline industry would be affected. He took courses in employment law, training and development, staffing and leadership, and other relevant areas.
This past year, Seth interned for a trucking company, where he recruited mechanics and commercial drivers, partnering with other businesses and organizations to provide them with solutions to their day-to-day challenges. Back in the classroom, he has been able to apply what he learned on the job to his studies.

My Son, the SHRM-Certified Professional 

This past winter, I was excited to learn that Seth wanted to sit for his SHRM-CP exam. He joined my SHRM certification exam prep course in January 2022 along with about 30 other candidates from around the country.

We both felt confident that with Seth's prior coursework and experience in HR, plus dedicated study time and drilling practice questions, he would have a good chance at passing the exam. Our confidence was boosted when we learned that three students from my prior prep class had all passed their SHRM-CP exams.

The prep course ended in March, Seth's semester ended in April and by summer, his studying kicked into high gear. He took the test in July 2022, and we were ecstatic to recently learn that he passed! This fall, he will finish up his last three college classes.

We look forward to what the future holds for both of us.

Seth is working as an HR consultant at a security company, and he will also be working with me and my team to refresh some of my upcoming HR prep courses. And we are thrilled to be presenting together for the second time at the Ohio HR Conference this fall.

The sky's the limit for this father and son—not least because Seth Mobley, SHRM-CP, also is working on obtaining his flight instructor certificate.

Thomas Mobley, SHRM-SCP, is an HR professor and the owner of Mobley HR Consulting in Hamilton, Ohio.



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