Student Spotlight | Sholonda Chipepo | #VUHRDStory
My quest to enroll in Villanova University’s online MS in Human Resources Development program began as a result of a human resources conference I attended in Tampa, Florida. One of the speakers by the name of Johnny C. Taylor motivated me to move from good to great. He was the President and CEO of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Co-Author of the book titled, The Trouble with HR: An insider’s Guide to Finding and Keeping the Best People. He eloquently expressed how great people make great organizations and really hammered home the importance of human resources professionals having the credentials to complement their passion.
That day, Wednesday, July 30, 2014, I sat there pondering my role as the Director of Human Resources for the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), reflecting on how my passion for making the workplace a better place helped me to transition from a solid career in information technology to the world of human resources. It was on this day I realized that if I really wanted to change the trajectory of my career path I needed to expand the depth of my human resources acumen. So, despite life’s constraints that often stifled my motivation to obtain an advanced degree, I resolved to obtain not only an advanced degree but a human resources certification, as well.
When I came across Villanova University in my research of different programs, I knew I had found the right school. Their online program presents cutting edge classes that covered the spectrum of the HR Profession. Their course starting time of 8:30pm allowed me to chauffer my daughters to their after school activities, prepare dinner, and complete errands before settling into evening coursework. I believe the main benefit for working professionals grinding out the workday was the benefit of not having to commute anywhere to attend class – just one less thing to do.
Over the past two years I have had a wonderful experience with Villanova. The professors really know how to breathe life into the subject matter as a result of having several years of industry experience. Although the coursework was challenging, the faculty, classmates and professors made it all worth while.
The amount of work and time invested in the pursuit of my degree has been instrumental in my promotion to VP of Organizational Development for the Raritan Bay Area YMCA. I provide strategic oversight and execution in a myriad of areas including employee compensation, recruitment, employee relations, HR policies, leadership development, membership, compliance and communications. I wholeheartedly believe that my decision to pursue an advanced degree at Villanova University has solidified me as a true Human Resources professional.