SHRM Mission, Vision and History

    Mission – (Why we exist)

    SHRM is the global HR professional organization that exists to:

    Build and sustain partnerships with human resource professionals, media, governments, non-governmental organizations, businesses and academic institutions to address people management challenges that influence the effectiveness and sustainability of their organizations and communities.

    Provide a community for human resource professionals, media, governments, non-governmental organizations, businesses and academic institutions to share expertise and create innovative solutions on people management issues.

    Proactively provide thought leadership, education and research to human resource professionals, media, governments, non-governmental organizations, businesses and academic institutions.

    Serve as an advocate to ensure that policy makers, law makers and regulators are aware of key people concerns facing organizations and the human resource profession.

    Vision – (What we want to be)

    SHRM will be a globally recognized authority whose voice is heard on the most pressing people management issues of the day – now and in the future.


    The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), formerly called the American Society for Personnel Administration (ASPA), was founded in 1948 by a group of just 28 individuals. These founding members anticipated the need for a national organization to represent the personnel profession. Their goal was to provide continued professional development opportunities, promote national networking, and to generally advance the interests of a profession they recognized as being in transition. The Society's first annual conference, which was held in Cleveland, received a total of 67 attendees and generated a net profit of $72.86.

    Until 1964, ASPA was strictly a volunteer organization with no permanent facilities or staff. The first Executive Director, Leonard Brice, was hired in 1964 and it was decided that the headquarters would be located in his community of Berea, Ohio. At that time there were 3,152 members and five staff members.

    The organization remained headquartered in Ohio until 1984 when, under the leadership of President & COO Ron Pilenzo, SPHR, it moved its headquarters to Alexandria, VA. Seven staff transferred with the organization and 32 new staff came on board to meet the needs of more than 35,000 members. In 1989, the organization's name was changed from the American Society for Personnel Administration (ASPA) to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to reflect its broadened scope and influence in business and political worlds internationally.

    In 1990, after 10 years with the Society, President Ron Pilenzo, SPHR, retired and Mike Losey, SPHR, CAE was selected as the new President & CEO. In 1997, to accommodate its continuously growing membership and staff, the Society moved to its current Alexandria headquarters at 1800 Duke Street. By 1998, during its 50th Anniversary, SHRM celebrated a milestone of more than 90,000 professional and student members worldwide. In May of 2001, the Society celebrated another growth achievement with the opening of a second building adjacent to its Duke Street office. This new building commemorated the formation of the SHRM campus.

    Today, SHRM includes a global membership of more than 250,000. The Society has members in 140 countries and offices in India and China.

    With a staff of more than 350, there are more than 30 specialized departments within SHRM to serve the needs of HR professionals by providing the most essential and comprehensive set of resources available. As an influential voice, SHRM is committed to advancing the human resource profession to ensure that HR is an essential and effective partner in developing and executing organizational strategy.