Event Planner Strengthens Transition to HR Career with Help of SDSU Professional Certificate

Shanelle Roesler

Shanelle Roesler

With a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Purdue University, Shanelle Roesler was pursuing a career in event planning in the Bay Area, until she had an epiphany.

“I realized in the summer of 2015 that event planning wasn’t my passion, so once all of my contracted events were finished, I moved to San Diego to start fresh,” said Roesler. “The first job I found was an executive assistant position to the chief culture officer, and my boss thought it was a good idea for me to take classes in HR to better understand the department I was working in. Thus, I just kind of fell into HR and then fell in love with it. Now, I’m working as an HR generalist at PC Housing in Miramar and love what I do.”

Roesler went through the Professional Certificate in Human Resource Management program at SDSU’s College of Extended Studies, and answered some questions about her experience.

How did the program meet your expectations?
My goal was to learn as much as I could about the different facets of HR so that I could have a base knowledge and understanding of topics and projects that came up at work all the time. Before starting the program, I had zero HR experience, so it was really rewarding to be able to participate and share ideas with my work team. The program was invaluable in providing a foundation on which to stand, so it definitely met my expectations and the knowledge I wanted to walk away with. Most of my greater knowledge comes from my work experiences, so I use the program’s information as kind of a benchmark and way to check myself when I’m at work and going through different situations.

How did you find out about the program?
One of my HR co-workers was joining the program and I signed up with her so we could take the classes together. The former HR manager at the company we worked at had gone through the same program at SDSU years before us, so it just seemed natural we would do the same.

What do you think are the program’s key strengths?
The instructors were absolutely amazing and had so much experience and real-life scenarios to share with us. I found their stories to be inspiring and beyond helpful. They’ve just about seen everything and knew how to answer students’ questions if a scenario or situation came up. I was quite impressed. It’s important that we have instructors with vast HR knowledge to help prepare us for what we could and will be up against.

What’s an example of a real-life scenario an instructor shared?
Our instructor for Law 1 had a lot of great stories about employers who ended up with suits filed against them for various reasons. In most cases, the employer didn’t provide documentation of prior incidents or behavior that occurred, which landed them in some hot water with the EEOC, EDD, DFEH, etc. One of the absolute biggest lessons I learned during the course of these classes was to DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT, DOCUMENT! That was literally written several times in our Law 1 Powerpoints because providing consistent and factual documentation has or could have saved employers from going to court. It’s one of the worst feelings for an HR professional to have a suit filed against their company, so listening to what our instructor’s former clients did (such as blatant/ obvious discrimination and terminations based on emotion rather than supported facts) was painful. I never want to be in a situation where a suit is filed based on something I could have done to prevent it in the first place. This was a very sobering class.

How did the certificate impact your career?
When I applied for my current job as an HR generalist, I was seven months into the SDSU program and my boss told me she valued that I was taking courses to further my HR knowledge because it showed her that I was serious about what I wanted to do and she wanted someone who was passionate about HR. I had a boost of confidence when I ended the program, and a sense of satisfaction. As soon as my last class ended, I signed up for online PHR [Professional in Human Resources] prep classes and took the exam (and passed) after another five months of studying.