Our Paths Diverge


It’s one thing to do what you must do in order to make a living and have financial security. It’s very rare that every one of us agrees with every decision and initiative that our employers undertake, for instance. 99% of us must rely on our wages for security and survival, so these are tough issues we must grapple with every day in order to put a roof over our heads and those of our family members, make sure there is food on the table, and keep life moving in a safe and secure way. If we’re lucky, we may even have a little bit left over to save for retirement, go on a family vacation, or help our kids pay for college.

When an organization we voluntarily affiliate with makes decisions we don’t agree with, it’s a different analysis. I have volunteered hundreds of hours and used my personal resources and time to further the brand, initiatives and work of SHRM in the past two years. I have felt a strong sense of commitment and purpose, and gained not only many great insights and met amazing people, but also experienced a sense of reward for giving back and participating fully with a group that shared my values and was aligned with what I wanted our profession to accomplish.

While I respect and care for many of the great volunteers and employees of SHRM that I have worked with over the past couple of years, I firmly reject the current direction of SHRM. I don’t accept their actions in affiliating with the current administration as appropriate or aligned with the values and integrity that HR must maintain in order to be credible and successful. I first made my very clear opinion known to SHRM in March of 2018. The policy, operational partnership and branding direction has continued to further diverge (at an accelerated rate) from my personal values and those of my company.

I haven’t totally abandoned SHRM. But I certainly don’t intend my time, money and advocacy efforts to be utilized toward activities inconsistent with my values. So, for the time being, I will be in Colorado, continuing to engage in volunteer activities that support my local chapter and other local and national groups. This year, my commitment is strong to use my time, resources and expertise toward advancing justice and respect for all people.

So, for now, our paths diverge. Even though we won’t be walking together, SHRM, I wish you well.


Kelly Marinelli

Photo by Wonderlane on Foter.com / CC BY

Kelly Marinelli