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Welcome to Chicago SHRM – Your Local Connection to SHRM!

Chicago SHRM was founded in 1948 by 28 Chicago area “personnel” professionals. On October 5, 1954, the small group joined the American Society of Personnel Administration (ASPA) – now called the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM). ASPA’s charter was to provide continued professional development opportunities, promote national networking and advance the interests of a profession the founders recognized as being in transition.  

How far the national organization has come is illustrated by the number of attendees who came to that first annual ASPA conference in Cleveland, Ohio: 67 attendees.  In contrast, the 2014 annual conference saw over 15,000 attendees from 78 countries. In 1989, ASPA became SHRM to reflect its broadened scope and influence in business and politics at both a local and international level.  Today, SHRM has over 250,000 members in 140 countries. 

While the national organization was growing, so, too, was the Chicago Chapter of ASPA. One of the former presidents, Leo Katz, shared that membership was only 30-40 people when he joined in 1963. Gerry Belko, president in 1983-4, noted that the Chicago Chapter of ASPA numbered about 100 people when he became president, but grew rapidly after Chicago quite successfully hosted the ASPA Convention that year. 

Jumping forward to 1989, the Chicago chapter was growing, even as “HR was then known as Personnel and primarily concerned with administration, hiring, discipline, firing, personnel records, communication and rules,” shared then-president Lewis Jacobson.  “At the local level, we changed our name to Society of Resource Professionals (SHRP), which reflected our desire to be more inclusive and reflecting the trend that more HR professionals would in the future be employed in vendor firms as more HR administration becomes outsourced,” said Lewis Jacobson. 

In 2012, the Society of Resource Professionals changed its name to Chicago SHRM, to better reflect its evolving identity and better align with the national organization.

From its beginnings in 1948 to only 28 members, Chicago SHRM has grown into a thriving organization of nearly 1,000 members today.  Through dozens of educational programs and diverse development opportunities, everything we do is guided by our credo, “Igniting Business, Elevating Careers, Building Community.”