HRCI Champion Profile: Wellington Hepburn, MBA, SPHRi

Wellington Hepburn, MBA, SPHRi, is a distinguished global training and development leader with over 25 years of international business experience, including significant contributions in HR. Renowned for his expertise as a certified project manager and certified HR consultant, Hepburn has made impactful strides as past president of the Bahamas HR Society, a two-time book author, and a sought-after HR mentor, coach, and speaker on the global stage.  wellington


How has your HRCI certification impacted your HR career and what inspired you to pursue it? 

HRCI certification has impacted my career significantly. It has provided a strong base of knowledge for me to leverage, quite literally on a daily basis, as I advance the strategic objectives of the organizations I support. 

I was inspired to pursue the SPHRi certification in 2015, based on my thirst for constant professional development. I have a personal goal to learn a new body of knowledge every six (6) months, and when I saw the SPHRi content I felt the designation was worthwhile for me to earn. 


In your opinion, what is the most significant benefit of obtaining an HRCI certification and how has it helped you in your career? 

The most significant benefit is having knowledge to continue to add value to my organization. My career has been positively impacted because this knowledge has allowed me to give greater and more consistent value to the organizational stakeholders I support. 

As a seasoned HRCI certification holder, what advice would you give to those who are considering pursuing this certification? 

It might seem challenging at first but take the leap. It will be worth it in the end. Develop a detailed study plan and try your best to stick to it. Your success is dependent on your daily consistency in terms of studying. 


Who or what has been the biggest influence on your HR career and how have they helped shape your professional journey? 

Let’s focus on the “what.” The biggest “what” that has influenced my career is my genuine love for people. I feel that, in some respects, organizations have lost their genuine love for people. Instead of being human beings, in many scenarios, team members have been reduced to a name on a spreadsheet, an employee number or, even worse, a salary figure in a financial model. The biggest influence to my HR career currently is my genuine, long-lasting love, care, and concern for team members I interact with. To be in “Human Resources,” I strongly feel we first have to understand that we need to be HUMAN, and to be HUMAN means we must show care on a daily basis. 


Can you share any recent professional achievements or new developments in your HR career that you are particularly proud of? 

Yes! There are two recent professional achievements I am proud to share. Firstly, I am the program lead for a skill development Human Resources educational program in the Bahamas called the 40 Under 40 Challenge. My team of directors and I are developing a world-class, online, self-paced learning journey to boost the knowledge and capability of 40 young high-potential HR Leaders, all under the age of 40 in the Caribbean. The program has been incredibly well-received—we just want to give back to the HR community and this is one way we can. 

Secondly, I am working on my third published book, 4ward: Your Path to Personal Freedom. Based on my experience, a significant percentage of working professionals feel “stuck” in their jobs. I am writing this book to help them get "unstuck." The book will assist all individuals with taking charge of their careers. Instead of feeling “stuck” and disengaged, this book provides a four-step model to diagnose and understand the reason(s) behind their disengagement. The book will empower individuals to take charge of their careers by developing practical strategies to change their work circumstances and encourage greater work satisfaction. 


What are your future career goals and how do you plan to continue growing and developing as an HR professional? 

This might sound corny, but my future aspirational goal is to encourage as many people as I can. I believe I was created to be an encourager of people, and I am happy using my talents and gifts in this way to make organizations and team members better. Whether it’s through succession planning programs, coaching sessions, learning and development initiatives, organizational development interventions (etc.), I just want to continue to encourage others to be the best version of themselves–both professionally and personally. My personal motto is “As We Grow Together,” and I hope to encourage as many people as I can in any future career aspirations. 


Lifelong learning is critical in the HR field as the modern workplace is continually changing. How does HRCI recertification play a role in ensuring you stay relevant and impactful in your career? 

The words that come to my mind is “relevant” and “innovative.” The best-practice content provided through HRCI enables me to remain relevant in the HR community and up-to-date with my knowledge. Further, it allows me to be innovative with the design of my Human Resources solutions to service my business stakeholders. 


Looking ahead, what do you see as the biggest challenges and opportunities facing the HR industry in the coming years? 

As HR practitioners, we have a unique and crucial role in influencing the long-term success of our organizations. Some of the more impactful areas we can add value include:  

  • Creating proactive data-driven cultures that understand the value of people data 

  • Enhancing the employee experience and identifying unique ways to drive deeper innovation and "intrapreneurship"  

  • Developing leaders, succession plans, and measuring overall leadership effectiveness  

  • Managing organizational change and environmental complexities to promote business agility and change resilience within team members  

  • Understanding the increasing need for talent mobility and the development of employees that are more "fungible" within our organizations