Alumni Spotlight: Shelly Guenther, Director of Human Resources
February 4, 2021
Shelly Guenther, Director of Human Resources at DENTCO.
Welcome to Baker College’s Spotlight feature, a series of brief interviews with notable BC students, faculty and alumni who are making news and reaching new heights in their educational and professional pursuits.
This edition of Spotlight features Shelly Guenther, who earned a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration/Human Resources, with a minor in Marketing, from Baker College in 2011. Guenther was recently named Director of Human Resources at DENTCO. Here we learn more about Shelly and her professional path and passions.
Baker College (BC): We’re glad to talk with you today, Shelly. We’d like to start by asking you why you chose Baker College for your educational pursuits?
Shelly Guenther (SG): At the time, I chose Baker College for the convenience of its fully online classes. Many colleges were doing some online classes, but you still had to physically go to campus for at least some aspects of those programs. I was able to complete Baker’s degree program completely online.
BC: You are currently the Director of Human Resources at DENTCO. Tell us what first drove you to pursue a career in HR?
SG: I finished my degree later than most…I was about 35(ish)? I just knew that HR was something that I would love. I love to get to know people, help where I can, be part of a bigger picture and affect change. I really saw those opportunities in HR.
BC: That’s fantastic. What can you tell us about how you remain active in/connected to your professional development in the field of HR?
SG: I hold the SHRM–CP (Society for Human Resource Management–Certified Professional) certification, am a member of the GLSHRM chapter (Greater Lansing Society for Human Resource Management) and am active in a Lansing-based HR group that meets monthly to discuss new ideas and challenges. I also regularly attend TONS of webinars and read bunches of articles to stay on top of important changes in the industry.
BC: Looking back, what were your career goals when you enrolled at BC? How do they compare to where you are today?
SG: I had started my degree several years prior to actually graduating, for general business. As life changed, there were times when I couldn’t take classes. I had a small business, a family and a home to focus on, but I would always get back at it when I could. It took me a long time to actually finish my degree. For me, this wasn’t necessarily a bad thing…for some of us, we are better equipped at a more mature age to make decisions about what we want to do, “for the rest of our lives,” after having some real-life experiences. I think I just knew myself better at that point. I ended up deciding to focus on HR because I felt that it would be more personally satisfying for me. And it is! I am happy to say that having a director role with an amazing company is what I always strived for and worked toward.
BC: Congratulations on achieving your goals! Tell our readers, what do you like best about your job/career path? What do you find most challenging?
SG: What I like best is the fact that my day is never the same…things change quickly, and there are a variety of tasks and projects on a daily basis. I LOVE that! My career path is exactly what I needed it to be. Baker College was flexible and helpful…I was not a, “traditional” student, and Baker really made it so I could still reach my goals. Also, I love a challenge! The most challenging part of HR is creating processes and procedures from nothing. I once worked for a company that, when I started, had 400+ team members and had never had a trained HR professional. It was great to start from the basics and build the HR practices that were needed.
BC: How do you feel your time at/degree from Baker College has contributed to your professional successes?
SG: As I mentioned, Baker allowed me the flexibility I needed to graduate. I started with in-person classes at the Owosso campus, and ultimately attended classes online. There were times I had to stop taking classes, and times I took 20 credit hours in a semester. I also really enjoyed that Baker required an internship, and I was lucky enough to complete mine at the MEA (Michigan Education Association). This gave me some real “HR world” experience.
BC: Shelly, what best piece of advice would you share with current college students?
SG: Life doesn’t always go as planned, but with diligence and hard work, you can do anything you put your mind to.
BC: Thanks for all of your insights today. One final question…what would you want others to know about Baker College?
SG: Everyone is there to help, and willing to work with you to achieve your goals. Baker has some great resources…use them!