Mother-Daughter Duo – Official SHRM Certified Professionals!


From the start of my human resources career, one of my biggest goals was to have SHRM-SCP behind my name.

I have always been one to plan and weigh the pros and cons so in mid-2020 when I was about six months shy of being eligible to sit for the SHRM-SCP, I started to seriously research prep courses, study material, and overall costs. Once I had an idea of the path I wanted to take I consulted with my mother, who is also an HR professional, to encourage her to go through this process with me. Off the bat, it was motivating to be going into this together.

Fast forward to September 2020, we received our study material and started our 12-week remote SHRM prep course. These three-hour evening classes were mentally draining and at times made us feel ill-equipped, so we utilized SHRM’s Online Learning System to re-enforce covered material. Fast forward to the end of the prep class, we have now signed up to take our exams on the same day, January 18, 2021. The sign-up confirmation came through and reality hit; we had a lot of work ahead of us.

As the prep class ended and we transitioned to 100 percent self-study, the SmartPath study materials through SHRM’s Online Learning System took over our lives. I must be honest; my mother spent more time on her SmartPath than I did. This alone was discouraging for my own success but as my mother would say, this was my own doing.

With approximately two weeks before our exam date, we spent multiple hours several days a week collaborating on the study material. The Saturday prior, we completed the 160-question practice exam while discussing the questions and the rationale behind any inconsistencies in our answers. Our intention at the end was to review the answers like we did in the pre-test and post-tests only to find out we overlooked the part of the directions that stated, ‘no answer or rationale will be provided for the questions on the practice exam’…oops! After spending the full allocated time on the practice exam, we got lower than 200. Being so close to our exam date, this was extremely disappointing.

Fast forward to exam day, we arrived at the Prometric Exam Center with as much positive thoughts as possible despite the enormous amount of nerves. Due to being home throughout the pandemic, we both felt remote option would not be conducive for such an important exam that required our full attention. The exam itself was mentally exhausting and if we could provide any advice, we would recommend the following:

  • Utilize all resources possible. We took full advantage of SHRM’s E-Learning System as well as LinkedIn Learning’s SHRM exam prep courses.
  • Join a study group.
  • Take multiple practice exams. We felt the practice exams prepared us mentally for the length and content of the actual exam.
  • Know your definitions. Knowing important definitions helped us cross out unlikely answers.
  • Use the cross out function! This is a great tool to eliminate the ‘that’s definitely not the answer’ options.
  • Dress comfortably and for any indoor temperature. We both wore a sweatshirt in case it was chilly but had the ability to remove it if we got too warm.
  • Read each question carefully to determine what is really being asked. Look for key words!
  • Just BREATHE!

My mother and I have proudly earned our badges! I can officially add SHRM-SCP behind my name and my mother can add SHRM-CP behind hers! Never thinking our professional careers would have coincided with one another, we are grateful to have had the opportunity to support each other through this emotional process.  


Gail Bolger, SHRM-CP: Beginning my HR career back in 1997, I worked for several temporary positions before working for a Pharma company for over a year. After receiving my MBA in Human Resource Management I left to pursue the education field only to find myself back in the HR field. Currently, I work full time in the HR field as well as the Education field. In July of 2020, I started the SHRM-CP process as part of my professional development plan.

Stefani Bolger, SHRM-SCP: Over 5 years ago, I started my first human resources position and shortly after graduated from The University of Phoenix - Online with my BSBA and a certification in Human Resource Management. Currently, I work as a Human Resources Generalist where I focus on recruiting, LOA, payroll, HRIS management, and benefit administration among other HR duties. 

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