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The new business context is prompting management to take a greater interest in the utilization of their organizations human resources. The growing role of a human resources (HR) executive is becoming more of a strategy-oriented business partner of the organizations top managers. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study was to evaluate whether colleges and universities, business organizations, and HR executives are preparing HR executives with the proper strategic and business skills needed to succeed in the 21st century. The study also examines the perceptions of HR executives as they relate to membership in professional HR organizations and the credibility of the HR professional certification. The findings revealed that the positive perceptions of HR professionals are improving in the educational institutions and business organizations. Colleges and universities, especially at the graduate level, are better preparing prospective HR professionals to become strategic partners within organizations by enhancing their business acumen and strategic management skills during the educational process. Organizations are also becoming more proactive in providing quality development and training in leadership, strategic management, and business acumen for the executive level HR professionals. Also, HR professionals are also becoming more involved in their own self-development through participation in professional HR organizations and the acquiring of professional HR certifications. However, HR professionals assert that their professional HR organizations can become more proactive in developing strategic management and leadership training for upper level HR professionals. This study is significant because it examined a comprehensive approach to HR development rather than focusing on one specific developmental activity.