Tribute to Mike Deblieux, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, PHRca

Mike Deblieux, SHRM-SCP, SPHR, PHRca 

Mike Deblieux, former President of PIHRA and valued PIHRA member, passed away on November 17th, 2022, surrounded by his loved ones. Mike’s family shared that he was at peace with his cancer diagnosis being a part of his life journey. It’s clear this component of his life was never one to hold him back on gaining and sharing life’s experiences.


Mike started his distinguished HR career in 1971 as a Personnel Trainee. In the 1980’s, he began teaching for the Human Resources Certificate program at UCI Extension. Many took his class and gained valuable knowledge from Mike that they would carry on with them for life. PIHRA member and one of his past students, Punam Kalra states that “Because of Mike’s teachings and the way he carried each lesson with humbleness, I became and stayed a humble HR Leader.” Since then, he earned HR certifications through HRCI and SHRM, wrote books and taught HR programs such as Performance Management – Creating Opportunities for Success, Documentation and investigations, and his most recent program, The HR Retort: Document, Document, Document. Mike’s passion for educating others ran deep as he continued teaching SHRM courses, including SHRM’s California Certification among others, to continue to share his knowledge as an integral member of the HR community.


To say he has been an active volunteer leader, trainer, and speaker with Professionals In Human Resources Association (PIHRA) is an understatement. The majority of his PIHRA volunteer leadership has been focused in the Orange County area. This did not limit his ability to make an impact on the entire association for many years, continuing until he was elected as the President of the PIHRA Board of Directors in 2002.



His work ethic can only be characterized as unshakable. Mike was the author of seven popular books on topics such as performance evaluation, corrective action, sexual harassment, and legal issues for managers. He published his blog, The Deblieux Report (, for many years. This forum provided thought leadership on topics focusing on employee productivity, leadership, and team building. Mike has been recognized for his contributions to workplace leadership in many ways, receiving the PIHRA’s HR Excellence Award; The University of California Irvine Extension Distinguished Instructor Award; and The American Management Association Blue Ribbon Speaker designation. As an avid speaker at PIHRA and many other engagements, there are only positive words to describe his impact in the HR space and beyond. In the words of PIHRA member, Ron Herrera, “It was a pleasure to watch Mike at his speaking engagements, not only to see him get up there and do his act to perfection, but to see all these people who admire him, come out having these ‘aha’ moments through Mike’s content. Mike is the gold standard of dignity and impact.”


Mike’s passion for helping and mentoring others set him apart from most. PIHRA members throughout Southern California credit him for his willingness to mentor and guide them in their HR career and for being an authentic and generous spirit within the Southern California HR Community. PIHRA retired member, Carol Box, shared how she saw “Mike Deblieux as a treasure to PIHRA, to his friends, family, and anyone who gets to know him.”


Throughout the last year, Mike noted how grateful he was for a life spent with family, friends, and a great career. He often said he achieved more than he thought he could, and we would all agree he did above and beyond that. For all of us that were able to know and appreciate all that Mike was as an individual, mentor and leader ­—we see the impact he has made on so many lives. As Kathie Nirschel shared during his virtual appreciation ceremony, “We are just a fraction of the people whose lives he’s impacted and touched in his life.”


Mike is survived by his wife Joan Deblieux, daughters: Danielle McConnell, Nicole Martin, Son-in laws: Brian McConnell; Joseph Martin and grand children — Logan McConnell and Megan McConnell.

As per Mike’s desire, his family will conduct a private memorial service on Friday, December 2nd, 2022. In honor of Mike’s passing, his family will make a generous donation of up to $2,000 to match a new PIHRA Foundation scholarship founded in his name to help cover the costs of those applying to the SHRM-CP and SHRM-SCP exams. If you wish to make a memorial contribution, please make it to the PIHRA Foundation via the link provided here.*


*For all who wish to donate, please note that all donations are tax-deductible. PIHRA will be transferring all funds received to the PIHRA Foundation, a 501(c)3 organization.

Guest Contributor