Bob Aubrey is a leading personality in the field of human development in the workplace. He has recently led advocacy for human development in ASEAN where he has a strong social entrepreneurship background backed by valuable experience as a consultant. As a global citizen has worked in twenty-five countries across six continents during his career and lived in the US, Europe and Asia.
The newly created ASEAN human development organization (ADHO) was founded by Bob Aubrey in 2018. This is a major milestone in his career and a valuable contribution to the growing shift from human resources to human development as a function in companies. Bob Aubrey continues to strive in the field and influence people through writing, with 12 books published during his career. He has always believed in the power of lifelong personal development and its positive impacts on society as well as the economy.
The ground-level achievements that promise an influential future
Bob Aubrey was born in 1948 on a farm in Iowa. With the death of his father, his mother moved the family to California where he graduated from Bishop Alemany High School. He earned his Bachelor’s degree at the University of California in philosophy and psychology. Bob was always intrigued by how people develop their potential and he decided to continue his studies in Europe. So, he moved to France and completed his Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Paris. After graduation, he decided that he could best put what he had learned into practice in the area of human development in business and management. As a consultant he created learning strategies for companies and in 1985 designed Apple’s first corporate university outside the USA. As a lifelong learner, he completed his MBA degree at the age of 52 with the Neoma Management School which is situated in Reims.
Entrepreneurship applies to everyone- be the navigator of your own journey
Bob Aubrey has written about the journey of human development at the individual level. He called it “self-entrepreneurship” and recommended exposure to different cultures and working experiences and having the courage to explore deep learning through exploration. He encouraged his readers to be the navigator of their own journey. Bob applied his advice to himself by exploring various fields and working in different sectors: business, education and associations. He explored different roles such as educator, mentor, author and entrepreneur. At the age of 52, he moved to China and taught at top universities in Beijing where he created the first personal development courses for students.
Bob started his entrepreneurial journey by establishing Metizo, a company specialized in personal development programs for universities and companies. He was proud of creating the first certification programs for personal development and established the Personal Enterprise Plan as a tool for career development used by companies. He gradually expanded his company’s operations with offices in France, Singapore, and China. He then merged with Mazar Consulting’s in 2011 and became global head of its people development consulting practice.
Social entrepreneur: creating the- ASEAN Human Development Organization
Bob Aubrey aspires to make human development practical in the workplace and as a corporate function. Working with European multinationals, he created the HR committee at Singapore’s European Chamber of Commerce and became its chairman in 2015, changing the name to human development committee in 2020. As a supporter of “better work and working lives” mission at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development he became a chartered fellow (FCIPD) in 2016. This led to his major initiative as a social entrepreneur. Why not create a human development organization for the fast-growing region of Asia Pacific?
In 2018 Bob Aubrey went around to HR associations in the ASEAN countries to see if they were willing to set up a regional organization. The ASEAN Human Development Organization (AHDO) was set up with 5 founding countries: Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia and Myanmar at the first summit in Vietnam in October 2018. Since he was committed to leadership of AHDO in the hands of ASEAN countries, he became its strategic advisor and designed the organizations human development certification for professionals.
Bob Aubrey believes in self-determination for ASEAN as a region and he aspires to developing not only professionals but also thought leaders who develop ASEAN’s unique quality of a highly diverse region. He created a partnership for publishing books on human development in ASEAN with McGraw Hill, writing the first book in the series on leading human development in the region. He also was lead editor for white papers on specific human development needs in the region.
What next for Bob Aubrey?
Now in his seventies, Bob Aubrey is at the peak of his career. Ideas in his books such as Key Development Indicators for human development in companies have become mainstream. He is senior advisor for ASEAN’s largest leadership accelerator program at the Indonesian State-Owned Company, Pertamina, which won the EFMD 2020 gold award for talent development. This is the first leadership development program at an Indonesian company to win an international award.
Bob plans to continue consulting and writing into his eighties. His most recent book, Human Development Careers, will be published by McGraw Hill in November.