Althea M Purnell, Ph.D.'s beginnings are as a Creole, native, quadroon, in New Orleans Louisiana. The daughter of an original Dixieland Jazz pianist Creole man (Alton John Purnell) and a magnificent Creole beauty (Esther V. Severin Purnell) during Jim Crow times in the most color-conscious place in the world. Here, acceptance as a dream for those darker than a brown paper bag. This is literal. We had brown paper bag parties. At the door of the party, a bag was held against the face or arm for comparison. I would make it in but, I had a buddy that would get turned away. I would leave with her.
Soc Au' Lait - "Wow!" "Ouch!" Too dark-skinned to be considered privileged; hair too kinky to be straight, yet too straight to be nappy; pointed nose and no spaced teeth. The typical story of, "Nobody wants the Mulatto child”. Whites don't want us; blacks resent us. We just sit on the fence waiting to fall off, and see who's yard we fall into." My Mommie still loved me!
On a full academic scholarship to Boston College, I found pride in my skin color and learned so much about my own kind. It was a challenge washing my hair in beer and vinegar, then tying portions in strips of brown paper, and standing in a steamy bathroom but, I got my hair into an afro! Such fun. But my Creole ways made for a clashing Cultural difference. My speech, my dress, my "eagle nose", all were laughable. It was that Mulatto fence again and Creole to boot.
The rich whites protest not wanting the poor whites; Cubans wanted white and not Hispanic; Puerto Ricans, Africans, Dominicans, Capeverdians...Ooh La La! I just wanted us all to accept each; our differences. Ah. Pas conne" -I don't know!
Why did I think Marines didn't cry? Because they stood strong to protect others. In that outstanding uniform they looked the same. It was a dream, so I reached for it. As were many, I was deceived by my recruiter sending me in for preparation training to help me get into physical shape before the next Officer Candidate School class was to start. He lied. He signed me up Enlisted instead of Officer (about half pay less and far down to the bottom of the authority chain). I was deceived not pas conne -not stupid. In the US Marine Corps, I found all sorts of skin colors, speech, and beliefs. Frankly, just being a "woman", a "woman of color" and a "person of color" brought few other choice names providing entirely new fences to fall from. Blesse'-hurt. Blesse' mais fascine'-Hurt but fascinated.
In the Chow Hall, I sat across from a tall, stocky, black man. He had smooth very black skin and seemed like a huge mass of black power. I stared at him and instant knew what white people feared. He was beautiful! The south, college, the military, the world are systems I couldn't beat but it was time for people to learn about differences and for me to speak out.
Over 30 years as a high-stakes Human Resources Executive; Independent Consultant; Business Coach and Wellness Business Recruiter focusing on helping individuals go from where they are, to where they want themselves to be; in their company or in their own business.
● 30+ year’s strategic course & direction of people functions
● 20 years applying an uncommon ability to turn around a troubled companies and instituting a new corporate culture
●21 years expertise in Equal Employment Opportunity & Implicit Social Cognition/Bias plus a doctoral thesis on the same topic
●28 years enhancing Employee Relations
●28 years Developing and Training executives and leaders
●30 years managing multiple sites
●35+ years recruiting and onboarding IT, CDL , executives, and all levels for contract, public and private positions.
●30 years organizational development & relationship building
●30 years leadership and coaching application
●18 years representing companies in settlements, negotiations, & judicial procedures
●15 years mediation/conflict resolution
●15 years training
●35+ years training
Education and Certifications
PhD & MA in Human Resources Management Southwest University
BA in Speech Communications Boston College
●Certified Trainer/Facilitator ●Certified in Conflict Resolution
United States Marine Corps
My lovely skin color forced me to acquire credibility in my words so, I secured a Masters Degree and a PhD in Human Resources concentrating in Equal Employment Opportunity. Here, I found my voice. Diversity EEO/AA mandates provided me a platform for "Respecting Differences" and "Everyone Matters". My quest began.
While addressing workplace concerns, Allee's Group began coaching and consulting organizations on employment laws and behaviors. Providing signature training modules and programs to foster compliance and diversity, I developed my expertise. Looks, cultures, beliefs, practices, are all ingredients in this tossed salad world of ours. All are important and EVERYONE matters! I can't change the world, but human resources allows me to adjust behaviors and introduce differences.
I have a reputation for turning around businesses in trouble. I'm now establishing the new reputation of building success for business and businesses.
Contact me and we can arrange to discuss your human resources business needs ranging from an individual through to a corporation.
Doctor of Philosophy in
Human Resources Management
Master of Arts in
Human Resources Management
Baccalaureate of Arts in Speech Communications
● Graduate Level Facilitator
● Training/Facilitator in Learning Skills