Q&A: Kristy Purnell, Business Program Manager, Vanguard’s Diversity Recruiting Strategies Team and current board member of the Foundation of the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors
Kristy Lynn Purnell, a Delaware County resident, graduated from Drexel University with a Bachelor of Science in Sociology and obtained her master’s in business administration from American InterContinental University. Kristy comes with years of experience, having started her career in sales, consulting, and training prior to joining Vanguard. In earlier years, Kristy worked in Technology Sales and Business Development at organizations such as Primavera Systems, Inc., Oracle Corporation, and SunGard Availability Services.
Since joining Vanguard in 2017, as a Prosci certified Change Management professional, she has guided and delivered change management for critical business programs. She also developed and implemented a marquee all leader program, providing a structured and cohesive learning environment to help leaders increase their confidence to lead, empower, and develop employees through a multitude of changes during large scale transformation. In addition, she is currently an active and working member of three local boards and is involved in programs that drive empowerment and personal and professional development for Black youth, business professionals, and entrepreneurs.
Prior to her current role, as a part of Vanguard’s Diversity Recruiting Strategies team, Kristy managed organizations black talent strategy. She maintained close partner relationships with the HBCU ecosystem to increase brand awareness, build a diverse talent pipeline, and find opportunities to help alleviate inequity gaps for underrepresented talented students. At the top of 2022, Kristy was promoted to Business Program Manager for the Diversity Recruiting Strategies team. She still maintains relationships within the HBCU ecosystem but focuses on the strategic partnerships that support specific business domains across the enterprise.
Networking, building relationships and making great connections to help others, has always been a part of her God given purpose. Her networking skills and ability to make the right connections presented opportunities to partner with small business owners and entrepreneurs, teaching networking workshops and providing social media, branding, and opportunities to join a few boards.
How many years have you been with your current company/ organization?
4 ½ years
Why do you believe your business/ organization a Chamber member?
I believe it is important to value the professional development of those around you, in your organization, and your community. This helps build leaders and business professionals on a larger scale, lifting others as we all continue to rise. Including organizations across the county allows for a more inclusive and equitable member community.
What has been the most valuable aspect of your Delaware County Chamber of Commerce membership?
Having the opportunity to serve on the Foundation Board has been the most valuable aspect, providing programs that offers development and the ability to connect the dots for youth, business leaders, entrepreneurs, and business professionals is a passion of mine. I get to do that as a part of the chamber Board and community.
What advice would you give to a young woman starting out her career?
My advice to a young woman starting her career, which is the advice I give to my own daughter who’s starting her career: be flexible, keeping an open mind as much as possible, do a lot of networking and stay connected to help increase your social capital, and always seek mentors to support your development.
In honor of March being International Women's Month, can you identify a woman in history that has inspired you and explain why?
With so much going on in the world today, there’s a lot of added pressures, stress, and reasons why we as women could negatively react to what we experience in society and the workforce. I’m inspired by many women in history, but when I think about the last few years and how we have had to manage health, mental wellbeing, and operating somewhat in a world that does not prioritize black women – I think of Michelle Obama, her grace, her tenacity, her ability to persevere. I’m inspired by this in so many ways and I always recite in my head the very historical quote she shared during a very trying time, “When they go low, we go high.”
Can you explain any obstacles you have faced as a woman in the workplace and how you got past them?
I’ve been in many scenarios where I had to explain myself or justify a decision, proving my capabilities and ability to work hard and successfully accomplish goals, on a scale much larger than the other sex. Connecting with the right stakeholders and gaining buy-in from leaders you’ve built relationships with is key to pushing through this type of obstacle. Stakeholder management has been extremely helpful.
Can you share any tips you have for woman who are trying to make secure a board of directors position?
Networking and making the right connections helps you uncover opportunities, including board vacancies. Networking is how I’ve been able to land board positions, new roles at different organizations, and volunteer opportunities that helped me get more connected to different leaders across the community. In addition, I also suggest finding a Board prep program that might offer the opportunity to be appointed to a board after completing the program.
What motivates you?
I am motivated by helping others, connecting others, and offering whatever I can to support creating opportunities for those around me. I’m driven by my passion, these are my passions, to support the personal and professional development of others.
Are you involved with any other community organizations or charities?
Yes, I am on the Board of Dreams To Founder and I am a member of the Diversity Advisory Council for Slice Communications.
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