The Perfect Christmas Gift

Published 4:06 pm Tuesday, January 9, 2024

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Krystal Hardy-Allen was only 8 years-old when she made a declaration while working on a school classroom assignment, and decided she would one day purchase a home for her parents. Fast forward to 2018, the year Hardy-Allen began to act on her childhood commitment by saving towards the investment of a lifetime. The process would take a handful of years and would be fully realized on Christmas, when the proud CEO of K. Allen Consulting delivered a newly renovated home in Selma’s historic Old Town District as a gift to her parents.

Hardy-Allen recalls witnessing countless hours when her mother, Denise Hardy, worked tirelessly to keep a roof her family’s head in their humble beginnings in Sardis, Alabama. Such dedication inspired Hardy-Allen to excel, finishing atop her class at Southside High School and graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 2007. Hardy-Allen went on to explain that after a decade as an educator, an initial career path she vicariously modeled after her beloved mother, she began to realize that a much grander and more exuberant classroom demanded her presence.

In 2017 K. Allen Consulting was born. The international education and management consulting firm based out of New Orleans hit the ground running and the rest is history. On Hardy-Allen’s Linkedin page, she describes her successes as follows. “[I am a] social entrepreneur and founder of a global education and management consulting firm, now serving over eight countries and major brands like Amazon, Apple and Microsoft.”

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K. Allen Consulting has also been featured in Time Magazine for the company’s expertise on racial bias in K-12 classrooms and Hardy-Allen has received numerous professional accolades, such as, 2019 Gambit 40 Under 40, 2019 Aspen Institute Ideas Festival Scholar, 2016 Urban League of Louisiana Activist and being named one of the 2022 Most Influential Women in Business in Louisiana by the BRM Regional Chamber of Commerce. After her significant professional achievements, 2022 emerged as the ideal year to realize her lifelong pledge to herself of presenting her parents with a dream home.

In November 2022, just four short years after her initial 2018 commitment to saving the capital needed to purchase a home for her parents, Hardy-Allen finally closed on a beautiful two story home that she personally painstakingly renovated in the Old Town Selma Historic District. After a two month renovation project, Hardy-Allen was poised to give her family the home on Jan. 15, 2023 which happens to be the birthday she shares with the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr..

 However, on Jan. 12, 2023, three days before the big reveal the residence faced near destruction from a super-storm tornado that carved a path from Marian Junction through Selma and onward to the Alabama-Georgia state line.

Not one to be stopped, Hardy-Allen once again leaned on the same group of individuals she confided with in her initial renovation. The dynamic duo was an entrusted father and son team, but not just any father and son team. The pair were composed of her own father, Arthur L. Hardy Sr., and younger brother, Arthur L. Hardy III.

“The destruction to the home caused by the storm was a real setback, but in my thoughts, I conceded everything happens for a reason,” Hardy-Allen said.

Little did her family know, but the 2022 purchase-renovation and the subsequent rebuild were more than  a mere real estate investment.

“My brother and father worked tirelessly on both projects, making it challenging to keep my ultimate goal a secret during the entire process,” Hardy-Allen revealed. Her father, a self-taught carpenter and owner of Hardy’s Construction, labored on the home throughout 2023, believing he was helping to remodel a home his daughter was hoping to flip and profit from during the recent 2022 – 2023 real estate housing boom.

However, following a meticulously planned and well-staged house showing on Christmas Eve, the moment had arrived to fulfill her childhood pledge. Hardy-Allen admitted, “It was hard to keep the surprise all to myself.” As the family gathered on the balcony on Christmas Eve, Hardy-Allen handed her parents the keys to a new home and fulfilled the heartfelt promise she made to herself as an 8-year-old. She was finally giving the gift of a home to her parents, providing the security and freedom they had always deserved.

An achievement, Hardy-Allen proudly describes as the perfect Christmas gift. (last updated 12-10-24)