​​Donnamaria Culbreth, Ph.D.

​​My Bio

There is no passion found in playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.

Nelson Mandela

The Trailblazer

Dr. Culbreth is passionate about being a part of the change needed in society with a focus on empowering people to reach higher ground. Her projects and interests include topics that are complex in nature because she believes that not only dialogues, but initiatives, strategies, programs, etc., must be developed to address the plethora of societal ills. She focuses on colorism, racism, identity, racial unity, issues affecting girls and women of color, people of color, mixed race identity, quality education (including closing the achievement gap for students of color), equality, justice for all, personal enrichment, diversity, defying negative stereotypes and breaking down skin color and racial barriers, and biased standards of beauty that continue to ignore the diversity of girls and women of color. Through projects and research she addresses a plethora of  issues that continue to stagnate the psychological, emotional, physical and social well-being and growth of girls and women of color.  She believes that the key to change is unity and embracing all people regardless of where they come from, how they look, education level, socioeconomic status, national origin, gender, race, color, sexual orientation, religion, or other status. "We must realize that a “change will only come when we stand together as one” (Jackson and Richie, 1985).  

Dr. Culbreth is the  executive producer and host of Complexity Talk Radio - Complexity Live, Inc. founder and principal researcher of The Intraracial Colorism Project, Inc., founder and CEO of  

  I Am Beautiful Global, Inc., editor-in-chief of the Journal of Colorism Studies, president of Complexity Publishing, Inc, founder ofWomen of Color Living Life Fabulous at Fiftyand founder and president of theNational Girls and Women of Color Council, Inc. Her latest projects include Unity Train (created to foster racial unity among all people), theRising to the Topblog, Visibility, a talk radio program focusing on girls and women of color, on Complexity Talk Radio, Inc., and founder of the Colorism Institute, a research institute focusing on global colorism issues.  

Other projects include Navigating Our Journeys, a series of deep dive discussions, presentations and workshops for women of color. Dr. Culbreth is also the founder of the Ronald E. Hall Conference on Colorism, the Ronald E. Hall Colorism Research Scholarship, and Colorism Awareness Month (August). 

The Educator 

Dr. Culbreth has worked in higher education for over 20 years holding various positions including vice president of operations, assessment and institutional research, director of assessment, acting vice president of academic affairs, chief academic officer, director of curriculum, assistant director of curriculum, assistant professor, faculty mentor, lecturer, instructor, adjunct professor, course developer, and subject matter expert.  

As an educator, Dr. Culbreth believes that students should be afforded every opportunity to obtain a quality education. Through teaching, mentoring, guiding and advising, etc., she focuses on student success by ensuring that educational journeys are unique, rewarding and prepare students to achieve goals with a focus on life-long learning. Through the development and implementation of Dr. Culbreth’s CLARE Concept, she has been instrumental in helping numerous students reach higher ground as critical thinkers, capable of applying logic, analytical and reasoning skills, along with ethics. Her Student Success Plan has been a valuable tool for students to help identify their academic, career and personal goals. She also created S.U.C.C.E.S.S. Mentoring, a group created to support students as they travel on their educational journeys. 

In the classroom, Dr. Culbreth focuses on using innovative technology, developing academically rich curriculum, projects, assignments, and other assessments. She develops and utilizes business case studies in the learning environment, along with "What Would You Do? scenarios to help students develop workforce ready knowledge, skills and abilities.  Dr. Culbreth b
elieves that students should develop and apply critical thought processes,  think out of the box, develop college-level writing skills, demonstrate that they understand and can apply learning concepts, theories and terms to the real world as well as develop the knowledge, skills and abilities that will enable them to hit the ground running, obtain and retain employment.  In 2015, she developed the College Prepared Workforce Ready Instruction Methodology as an instructional tool. Dr. Culbreth draws upon her experiences in corporate America, academia, the non-profit sector, public and private business and industry to develop programs and curriculum in alignment with the needs of the twenty-first century workforce.  She is currently completing books on student success and  developing quality business degree programs in alignment with twenty-first century industry and business needs.

​Dr. Culbreth's published dissertation consisted of an empirical investigation of the presence of intraracial colorism discrimination among Black Americans in the workplace. Dr. Culbreth's agenda includes working on several projects, articles, books, continued research and further expansion and development of her projects.  

The Mentor

Dr. Culbreth's mentoring experiences span 36 years working with young people in various settings.  In 2002, she developed the Elex Intellectual Society where she served a as mentor for students enrolled in her online courses. Through the Society, Dr. Culbreth provided personal, academic and career mentoring to students.  She developed the PACE Mentoring Program in 2018 which is a program of the National Girls and Women of Color Council, Inc. PACE, which is a global mentoring program, launched in September of 2018 and offers one-to-one, group and e-mentoring to teens and young women of color. 


The Business Professional
Professionally, Dr. Culbreth is the managing partner at
Culbreth & Associates a consulting firm specializing in colorism, race, diversity, education, business, management, legal services and human resource management. Dr. Culbreth's experiences include over 16 years working with clients throughout the United States and internationally.  

As a business consultant, areas of expertise include colorism, racial complexity and unity, performance management, human resource management, training and development, diversity, equity, inclusion, belonging and authenticity, anti-racism, workflow processes and procedures, policy development, legal research, administrative leadership, intraracial diversity, interracial diversity, cultures of inclusion, grant writing, management and administration, business ethics, non-profit management, multiculturalism, employee relations, workplace investigations, equal employment opportunity, employment discrimination, organizational culture and behavior, and organizational development, leadership and management. 

As an educational consultant, Dr. Culbreth specializes in leadership, compliance audits, assessment, program development, program reviews and revisions, curriculum design and development, distance learning, staff and faculty professional development,  policies, processes and procedures, prior learning assessment, student success, retention and safety nets, and higher education administration and management.

The Litigation Paralegal

Dr. Culbreth's legal skills include conducting legal research and writing memorandums of law, briefs and office memorandums, litigation and managing the discovery process (answers to interrogatories, notices to produce, demand for documents, requests for admissions), motions, reviewing and summarizing medical and other records, conducting investigations, data collection, review and analysis, client and witness interviews, and trial preparation.   

The Author

Dr. Culbreth has written several essays and articlesand  is writing books relative to her research, community and personal interests. She is the author of Living Life Fabulous at Fifty: Affirmations for Women of Color (2015), co-author of Live Life Beautiful: Affirmations for Girls of Color (2014), the POCSCIC (skin color chart),Food For Thought Comfort For The Soul (2019) and editor of the anthology,  Our Voices: Our Stories: Advancing, Celebrating, Embracing and Empowering Girls and Women of Color (2019). 

The Playwright

Dr. Culbreth wrote the play Colorstruck in 2012 (revised in 2016). Colorstruck focused on the effects of colorism on the psychological, emotional, physical and social well-being of a young girl and her journey to adulthood. Colorstruck  was selected for a reading at the Baltimore Playwright's Festival in October of 2016.  She is currently writing two plays.

The Artisan Jewelry Designer 

Dr. Culbreth is the owner and jewelry designer at Lady Culbreth Collection, LLC, an artisan, hand-crafted one of-a-kind jewelry collection consisting of seven unique collections. The Lady Culbreth Collection will launch under the Culbreth Collection.


Dunkin Donuts Community Hero Award (2015)

Award, Women of Achievement,  All This Goodness Magazine  (2014)

Volunteer of the Year, Directory of Resources (2008)                                                          

Personal Interests 

Dr. Culbreth enjoys spending time with her family including her dogs, playing the piano, chess, smooth jazz, reading, research, writing, sewing, the tranquility of the Appalachian Mountains, botanical gardens, nature, taking care of homeless animals, white water rafting, tennis, giving back to society, carving wood art, crafts, making shadow boxes, artisan jewelry design, antiques and artifacts, genealogy research, collecting snow globes from around the world, African masks, Maasai figurines and sculptures, plants, gardening, interior decorating and home renovation projects.