Emerging Philanthropists Spotlight: Denielle Kearns

What was your first job?

My first job was a server at a family restaurant where I grew up in Clinton Township.  I worked there from the time I was 14 years old, through high school and would even pick up shifts while in college when I came home on breaks. When I look back, for a first job, it was a very rewarding experience and taught me a significant amount about social and communication skills. Interacting with diverse customers and managing customer expectations is very applicable to what I do today as EY as a business advisor for our clients.  As a bonus, the restaurant staff was like family to me and I made life-long friends that I am still in touch with today.

What was your most memorable volunteering experience?

It is hard to pinpoint just one. Having gone to Catholic school for elementary and high school (Go Regina Saddlelites!), I have had many memorable volunteering experiences from volunteering my time at many food banks to counseling young kids through various organizations such as Junior Achievement.  A recent memorable experience is that EY sponsored a “Wish” for a young girl through The Make-a-Wish Foundation. We were able to meet this young girl and surprise her with her wish. It was very heartwarming to see the excitement and joy on her and her mother’s face.  Because of that experience, I am in the process of training to be a wish grantor and look forward to being able to bring joy to other children fighting critical illness.

What is your favorite pastime / hobby?

My husband and I are big foodies and we love trying out all the new local restaurants. We have a list, which is very hard to keep current, and try to visit a new spot each week. It really is an awesome time to be in Detroit and we are really loving the growing food/restaurant scene in the city and surrounding areas. We also love to travel and one of our favorite things to do when traveling is visit local craft breweries, especially those in Michigan. I think last we counted we had been to over 100 Michigan Craft Breweries.

Who inspires you?

My parents. My father owns his own business and grew the business from a small operation my grandfather started to a large successful company. His hard work and determination to build the family business while raising three kids and never missing a baseball game keeps me motivated to continue to work hard but never forget about what is No. 1, family. My mom is a strong woman and one of the most positive, selfless people I know. My mom inspires me to be a fighter, to not settle and to look on the bright side of things and “keep on keeping on.” They are two of the best role models and I aspire to live their best qualities daily in my personal and professional life.

What is your favorite quote or mantra you live by?

Eventually, all pieces fall into place.  Until then, laugh at the confusion, live for the moment and know that everything happens for a reason.

I have lived in the Detroit area my whole life, attended Michigan State University and started at EY Detroit right out of college in 2006. I met my husband Matt, also a CPA, on the EY softball team in 2008. Matt and I live in Troy with our mini goldendoodle, Lucy.  We enjoy being outdoors, whether it be biking or nightly walks around the neighborhood with the dog. We love to travel and when travelling experience the local culture, especially the food.

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