When it comes to service, the spotlight’s on this classy lady who knows the true meaning of the word. Since her late 20’s, Darnise has made her desire to serve her community a reality. She started her volunteer journey with local non-profits and other organizations such as the YMCA’s Battered Women’s Shelter, The Urban League, and her church. She says that her thoughts have always centered around her motto, “I do what I can, when I can to leave this place better off.”
Darnise says she had a great childhood with her two older sisters and one younger brother. Now speaking of her childhood…you may ask about her name. Well, according to this classy lady, her legal name is Danise St. Andrew, but her friends and family call her Darnise. It was never clear if her parents just misspelled her name or if it was the result of a southern drawl…rolling the r’s. That would not be surprising, especially since her mom is from Atlanta, Ga. and her dad is from Opelousas, L.A.
Being raised in Toledo, Ohio, better known as “The Glass City”, and having lived there for over 50 years, Darnise says she was fortunate enough to live in a great, safe neighborhood where she could ride bikes, play kickball, chase ice cream trucks, participate in cheerleading, visit parks and yes…get into fights. Being picked on and bullied because of her light skin complexion was something Darnise was too familiar with, even though she’s been told that she was the one that started most of the fights! Imagine that!! This is still a debatable subject at her neighborhood reunions, but she’s especially grateful that they all do stay in touch with each other.
Darnise earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toledo with a concentration on Business Management. She’s especially proud that she completed her degree while working full time, divorced and with two kids. Now that’s strength! Darnise earned a Master’s degree from Lourdes University in Organizational Leadership.
Spending the early years of her career in the customer service/call center environment, Darnise was the Call Center Manager for Columbia Gas of Ohio. She then began working for Owens Corning World Headquarters and held various positions in the supply chain. Her last position with that company was Process Expert/Business analyst for SAP system upgrades. Darnise is currently employed with Novelis North America as a Pricing Leader, leading a team of pricing analysts, responsible for end-to-end price administration, analysis, and process excellence.
Darnise has two adult children. Her oldest is her favorite son, 33-year-old Chad Ware. He’s married with three sons and is an Assistant Director of Insurance Operations at Ohio National Financial Services. Her second is her 32-year-old favorite daughter, Brooke Ware-Hickman. She’s married and recently ended her career as a Social Worker for Children’s Services to pursue her dream job as a Make-up Artist/Esthetician. Darnise says she’s so proud!
After supporting her two children through college and then caring for her elderly parents that have since passed on, Darnise decided to move south in January 2015 for two good reasons.
- She always wanted to experience living in the south for the scenic views and the warm weather.
- She was determined to be with the man she was dating, who now happens to be her amazing husband and her best friend.
After moving to Gwinnett County, Georgia in 2017, and once again focusing on doing what she could, when she could; Darnise decided there was work that needed to be done for the 2020 elections. In 2019 and 2020, she served as the President of the Gwinnett Federation of Democratic Women. Darnise and her team provided candidates with forums, disseminated information, and more. She’s extremely proud of the work she did as Gwinnett made national news with increased general voter and minority voter turnout. Many women and minorities are now in key elected positions in Gwinnett County and her team helped flip the county blue. They also assisted in the delivery of the overall numbers for the state of Georgia, which also flipped blue.
It was an effortless transition for service when Darnise found herself scrolling through Facebook looking at the lovely ladies of Classy Living Society on their Get On The Bus volunteer effort post. She saw smiles, she saw the pride, and she definitely saw the passion for service. Darnise wondered, “what is this CLS all about?” She knew she wanted more information. From the very beginning, Darnise felt that CLS was right in line with her purpose of giving back to the community. There was no doubt that she was at a point in her life where she wanted to have fun and experience joy in whatever she found herself doing.
Darnise enjoys reading autobiographies and likes learning and understanding how folks deal with adversities and end up finding joy.
She loves to travel to new places and learn about different cultures. Darnise has been to most of the islands in the Caribbean and she was just starting her international travel with her first trip to Italy. Then came the Covid 19 Pandemic.
When asked what brings her the most joy, Darnise lists these things (not necessarily in this order)…
*A walk in the park
*Chocolate chip cookies
*Laughing with my husband
*My kids and grandkids
*Peace and relaxation
Darnise often reflects on her favorite quote “The secret to having it all, is knowing that you already do.” Being a member of CLS has only helped reinforce the belief that yes…Darnise has it all when it comes to positively impacting the community.
Congratulations to Darnise…our Oh So Classy Spotlight!