Ascend N. California Chapter Advisor – Lifetime Member
Darcy Lopes serves on our Ascend Northern California Chapter Advisory Board.
She was born and raised in Hawai’i with a younger brother. Most of her childhood was spent on O’ahu, but she has lived on Kaua’i, Moloka’i and Maui at times. From 7th through 12th grade, she boarded at a school for children with Hawaiian ancestry. She is a graduate of Cal State University, Hayward, which has since been renamed to Cal State East Bay.
Darcy was recruited by Arthur Young and started with the newly merged Ernst & Young (EY) in 1991 in audit. Today, she serves as an Assurance Partner at EY.
Along with her husband Pat, they are parents to son Luke, age 12. Darcy is also a stepmother to Julia and Michael, both age 23. Their dog Max is a pit bull and boxer mix.
Current Residence: Walnut Creek, California
Birthplace: Lihue, Kaua’i, Hawai’i
Why did you join Ascend?
To leverage Ascend’s great programs for EY personnel and give EY personnel an opportunity to give back to Ascend through participating as volunteers. EY has a PAPN (Pan-Asian Professional Network) affinity group also focused on the development and success of Pan-Asian professionals and it was a great opportunity to help facilitate the ongoing partnership between Ascend and PAPN locally.
I’ve been an Ascend member for at least 10 years. Started as Co-chair of IAG for NorCal Chapter when it was an all day Saturday conference in a hotel. Did that for 2 years, then became President of the Chapter for 3 years, now on Advisory Board.
What advice would you give to help leverage the power of Ascend?
Network! Many people cringe at that word, but it just means meeting new people and sharing experiences to help support one another. You never know when you may come across them again professionally or whether there will be a chance in the future to give or receive help. Take advantage of meeting all the great senior executives and retired executives who provide very open and honest feedback and are very willing to share their experiences so you can learn from their mistakes and successes.
Share some favorite moments from your time with Ascend
Strategy planning sessions with Ascend NorCal Board, nominating Julia Lam, an entrepreneur who we honored with the Rising Star award at our 2018 NorCal Gala because I became a big fan of a computer bag/tote she designed and sold (former Tara&Co), listening to A.K. Pradeep, a key note speaker I booked for an IAG conference who I had interviewed for an EY Entrepreneur of the Year awards program, and how he cracked up the 300+ attendees. And hosting a BBQ with some of our Board members, professional members and student volunteers in my backyard and having an impromtu mentoring session.
As a Chapter Advisor, what led you to serve?
Understanding the vision of the Board and National leaders and wanting to progress that vision to the next steps. I was inspired by the Board members who were (and continue to be) involved, dedicated and committed despite all having full-time, high-pressure careers.
What are 3 characteristics you try to bring into your everyday leadership style?
Humor, flexibility, mentoring mindset
It’s Women’s History Month and recent studies show that women, especially mothers and women of color, are more likely to experience burnout than men. Have you any advice on maintaining one’s resiliency while navigating work-life priorities?
We all need to control our own destiny. At EY, we stress transparency and flexibility to allow people to do their best work and be fulfilled by it. If people don’t know what’s on your plate and what you’re juggling, they can’t help or support you.
Often, people will suffer in silence. I would encourage people to keep a disciplined calendar and include personal commitments/well-being time, and prioritize those equally along with your work related deadlines. Sometimes you’ll have to shift one over the other, but in general, I schedule everything (including tennis, gym, son’s school events) and I’ve rarely moved or missed them. By being transparent about your schedule and how you manage things, you can also help model for others that it is ok to have personal priorities to juggle as you as you make time for what works for you personally and your work teams professionally.
What do you value about your cultural heritage and why?
I have 7 ethnicities, including Hawaiian, Japanese and Chinese. Not many people know “what” I am by just looking at me. Since I was raised in Hawai’i, my affinity is closest to the Hawaiian culture, which in the modern day is a melting pot with heavy East Asian influences. I value the appreciation we have for a variety of cultures and traditions. The people of Hawai’ian descent (and others) have a tremendous sense of protectiveness over the land, language and history of the ancient Hawai’ians and take the task of preserving that culture very seriously.
What are you passionate about outside of your work?
I enjoy playing tennis, pickleball (sometimes), boogie boarding in Hawai’i and traveling with friends and families. We’re going to France and Portugal this summer.
What’s something you’re trying to learn or are interested in learning/improving?
I wish I could learn another language. I studied Japanese for 4 years in high school, had some Hawaiian language classes, my husband is fluent in French and I live in a place with a lot of Spanish speakers. As a result, I can’t make up my mind on which I should try to focus on – so I’m stalled in progressing at the moment.
Pat, Darcy and Luke at the Blue Lagoon in Iceland right before COVID became an official pandemic
Luke and Darcy as hopeful SF 49ers fans at Super Bowl 2020
Darcy catches a wave on O’ahu and assures us that wave was a lot bigger than it appears in this photo