Danielle Barnes leads the US Human Services practice for the firm, focusing on the key intersections of policy, process, and people across various social services programs around the country. Her work as a Government Executive Lead within the firm is dedicated to helping clients create innovative, practical and actionable solutions for families and vulnerable individuals that have lasting impact.
Prior to EY, Danielle served as a member of the Governor’s Cabinet as the Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Human Services. Under two different Governors, she led the operations and strategic direction of the state’s second-largest agency. The Department provides services to approximately two million Tennesseans each year through programs such as Families First, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Child Support, Child Care Services, Vocational Rehabilitation, Disability Determination Services, Adult Protective Services, Child and Adult Food Program and Social Services Block Grant. Operating a budget of over $2.1 billion, providing leadership to more than 4,000 employees, and managing 113 facilities, Danielle maintained a reputation for driving for strong results for individuals, families and communities through meaningful work outcomes and community partnerships.
Prior to her appointment at DHS, she served as Deputy Commissioner & General Counsel for the Tennessee Department of Human Resources. In her capacity, she co-authored and implemented the Tennessee Excellence and Accountability (T.E.A.M.) Act which overhauled the state’s civil service practices, created the state’s mediation program, revamped the State’s performance management processes, and enacted pay for performance for state employees. Before her tenure in public service, she engaged in the private practice of law in both Memphis and Nashville.
Danielle holds certification as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and maintains an active law license. She earned her undergraduate degree from Spelman College and her law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law.
Danielle is an active member of Jack and Jill of America, Nashville Chapter and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. She also serves on a variety of boards, including Music City Baseball, Tennessee State Museum, Governor’s Early Literacy Foundation, The Adoption Project, Tennessee Center for Performance Excellence, and Think TN. She resides in Brentwood with her husband and two children.