The Curious One
By Ruth Augustin '15 '16
Published on Tuesday, May 31, 2016
At 17 years old, Darrin Kelley ’89 moved from South Africa to the United States. “It was quite a change, just moving countries not knowing what you’re getting into was kind of scary,” he said. Lucky for Darrin, he already had a couple of childhood soccer friends at The College of Boca Raton, who would be part of the soccer team with him. “Being part of the team that helped a lot. I knew a couple players and one of the coaches Eric Abreu “Porgy” already so that helped the transition.”
Darrin came to The College of Boca Raton to play soccer and also study Accounting and Finance in the College of Business and Management. While studying as a full time student, Darrin felt that he was balancing three different things. He worked to balance, school, sports and work. Darrin mentioned that being able to balance the sport itself was very important. “You have to be able to produce and make sure you’re winning, be relevant in order to keep the scholarship.” Not only that but he was also trying to make sure that he enjoyed his college experience. “We managed to do it. I think the coaches and the school were really good with understanding our needs for homework, exams and things like that,” he commented.
Darrin was inspired to study Accounting and Finance after seeing the business his father had created in South Africa. “He had CPAs and accounting firms and people who did audits for him. It seemed like a great way to learn about business. I didn’t really know a lot about it, but I just thought that it was the most appealing thing and I went down that path,” he recalled.
After graduating in 1989, he went on to play soccer for two years in several different countries. When Darrin finally decided to pursue something other than soccer he reflected back to the strong relationships he made in the US. “Because of my friend’s parents, I got an interview at Arthur Anderson. I am very thankful to them for helping me to get in the door at such a great firm. It wasn’t easy, at first, but I worked very hard, learned as much as I could, and passed my CPA exam.
After leaving Arthur Anderson, Darrin went back to South Africa, joined Deloitte, another firm that is part of the “Big Four” – the four largest international professional services networks that offer tax, consulting, audits, risk advisory service and more. By 1997, Darrin made partner. In 2001, he decided to come back to the United States and work for Deloitte in Los Angeles. “I’ve had quite a lot of different roles, including a number of leadership roles during my career. That’s the one thing that I think has been critical for me is the ability to learn new things and change. You never know where your career is going, you never know when you start something where you’ll end up or what doors will open.”
Darrin currently leads the global risk advisory automotive practice for Deloitte. Darrin shared, “I think the most important thing that I have learned on a personal level is that if you want to get somewhere, you’ve got to work really hard. You’ve also got to continuously learn and be curious. Things change so fast, you become irrelevant really quickly in the business world. Learn and be curious and keep growing with the times.”