One of our key missions at Pearl Insurance is to help people get back on track amidst a difficult situation. As it turns out, Danielle Schoonmaker—one of Pearl’s marketing coordinators and outside insurance representatives—lived through something that drilled home the importance of this philosophy firsthand.
But more on that later. First, we can’t wait to introduce the world to what makes Danielle such a special employee!
The Journey to Pearl
Born in Ulster County, N.Y., Danielle grew up wanting to be an elementary school teacher. But after graduating to SUNY Albany (about an hour north of where she grew up), her aunt—a real estate professional—convinced her to try selling homes herself.
Danielle took the chance and loved it. It’s no surprise she found success in a field where her bright personality could shine through… but lucky for us, her career journey didn’t stop there!
After the birth of her children, Danielle wanted to find a field that provided more stability without sacrificing the interpersonal interactions she loved so much in the real estate world. She pursued a license in insurance, found a job with Pearl, and for the past eight years she’s been making our company better every day.
Though Danielle and her husband, Dan, grew up only 15 minutes apart, they didn’t meet until college. But 10 years after graduation and two children later, they started outgrowing their house in Albany and started thinking about where they wanted to permanently settle.
“We started looking to purchase our ‘forever’ home,” Danielle said. “We decided to take the leap back home to be by family. Family is so important to us, and both of our families are very big. I love seeing our children grow up with their cousins—it was definitely worth the leap!”
And there’s no shortage of activities where they live to keep everyone busy. Danielle and Dan were both Division I athletes in college, and their two children inherited that same interest in sports.
Jesse is 8 years old and heavily involved in baseball and basketball. In fact, he dreams of one day following in the footsteps of his hero Aaron Judge and becoming the next MLB superstar. Given how much promise he’s already showing with his batting and fielding skills at such a young age, we have no doubt he can succeed.
Jesse—if you’re reading this—keep chasing your dreams no matter who tells you otherwise! We know the sky’s the limit for a kid as talented as you.
Molly, age 5, is also poised to someday take the sporting world by storm. She plays softball and field hockey and regularly performs outdoor activities with the rest of her family like riding bikes, camping, and hiking.
Talk about a couple of dedicated kids!
Coming Face-to-Face with Life’s Fragility
Just because Danielle exudes joy doesn’t mean everything in her life has been sunshine and roses. Back in 2016, she had a truly harrowing experience.
“I was attending a CSEA event and had a grand mal seizure with no prior symptoms or warnings,” she said. “I have always been healthy, so it was a scary moment!”
She continued. “Hours later, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Surgery was my only option. Thankfully, my tumor was benign… but due to scar tissue from my surgery, I now have epilepsy. I had to take a few steps back.”
Her newfound epilepsy prevented her from driving—a key part of her job at the time.
Remember the beginning of this story? This is where it comes full circle, because a marketing coordinator position opened up here at Pearl right around when all of this happened. She applied, got the job, and was able to keep being a ray of sunshine around the workplace while continuing to earn a living. In a symbolic way, she embodies how insurance can help when the going gets tough.
While the job opening came at just the right time to get her career back on track, our customers are the ones who truly benefited. Danielle’s experience further solidified her mission here at Pearl, and she’s continued to champion how insurance can help protect our customers’ loved ones ever since.
“It’s such a great feeling when you know you are sincerely helping members,” she said. “You’re protecting them and giving them the peace of mind to know it’s all going to be okay. One call or appointment can truly help change someone’s life, and I want to be part of that!”