My Story

Andrea L. Ernst, CFP®

Portfolio Manager
Wealth Management Services, Cincinnati - Kenwood

Andrea Ernst hopes to be remembered one day for two qualities, one of which naturally flows into the other.  It begins with empathy and ends with her desire to serve others.

Her paternal grandmother is Andrea’s main influencer and greatest hero.  This was a woman who raised Andrea’s father and his five siblings on her own in post-WWII Canada.  Grandma Kenny, as she was called – a nickname she received based on her maiden name, Kent – grew up on a prairie farm in Alberta.  By age six, she was getting up early, saddling her horse for the ride to school.  She enlisted with the Royal Canadian Air Force during the war and later worked as a local newspaper photographer.  In 30 years, she missed a half day of work.

“My grandmother was fiercely independent and extremely optimistic.  She fought for equality before it was even a thing, even becoming the first woman in her company to earn a pension. Volunteering was a way of life for her and her last words to me were, ‘Just always be kind.’  She was the main driver in our family.” Kenny died at the age of 98.

Andrea spent her early years in small towns in rural Ontario, Canada.  Her father worked for Procter & Gamble his entire career, working for such products as Pampers and Tide.  Her home was off a two-lane gravel road.  She learned to entertain herself exploring the forests around her home, jumping off cliffs into pools of stunningly cold water and, overall, being a tomboy.  She’s grateful to her parents for letting her be adventurous.

She wasn’t quite 11 years old when her father was transferred to Cincinnati.  Her first job out of the University of Cincinnati with a bachelor’s in business was in sales with a financial firm where the practice was to have new employees drum up business door to door.

“I thought I was going to come out of school and right away crush it, maybe in 10 years be CEO of a Fortune 500.  And there I was using a golf ball to knock on doors to keep from scraping my knuckles.  But it was a great experience.  I certainly learned how to handle rejection.”

Andrea’s husband, Bob, began his legal career with the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Office.  These days, he’s a Senior Counsel with a local startup.  They have two small children, Anna, and Alex.  Alex has an extremely rare genetic condition that impairs almost every aspect of his life. “When you have a child with special needs there are a lot of emotions that you need to process. You realize you can’t control everything. You have to have faith there is a bigger plan and purpose for your circumstances.”

Andrea and Bob launched Cincinnati Courage, a program that encourages kids with special needs to engage in social interaction, based around Alex’s favorite sport, basketball.

She sees herself living out her desire of serving others at Johnson Investment Counsel.  “My job is not just to help my clients manage their money. It’s to help guide them through significant changes in their lives, whether it’s retirement, the loss of a loved one, or the unique planning needs that come with having a special needs family member.