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Flyers for Life

Gerald Kierce ’13

“While certainly distinct from each other, the continuum that is “Learn. Lead. Serve.” has been central to everything I’ve done in my personal and professional career,” said Gerald Kierce ’13. “On the professional side, I have had the distinct pleasure of working at some great organizations, particularly my current employer, FiscalNote.”

FiscalNote is a technology company that democratizes access to laws and regulations to allow organizations of all sizes to better monitor and understand public policy. Over his more than seven years at the company, Kierce has held five different roles, each of them in different departments. During that time, the company has grown from 15 employees to over 650 people worldwide. Given the company’s explosive growth, it is now the largest technology employer headquartered in Washington, D.C.

Kierce currently runs a new division within the company focused on artificial intelligence-based tools for data products. With each new internal transfer that he’s made, a learning mindset has been the critical bedrock for him to gain new skills and insights.

“Leading, in my opinion, is both an active and a passive act. For me, great leaders that I have had the pleasure to work with practice servant leadership — focused on the collective above the individual and rooted in empathy and understanding,” said Kierce. “My most recent role was that of chief of staff to our founder and CEO — a visionary entrepreneur with family, religion and community at the center of everything. As his chief of staff, I served as his megaphone, driving alignment across our executive team to effect positive change at the company. I had influence to affect a great many decisions within the organization, but perhaps I had less formal authority to make the decisions themselves.”

The “Learn. Lead. Serve.” framework adhered to by Kierce allowed him to build sincere relationships with his peers. They saw him more as an enabler than a detractor; a partner more than a figure. And, during his time as chief of staff, the company nearly doubled its revenue and added more than 200 employees around the world.

On the personal side, Kierce is committed to the communities that helped shaped him over the years. Originally from Puerto Rico, two years ago, he joined the board of a nonprofit organization called Proyecto 85 which works to achieve parity in gender representation in Puerto Rican politics. 

“Our organization primarily seeks to provide education and resources for qualified women to seek elected office in their communities. As the only male board member for an organization focused on gender equity, I have had to learn a great deal about the roadblocks many women face while running for office — from the initial consideration of running itself and the impact on their families, to the financial and media obligations that come because of that exposure. Only through learning these obstacles in a genuine and empathetic way was I able to position myself to effectively lead and serve on this board. While much progress is still needed, the 2020 Puerto Rican elections saw a meaningful increase of women serving in elected office — something we are very proud of as an organization!”

He hopes his nomination for UD’s 10 Under 10 reinforces the strong values that were imprinted in him through his Marianist education both in high school in Puerto Rico (at Colegio San José) and at the University of Dayton.

“My growth at FiscalNote, Proyecto 85 and other endeavors I pursue is rooted in my desire to live a life of servant leadership — one that is focused on elevating the collective towards a common purpose. As I learned from others before me, young UD alumni can be leaders in their organizations and their communities regardless of their titles or roles. They can empower individuals to act with decency, kindness and conviction. And those, I believe, are the raw materials for ‘Learn. Lead. Serve.’”

At UD, Kierce was inspired by several professors and staff members, including professors Jay Janney and Jaro Bilocerkowycz. He also called special attention to Maureen O’Rourke ’05 ’09, who he called “one of the most decent, empathetic and joyful people I have ever met.” When Kierce was at UD, O’Rourke served as coordinator of Marianist activities and scholarship, including the Marianist Leadership Scholars program, which Kierce participated in.

When asked to pick a favorite memory at UD, he said that there are simply too many to count, but he remembers Christmas as a favorite.

“Christmas season on campus was wonderful. The giant Christmas tree in front of the humanities and engineering buildings was great. Lights all around, Christmas cheer, stress because of finals … everything was just great (some things more than others) during that time!”

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