Brittney Kerr remembers being in a library in Grade 5, when she showed her mother a book about Canada’s prime ministers and told her that she wanted to check out the book.
“My mum was really surprised and she didn’t recognize her daughter,” Kerr said. “Politics did not run in my family.”
Kerr said that even when she was young she identified as a “progressive centrist.”
As one of the Liberal Party of Canada’s five co-chairs in the recent election campaign, Kerr has since reached some of the highest heights in behind-the-scenes politics.
She told Business in Vancouver that she does not intend to run for office, as it is the back rooms where she thrives.
Born in Vancouver and raised in Port Coquitlam, Kerr went to the University of British Columbia directly after high school, and she completed a bachelor of arts degree in psychology.
She did not join the Liberal party until she was close to completing her degree, in 2009, when she got active in the party’s women’s commission.
A couple of years later she started graduate studies at Simon Fraser University in the School of Public Policy. Her focus was on how to develop, analyze and implement public policy. It was training that would become useful in 2015, when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – she had been volunteering for him since 2012, before he launched his bid to lead the party – asked her to work in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) as his top adviser from B.C.
In that role, she advised Trudeau, his ministers and senior government leaders on policy.
She left the job in 2017 to give birth to son Everett Kerr-Smith and spend more time with husband Michael Smith.
Kerr founded Kerr Advisory – a strategic communications and public policy company that she later sold to Earnscliffe Strategy Group, a company that she had been working at as an account director before she joined the PMO.
Now the youngest shareholder at Earnscliffe, Kerr manages employees and contributes to marketing and internal communications as well as corporate governance.
She and Smith are expecting their second child.
Where you live now: Vancouver
Highest level of education: Bachelor of arts, psychology
Currently reading: Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien
Currently listening to: The song “Baby Shark” is on repeat at our house
When you were a kid, what you wanted to be when you grew up: A White Spot waitress
Profession you would most like to try: Tuscan cycling tour guide
Toughest business or professional decision: Uprooting my family to Ottawa to serve in the Prime Minister’s Office
Advice you would give the younger you: Start by showing up. It’s that easy. And then work really, really, really hard
What’s left to do: I’m just getting started
Join us to celebrate the 2019 Forty under 40 Awards on January 30, 2020, at the Westin Bayshore. For tickets and event information visit https://www.biv.com/forty-under-40