Stacy Kerr Moves to Georgetown University
by ali mcsherry
A whole new world: Kerr in her office at Georgetown University
|Healy Hall, on Kerr’s new campus|
|A reminder of her past success|
|Utraque unum: The Georgetown flag|
After spending the better part of her adult life working on Capitol Hill, Stacy Kerr was ready for a change. For the past eight years, she practically lived in the halls of Congress, as a close advisor to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, one of the most powerful and influential politicians on the Hill. But the fast-paced and pressure-filled life of a full-time power assist had run its course, and a different kind of career beckoned—one that required Kerr to go back to school. So she traded her Congressional ID for a university one and assumed her new role, as assistant vice president for communications at Georgetown University.
Instead of promoting Pelosi and the Democratic agenda, Kerr now promotes and protects the Hoya brand, all the while highlighting its world-renowned faculty and diverse student body. “It’s a great opportunity for me to work at a world-class university at a time when education is becoming more global,” Kerr says. Landing Kerr proved just as important for the university, one of the most esteemed institutions of higher learning in the country. “Stacy brings excellent communication skills, sound judgment, and considerable experience with complex, multiaudience issues,” says president John J. DeGioia. “I welcome her readiness to learn quickly about Georgetown and work with all members of our diverse community.”
Kerr, a Michigan native, began her career in politics shortly after graduating from Smith College, when she began volunteering on former New Jersey Senator Bill Bradley’s 2000 Democratic presidential bid. She was quickly promoted from volunteer to paid staffer, and it wasn’t long before she relocated to New Hampshire. Like so many other young staffers, she made her way to Washington, and in 2003, after a stint as a press secretary in the House, she landed a coveted position on Pelosi’s leadership team. She began working in the California Democrat’s press office before eventually becoming one of Pelosi’s closest aides. “She’s strategic, savvy, and innovative, and she has played an integral role to advance the Democratic agenda,” Pelosi said in a statement.
Over the years, Kerr worked on groundbreaking legislation and traveled the globe with her boss, meeting various dignitaries along the way. “I got to travel with her to meet the Dalai Lama, which was amazing,” Kerr recalls. During her tenure, Kerr’s personal life blossomed as well. She met and married another Capitol Hill staffer, C. R. Wooters, chief of staff for Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen. The couple now has two children. “I was married two months after I started working for Mrs. Pelosi and had both of my sons while I worked there,” Kerr explains.
While leaving her beloved boss and friend was difficult, Kerr is brimming with excitement about her new position. It presents new challenges that involve coordinating efforts both inside and outside the university. She recently promoted research from a Georgetown professor on carcinogens associated with dry cleaning, as well as working on a State Department conference on campus promoting US-India education. “No day is the same,” says Kerr. “Every morning we talk about what we can do to tell Georgetown’s story. One day that may be something small, like a tweet about an event on campus; the next day it might be going out with a photographer to take pictures of the Georgetown trash trucks helping to pick up neighborhood trash. And tomorrow the president could call and say he’d like to come to Georgetown to make a speech. Sometimes we know what will happen, and sometimes we don’t. That is what makes it so much fun and so exciting.”
The job has the added benefit of an easier commute: The historic campus isn’t far from Kerr’s home in the Palisades. “Living in the Palisades, we already use Georgetown like our downtown. My son plays tee ball there, we eat there, shop there,” she says. It also promises to have less erratic hours than the notoriously on-call life of a Congressional staffer. Kerr and Wooters have spent the Past several years juggling two such schedules with their two young sons, both under the age of six. “We’re hopeful that this makes it a bit easier to meet the nanny at 6:30,” she says.
photographs by greg powers (opener, photo frame)
Celebrating the White House Correspondents’ Association’s annual dinner at Carnegie Library.