My name is Brett I. Kier. I am many things, among them: spiritual warrior, intellectual explorer, and educator. While these categories do not wholly define or lead to a ken of what I am all about, they go a long way toward explaining what is important to me and why I have embraced learning as a way of life. My personal mission statement, and the three principles by which I live my life are mastery, wisdom, and inspiration. I seek mastery through constant improvement, wisdom through applied knowledge, and inspiration through collaborative leadership. I seek these things out in everything I do, and try to provide them to everyone I serve. You can see evidence of this in my work and personal life, you can see it in the way I interact with strangers, and you can see it in the way I process and learn new information.
Everyone has an origin story. Mine is unique in that it is the one I have chosen to live. I was named after the founder of the Jesuit Order, or my grandfather, depending on whom you ask. His wife, my primary caregiver, instilled in me traditional Midwest values of the Reagan Democrat variety (the latter didn’t take). She grew up during the Great Depression and voted for FDR, which meant that I grew up scraping the last little bit of jelly out of the jar no matter how small. She was always marching to the beat of her own drum, wearing pants to work when it was frowned upon by her male counterparts, or running a business on her own after her partner died. Who she was can tell you a lot about who I am.
The martial arts and the word “no” have perhaps done more to shape my life’s trajectory than anything else. I had a history teacher in high school named George Kirby who also happened to be a professor of jiu-jitsu. He taught and published key texts about the art, and it was because of him that I began my study and practice of jiu-jitsu. The example he set for me as a history teacher and as a martial artist is one that I continue to follow to this day. Like most children, I grew up hearing the word “no” too many times to remember. But what stuck out for me was that I never heard the word “no” if the question was, “Can I get this book?” I learned early on that reading was important and I would never be denied an opportunity to learn. Love of learning became the foundation upon which I would build my life, and what I have committed to inspire in others.