JR Kerr is Founder & CEO of Handshake, a bespoke influence and reputation firm working with the private, public and cause sectors to grow their influence through positioning, partnership ecosystems, and integrated activations to engage citizens and business with a more human approach.
Mr. Kerr started his career with degrees in theology, philosophy and anthropology and spent a decade communicating on historical and cultural ideas to large audiences and creating not-for-profits and social enterprises. Previously an advisor to the White House Office for Faith Based and Neighborhood Partnerships under former President Obama, Kerr has served as the director of programming and curation for Chicago Ideas Week and has worked with influencers and organizations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, One Campaign, Global Poverty Project, The White House Public Engagement Office, and helped to start the Soledad O’Brien Foundation.
With more than 15 years’ experience in convening networks of influence around social issues and creating stories around these partnerships, Mr. Kerr made a strong pivot, believing the only way to scale the kind of change he wanted to see in the world was to bring in the private sector. After a few failed enterprises, Mr. Kerr joined Frequency540, where he curated and grew their social impact business. Transitioning to the role of entrepreneur, Mr. Kerr founded Handshake on the premise that businesses are the pathway to human prosperity.
Mr. Kerr is a published author, founder of an anti-human trafficking organization, served on the board at SXSW Eco, and is a special advisor to RFK Human Rights.