Gerard Etienne has broad experience ranging from large company environments to early-stage startups. He has been in consulting most of his professional career: he spent the first 9 years of his career as a mechanical engineer in various client-facing roles, and it was during that time that he developed strong customer management skills. Despite his technical and analytical background, Gerard excelled at developing relationships with customers which, in turn, helped him better understand their needs and solve their problems. He also became fascinated with how organizations that prized technical ability often seemed to view understanding and connecting with their customers as secondary to the technical aspects of the final deliverable, a perspective that invariably led to creating solutions that did not fully address customer needs. As a result, seemingly satisfied customers were not necessarily repeat clients, company champions, or strong referral sources. Married to a CPA in public accounting, he watched similar themes play out across many different roles in his wife’s career – from the “Big 8”, to mid-tier firms, to solo practitioners.
After earning his MBA, Gerard applied his extensive engineering consulting experience to solve business problems, and his passion for understanding and addressing customer needs came into much sharper focus. Prior to joining BLI, Gerard was Vice-President of Intrapreneurship at Relativity Sciences, Inc., a consulting firm that serves Fortune 500 companies and is focused on intrapreneurship, innovation, and customer intimacy. In this capacity, Gerard created a customer intimacy program to help companies build stronger relationships with their clients. As a “hands on” consultant, he also advised, coached, and guided numerous client teams to help them develop their entrepreneurial skills within their own organization.
Gerard is a native French speaker and has a multi-cultural background that spans Haiti, Ivory Coast, India, and Switzerland. He is an avid motorcyclist, a mindfulness practitioner, a guitar player and self-taught classical pianist who really wanted to be a drummer, and a passionate Arsenal Football Club soccer fan. He lives in Silver Spring, MD, with his incredible wife, two sons and dog, Coda. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from the University of Maryland, College Park.