Lierman, the first woman elected to lead a state government office in Maryland, won more than 60 percent of the vote for state comptroller last fall. “I’m thrilled to have broken a glass ceiling, but also to be an elected official who can serve as an independent advocate for the people of Maryland,” she says. As chief financial officer of the state, she oversees every dollar into and out of its coffers.
A Democrat, Lierman got her start in community work and grassroots organizing as an undergrad history major. She was an early member of the first chapter of the nonprofit Directing through Recreation, Education, Adventure and Mentoring (DREAM) program to provide mentorship to youth in the Upper Valley, and credits classes with history professor Annelise Orleck as influential in her development as a leader. She later worked on political campaigns and earned a law degree from the University of Texas, Austin, before moving to Baltimore to work as a civil rights attorney.
“I had grown up in a more affluent area of Maryland, and I was really appalled at some of the inequities that I found in Baltimore City, like a transit system that didn’t work well for people and a park system that didn’t have enough shade,” says Lierman, who is married to lawyer Eben C. Hansel ’01 and has two children. She served as a state delegate for eight years before running for comptroller last year.
Since taking office in January, Lierman has created two new positions to bolster the equity and effectiveness of her office: a chief information officer and a chief equity and transformation officer. She regards many of the state’s protocols as antiquated, both in equity and technology, and hopes to lead the charge to make government work better and be more transparent for Maryland’s citizens. “It is like she’s taking the veil off the comptroller’s office,” says Lierman’s chief of staff, Rianna Matthews-Brown.
This story has been updated to reflect Lierman's involvement in the DREAM program. She was an early member, not a founder.