Leadership in Action: Kerby Teller Lends His Time and Talent to Support Local Community Organizations in South Carolina

This week CBI’s Leadership in Action series features Kerby Teller, SVP and Market Executive for CBI’s South Carolina and Florida locations. Kerby has been with CBI for the last six years and provides leadership and oversight to the CBI Teams in his markets on a regular basis. Outside of the office Kerby continues to perform as a true leader by spending his time in the local Charleston community loving and serving others. 

We talked to Kerby about his passion for giving back and about some of the organizations he is involved in. Continue reading below to learn more about Kerby’s outstanding commitment to the community where he lives and works.  

Q: What is your involvement in your local community? 
Kerby: There are three local organizations that I give most of my time to. The first is the Historic Rotary Club of Charleston. I have been a member of this club for a little over six years, and I just rolled off the Board of Directors this past year. I also am a member of Urban Land Institute of South Carolina and serve on the Management Committee of this organization. Finally, I’ve also spent a lot of time serving with the Trident United Way which is always a great experience.  

Q: Wow that sounds great. Tell us a little bit more about the Historic Rotary Club and your role on the Board. 
Kerby: The Historic Rotary Club of Charleston has been around since the early 1900’s. This Club is dedicated to public service in our community, nation and world and contributes time, money and leadership to dozens of Charleston-area projects. Our goal as a Club is to positively impact our communities and provide resources to those who might need a helping hand.

While serving on the Board of Directors for this organization I filled the role of Community Service Chair. This was a fun time for me because I was responsible for finding and organizing community and volunteer events for the rest of the Rotary members to participate in. I helped identify some of the greater needs in our community and then got to market these causes to the rest of the organization as we created ways to help meet these needs in the form of fundraisers and volunteer activities. 

During my time on the Board one area where we provided a lot of support was working with local, lower-tiered schools and their students to provide mentoring, tutoring and other support that the children needed. I enjoyed playing a role in implementing a program where Rotary volunteers would go read to these students on a regular basis and spend time helping with homework and other school related activities. 

Q: It sounds like the Rotary Club is doing a lot of great work in the Charleston community. Let’s switch gears and hear a little bit more about your involvement with the Urban Land Institute of South Carolina.  
Kerby: The Urban Land Institute is a great organization with a mission to provide leadership in the responsible use of land and in creating and sustaining thriving communities worldwide. The South Carolina chapter carries forth this mission by serving Upstate, Midlands and Coastal South Carolina’s public and private sectors with pragmatic land use expertise and education.

Q: Interesting. What’s your favorite thing about serving on the Management Committee with the Urban Land Institute of South Carolina? 
Kerby:  I really enjoy my involvement with the Urban Land Institute of South Carolina because I feel like the mission closely aligns with a lot of the work I do in my day-to-day role at CBI. This organization is focused on figuring out how to build better and how to build a community that is sustainable and long lasting. I am able to share a lot of my CBI experience when tackling certain projects with the ULI and my involvement here also continues to feed my passion around building for the future while allowing me to work to better areas in South Carolina where I live, work and raise my family. 

Q: The ULI of South Carolina sounds like a really cool organization. Now tell us a little bit about your involvement with the Trident United Way.
Kerby: The Trident United Way is our local chapter of the broader United Way. I have spent a lot of time volunteering for and attending various United Way events and fundraisers. This organization has three primary goals that they are working to achieve at all times. Those goals are to:

  1. Improve educational outcomes for all students in our area.
  2. Improve financial stability for all people to enjoy a quality standard of living.
  3. Improve the health of all individuals in our community.

It’s interesting because there is some overlap between my involvement with the United Way and the Rotary Club. Over the years, I’ve been able to inspire friends and volunteers from both organizations to come together to support a common cause. Every year our CBI team and the Rotarians dedicate a day of service for our Annual Day of Caring intiative that is typically the 3rd Friday in November. This year, as a result of COVID-19, our team decided to partner with The Lowcountry Foodbank and packed more than 500 boxes for middle school students who cannot afford food. Getting groups together to do things like this is extremely powerful and it’s amazing to see what happens when we can double the impact and make a larger difference. 

Q: That’s great Kerby. Tell us why you are inspired to give back in the first place? What drives you to be active in your community?
Kerby: I have to say for me there is no better feeling than putting in a day of hard work to help someone who needs it. I think I get a lot of my charitable spirit from my parents. Growing up my parents served as Host Parents for an organization called A Better Chance. ABC is a non-profit organization with the goal of helping talented, young people of color enhance their education by attending high-achieving boarding, day, and public schools across the United States.  As a child, we spent 3 year as the host family for this program. The students that lived with us became like siblings to me, and my parents never thought twice about giving them support and love while they spent their high school lives away from their families. I guess I’ve carried that kind of thinking into my own life, and giving back has become so rewarding for my family and me.

Q: Wow, that sounds like a truly amazing childhood experience. So tell us Kerby, what is one of your goals you’d like to achieve this year in your community? 
Kerby: I really want to continue to motivate my team and colleagues at CBI to join or support local community organizations that are important to them. It is so rewarding to give back on a regular basis, and I want to make it easy for those I work with to do so if they want. Over the past few years our markets have been allowed to take 8 hours of PTO to go volunteer or complete service projects for various organizations, and I think continuing to provide opportunities like this will really make a positive impact for our CBI Associates and the community.  Over the holidays, my wife started gathering clothes and other items for the Lowcountry Orphan Relief – it was incredible to see the amount of people who reached out and were dropping things off for weeks!  It’s been great to see my work volunteering and home volunteering collide so we can try and instill these values into our kids, Mason (4) and Lawson (2).  
Kerby is truly a Leader in Action in South Carolina, and we thank him for being a part of our Leadership in Action series. Learn more about the Historic Rotary Club of Charleston, the Urban Land Institute of South Carolina, and the Trident United Way by visiting their websites and check back in a few weeks for another Leadership in Action post.