Better Together – The Power of Collaboration in the Community
As managing shareholder of Kerkering, Barberio & Co., one of the largest independent CPA firms in Southwest Florida, it’s easy to understand how Rob Lane might have a lot on his plate, but this doesn’t keep him from being actively involved in several different community organizations as a board member and volunteer. Kerkering Barberio has a long history of volunteerism in the Sarasota community, and it’s through the example and leadership of Rob and those who came before him that the organization holds over a 50% volunteer rate among employees, who are involved in everything from participating in community events to serving on boards.
Rob learned early in his career the value of giving back, thanks to two early mentors at Kerkering Barberio, Dieter Gebhard, and Charles Baumann. Gebhard was very active with The Chamber, and quickly encouraged Rob to become involved. Rob discovered his passion for connecting economic development and social initiatives, recognizing that the two go hand in hand in making a community great. Through his involvement with the Economic Development Corporation Sarasota County and United Way Suncoast, Rob found outlets to share his expertise and make a difference in fostering a strong economic base in the community that, in turn, provided opportunities for employment and advancement.
“I think the biggest takeaway for me in all of my years of community involvement has been the power of collaboration to reach a common goal,” Lane said. “Bringing together government, non-profits, business and even media to address a single issue, it’s amazing how effective that cohesive unit can be. You don’t have to do this on your own; that’s been a valuable insight for me.”
Heeding those words, Rob has maximized KB’s impact in the community by becoming a connector in his own organization, mentoring the next generation of KB leaders in getting involved. While not mandatory, community involvement is a big part of the Kerkering Barberio culture, beginning in the interview process, where prospective employees are made aware of different opportunities to give their time and talents. Employees are offered paid time off to be involved in organizations that are meaningful to them, which Lane says is key to being successful as a volunteer, to find something they personally enjoy doing.
One recent group volunteer effort was the construction of a house from the ground up as part of a Habitat for Humanity initiative. More than ten employees shoveled, hammered and worked the day away to create a home for a young family in need. KB team members have also raised Southeastern Guide Dog puppies, cleaned shorelines for Sarasota Bay Watch and almost everything in between that inspires their passion to serve.
“Volunteers are such an important part of the success of this community,” Rob concluded. “And while my involvement has helped fulfill a need in the community, personally, I’ve had the opportunity to work side-by-side with a diverse group of professionals to see their viewpoints and how they handle different situations. It’s made me a stronger leader.”
For more information on Rob Lane, please click here.
For information on Kerkering, Barberio & Co. please visit Kerkering’s website.