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Family has made me who I am

Kelly Kerner is the VP for Development and Alumni Relations for The University of Georgia. His hope is that "the way we work together at the University of Georgia is creating another family dedicated to supporting and encouraging the leaders of tomorrow and our alums who are changing the world today." Read his story here:

1. What's your story? What makes you unique?

I suppose it's having grown up in a family that moved every 3-4 years. Not only did I learn to adapt to new places and new people, and learn how to make friends in any situation, but it also taught me about the importance of family. My parents made sure that we always lived in an environment, whatever our geography, that was filled with love, support, guidance and accountability.

2. What motivates you?

I love the work - I love the idea that we can have a direct impact on the future of students, faculty, and at the University of Georgia, we can impact the entire state. All that said, I believe my reason to be in this role is to help those with whom I work achieve all that they seek. I want to be a partner to the progress and success any of our teammates pursue. My most gratifying experiences come from watching those I have hired and worked with advance in their careers.

3. Who is a hero of yours?

My father - he is a person who has always had a zest for life. He worked hard, but he also pursues every new opportunity and experience with incredible focus and energy and joy. He is 86 years old and continues to thrive even when the years push back hard.

4. What's your future plan? Your goals?

My plans and goals center greatly around my family. I am constantly aware of the distance I have to go as a husband and father. It's something I work on literally every day. Nothing I do on this earth will be as important as helping my children become vibrant, Godly, contributing members of society who focus on others rather than themselves. My goals around work are to ensure that when I am no longer at the University, the team we will have put in place will continue to help make the University as successful as we aspire.

5. If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?

Take risks...calculated risks. Be willing to take on those challenges that are daunting and be ok with failure. It is trite to say, but you learn so much more through failure if you are paying attention and don't wallow in it.

6. What is something you feel strongly about (a cause, belief, etc.)?

That I am where I am by the Grace of God. I try to be aware of that every day. It is both and honor and a responsibility to be put into a position of leadership, and I take that responsibility very seriously every step of the way. If I approach my days like that, I will always feel we are being successful.

7. What's one of the coolest things you've ever done?

Hiked to the top of Mount Baldy at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico with my son, watched my daughter perform beautifully in a one act play when she had no prior drama experience, walked on a beach at sunset in Hawaii with my wife...sorry that's three....I'm not good with numbers.

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