In honor of Veterans Day, South State’s Jeff Kane, a veteran, and the Corporate Learning team are collecting in-kind donations for the USO to distribute to active-duty military. Jeff, who served more than two decades in the Army, says he knows first-hand how much these items mean to our service men and women.
Jeff Kane, South State Learning Consultant, never thought he’d end up in banking. His father served in the Army, and he always thought he would serve, too.
His path took a turn when he started playing golf in high school, and he moved to Florida in 1991 to play golf on a college team. “I had one meeting with the coach, and I locked up my clubs,” Jeff said. He said there was something about that conversation that just gave him a gut feeling that wasn’t good.
This story should serve as a bellwether for Jeff’s keen ability to read people – something that he’d later turn into a career.
On Oct. 3-4, 1993, Jeff remembers watching news coverage of the Battle of Mogadishu, or Day of the Rangers, that occurred in Somalia. The following Monday, Jeff was in the Army recruiter’s office, joining the elite Army Rangers.
From his time in the Rangers, to a tour in Korea, then back to the U.S., he rose through the ranks quickly. At 25 years old, he attended the U.S. Army Drill Sergeant School at Ft. Jackson and became the youngest Drill Sergeant on the base.
Close to a decade would pass before Jeff was sent to combat. On his first mission in Baghdad, Iraq, where he was responsible for a team of soldiers, his convoy was blown up. A car detonated right next to the truck they were in. Miraculously, everyone on his team survived, but it caused Jeff to learn an important lesson very quickly: leadership development is critical.
“I was literally in a situation where I needed to develop leaders immediately because something could have happened to any one of us at any given time,” he said.
It was that experience that taught him how to spot potential and how to quickly develop others.
“I have a leadership skill and a people skill,” Kane said. “That’s what I got out of the military.”
After more than 20 years of service in the Army, Jeff got a call from a family friend and financial advisor. He asked Jeff what he wanted to do when he retired from the Army, and he encouraged Jeff to apply for a job as a branch manager at a national bank.
Jeff got the job … but he was assigned a branch that was the bottom of the barrel in sales. “We were 125 of 125. I took the team and had them look at what they were doing in a different light. We went from worst to first in 60 days.”
Jeff has many stories like this, demonstrating his ability to shift both sales and customer satisfaction scores. It’s his ability to change mindsets and spur action that made him a great candidate to teach South State’s Relationship Management Workshops, which he helped launch in November 2016, after joining the bank four months prior. Since then, he’s trained branch staff across our four-state footprint.
“The love I have of helping others and my love of training has meant that I have dipped my toe into everything I could here,” Kane said. “Culturally, I believe this is an exceptional company, and I want to do everything I can to help it succeed.”
Continuing the culture of caring for our communities and our customers that South State is known for, Jeff and his Corporate Learning team are performing a special service for our active duty military in honor of Veterans Day. They’ve been collecting in-kind donations from South State locations in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia to deliver to Soldiers via the USO.
“I’ve been the recipient of Soldier Boxes and the services of the USO,” Jeff said. “I know how much it means to know someone cares about you and is sending you a little something from home. I wanted someone else to be able to experience it, too”.
“My son is in the Army. He’s stationed in Germany, and when he had some problems with a flight, I told him ‘Go to the USO. They will take care of you.’ They’re a wonderful organization.”
To Jeff and all of the veterans who work for South State – thank you for your service. On Veterans Day and every day, we appreciate all of the sacrifices you’ve made for our country, and we are honored to call you co-workers at South State.