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UMB Leadership Series: Vicky Hales

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Every year, UMB presents Leadership Awards to a select group of associates who best demonstrate the attributes and behaviors our company values the most. While many of our associates admire, learn from, and are inspired by award winners like Vicky Hales – who was recognized this year in the “Actively Promotes UMB in the Community” category – it’s easy to think of them only as the person they are in the present. However, the narrative of her career has an origin story and an arc that is anchored to the events, experiences and mentors that she has encountered along the way.

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In 1990, Vicky started her career with UMB as a teller in Belleville, Illinois, and in mid-1993, she moved North to the Swansea, Illinois UMB branch to work as the assistant manager. It was there Vicky says she met the first of her mentors, Cathy Hayden who introduced Vicky to the concept of “the unparalleled customer experience.”

“Of course we didn’t call it that back then,” she says, “but that’s exactly what we were doing. Cathy, helped me develop the skills that enabled me to think outside the box in order to be able to provide ‘TUCE’ for my clients.”

Several years later, Vicky continued to build on her career successes, and earned a role as a regional trainer with the responsibility of developing a training program from scratch. This is where she met her next mentor, Joe Thompson.

“Joe was the regional manager of the St. Louis region at the time. He trusted me to take ownership of the creation of a training program that, before I started, had not existed. Joe also helped me to understand and develop the skills to navigate the different dynamics in a work place in order to accomplish goals.”

While many think of navigating group dynamics as only applying to teams you’re working on, Vicky says that it also applies to teams you’re leading, and an important component of that is understanding how to set expectations.

“If you’re out at night and see people on the street, you’ll notice that they naturally shy away from following poorly lit paths because it’s unclear about what’s at the end or how it will get them to where they want to go. Similarly, in my role, I always want illuminate the path to our goal so that people see clearly how we can get there. That means setting clear expectations, and gaining buy-in, from the team about the best way to reach a target.  If you are successful at setting the expectation and gaining the team’s buy-in then driving performance is simply encouragement and celebrating the milestones along the way.  Regular coaching helps too so that you can help remove roadblocks as they arise.”

Most recently Vicky has worked with Consumer Director of the West Territory, Alex Rasmussen.

“Since I’ve met him, he’s always inspired me to reach for the top.  Once he challenged me about why I wasn’t number one in the company, and guess what? I became #1 in the company that year.  He is the very definition of a great leader.”

Today, Vicky says that she has several management philosophies that she tries to live by.

The first of which is next to her desk, and pinned to the right of a picture of Michael Jordan. It states, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.  The last is to say thank you.  In between, the leader is a servant.”

-Max De Pree
Leadership is an Art

The second one is paraphrased to use the feminine pronoun vs the masculine one and says, “A good manager is a woman who isn’t worried about her own career but rather the careers of those who work for her.”

-H.M.S. Burns President
Shell Oil Co.

“By keeping these close to my desk,” says Vicky, “it helps remind me that I’m most proud when I’m serving my team to help them reach goals that are meaningful to them.  Whether it’s a production goal or a promotion, it’s gratifying to me to see their success, and that I’m hopefully passing on the lessons that I’ve learned from the many great leaders who have inspired me.”

Interested in learning more about careers at UMB? See what we mean when we say, “Be Part of Something More.


UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a diversified financial holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking services, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona and Texas, as well as two national specialty-lending businesses. Subsidiaries of the holding company include companies that offer services to mutual funds and alternative-investment entities and registered investment advisors that offer equity and fixed income strategies to institutions and individual investors.



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Inside UMB: The benefits of yoga at work

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This post is part of our “Inside UMB” series, offering a look at our company’s culture and stories about our people.  

Cathy Tadlock is an Executive Assistant at UMB and the instructor for the company’s onsite yoga classes for associates, which offer modifications to postures to be inclusive of all attendees.

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The benefits of yoga

Cathy started her yoga journey a few years ago, searching for a way to add physical exercise into her busy schedule without having to go to a gym. Through her yoga practice, Cathy has discovered more than she anticipated and is now sharing this passion with her colleagues, in hopes they gain the same benefits.

“I used to suffer from terrible migraines multiple times a week. This has been greatly reduced and is now easily managed. I’m in better shape now than I was at age 20 and have a greater sense of community through teaching,” Cathy said.

“Associates can gain better concentration and focus through practicing yoga at work. A happy person feels better, is more relaxed and can counteract some of the effects of sitting at a desk.”

Onsite yoga classes at UMB

UMB’s onsite yoga classes are offered twice per week for associates during the lunch hour in the downtown Kansas City office. With a UMB’s focus on associate health and wellness in mind, these classes provide a break in the workday routine and exposure to co-workers who might share similar interests.

At UMB, Cathy teaches Vinyasa Flow, a form of yoga for any skill level, which focuses on breathing and posture techniques. Cathy explained, “We don’t do the complex postures you see on social media—we focus on linking movement with your breath.”

“I love that yoga can be adapted for anyone, and it is a very personal journey. Each day is different when you step on your mat. I have learned to set aside my ego and competitive self while practicing yoga,” Cathy shared.

“I was so excited when I learned I would be able to share yoga with fellow UMB associates. I have the best of both worlds: I work with a great group of people and get to meet new faces from across the company through yoga.”

Learn more about UMB’s associate benefits at umb.com/careers.


UMB Financial Corporation (Nasdaq: UMBF) is a diversified financial holding company headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., offering complete banking services, payment solutions, asset servicing and institutional investment management to customers. UMB operates banking and wealth management centers throughout Missouri, Illinois, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Arizona and Texas, as well as two national specialty-lending businesses. Subsidiaries of the holding company include companies that offer services to mutual funds and alternative-investment entities and registered investment advisors that offer equity and fixed income strategies to institutions and individual investors.



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UMB: Inspiration – Private Wealth Management

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UMB prides itself on being a financial institution with a heartbeat. We are passionate about what we do and want to share what inspires us.

Dana’s father inspired her to be a leader, her small business owner mother influenced her commercial banking roots and several mentors helped to shape her career. Hear more about what inspires the leader of our Private Wealth Management department.

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Dana Abraham is president of the Personal Banking Division and is responsible for the delivery of comprehensive financial services. Her areas of focus include Wealth Planning, Private Banking, Personal Trust, Investment Management and Insurance. She joined UMB in 2005 and has more than 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Abraham earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in both accounting and economics from the University of Louisiana. She is a graduate of Leadership Overland Park and Kansas City Tomorrow Leadership programs.



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UMB: Inspiration – Agriculture

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UMB prides itself on being a financial institution with a heartbeat. We are passionate about what we do and want to share what inspires us with our readers.

Bill Watson, president of UMB Agribusiness, kicks off the UMB: Inspiration series as he shares why he loves agriculture. Take a minute to listen to what inspires him.

“I like agriculture because of the people, because they’re solid. They’re honest. I like agriculture because it’s beautiful. I get to drive across this country and see fields of cotton, wheat, corn and soybeans growing. It makes my heart good.”

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Mr. Watson serves as president of the UMB Agribusiness Division. He joined UMB in August of 2005 and has also served as the president of the UMB Kansas region. Watson is a graduate of Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana with a major in Psychology. He has also attended The Colorado School of Banking, The National Commercial Lending School (where he has also been an instructor), and the Stonier Graduate School of Banking.



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