Begonya Klumb is one of the most influential women in Kansas City, and that’s not just our opinion at UMB. This is KC magazine recently named her as one of their honorees‡. Read more to find out how she feels about this honor, growing up in Spain and her passion for business.
How does it feel to be named one of Kansas City’s Most Influential Women?
I’m flattered, of course, and it raises the bar for me because I want to live up to expectations.
What’s your favorite accomplishment in your 11 years at UMB?
When I was head of Mergers and Acquisitions, we completed 20 acquisitions in 3 ½ years. It’s what I was in charge of doing, and I believe it made a difference in the company. That’s a very satisfying feeling of accomplishment.
What inspired you growing up and what led you to where you are today?
I was raised in a comfortable and very happy home in Spain, where my parents live. I am blessed to come from a very close-knit and supportive family.
My maternal grandmother was an important influence on me. She built the family business, a shoe manufacturing and export company. She was extremely business-minded, and had a strong personality. Until her last days, people in town called her “la Jefa,” “the Boss!” I admired her deeply and she is why I studied economics and business.
How did you end up in the United States?
After college, I got an Erasmus‡ scholarship to do graduate work in Germany and England. It was an exciting time around the European Union, with the lead-up to the single currency. I learned about practical macro-economics and European business, but also about myself – living and studying in different countries and different languages. I also developed a deeper appreciation of my own strengths and weaknesses.
I met my husband while he was a student at the London School of Economics. We got married and lived in Europe for a few years before coming to the United States in 2001. I went to Yale for an MBA, and then we decided to make our home in Kansas City, where he was born.
What is your day-to-day like at UMB and how has it evolved?
I am responsible for strategic planning. I enjoy sitting down with UMB leaders to think through strategy. It’s good to know these leaders well, learn their challenges, and answer the question, “where will we take the business?”
Of course, acquisitions are a big part of strategy. I built the Mergers and Acquisitions department back in 2008. That’s one of the things we’re very focused on today and a key component to what I do.
Where do you choose to give back?
Through UMB, I got involved with MOCSA‡ many years ago. I was also the Board Chair of the Mattie Rhodes Center‡ – which is involved in the community through social services, mental health counseling, and the arts. My husband and I were actively involved in a capital campaign for our children’s school, trying to grow the school to accommodate more students from the community.
Community involvement is very rewarding, and has been a tremendous learning experience, requiring me to grow as a leader.
Describe your perfect Saturday.
My perfect weekend is with my family. Our children are six and eight, so I realize time with them is precious and fleeting.
We are at that point in our lives where we run the circuit of school activities and soccer games and piano lessons. Weekends are busy, with family, which is perfect.
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Ms. Klumb serves as executive vice president, chief strategy officer. She joined UMB in 2003. She received a Master of Business Administration from Yale University and a Bachelor of Science in Economics from Universitat d'Alacant. Ms. Klumb is actively involved in the community, having served on a number of boards including the Mattie Rhodes Center and Academie Lafayette.
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