Begonya Klumb is one of the most influential business women in Kansas City, and that’s not just our opinion. She has been recognized by KC Business Magazine, the KC Business Journal as well as American Banker Magazine‡ who named her one of the Most Powerful Women in Banking Top 25 Women to Watch.

We recently talked with Begonya to learn more about her background, inspiration, and passion for giving back to her community.

Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in a very happy home in Spain, where my parents still live. I’m blessed to come from a 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 admire her deeply—she was the inspiration for me to study business and economics.

What was the most important business lesson your grandmother taught you?

People matter most. Her business was one of the largest employers in our small community. The way she treated individuals and their families affected her ability to run the business. She cared and it showed. Employees were eager to work hard for her, and they remained very loyal. To this day, more than 20 years after her passing, people in town will stop me to share stories about my grandmother.

How did you land in the U.S.?

Love! My husband was a student at the London School of Economics when we met. We married and lived in Europe for a few years before coming to the United States in 2001. I attended Yale University for an MBA, and we decided to make our home in Kansas City, where he was born.

We have two children, ages nine and eleven. We’re at that point in our lives where we run the circuit of school activities, soccer games and piano lessons. Weekends are busy, with family, which is perfect.

How has your career evolved at UMB, and what is your day to day like?

Prior to my current role, I served in a number of positions at UMB including Chief Strategy Officer, Director of Corporate Strategy and Development, Director of Financial Planning & Analysis, Director of Mergers & Acquisitions and Director of Corporate Strategy and Investor Relations.

Today, I am the CEO of UMB Healthcare Services. Day-to-day I’m responsible for managing all aspects of the business, which includes nearly $2 billion in assets and deposits.

When your daughter is grown and reflecting back like you are now, what would you hope she says about you to her children?

Your grandmother was part of a generation of business leaders who addressed biases that you will never even notice, because they no longer exist.

What advice would you give to future female business leaders?

Lead from the front.


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