Meet the Leadership Series: UMBFC President & COO Peter deSilva
Q&A with Peter deSilva
East Coast to Midwest: Find out why Peter deSilva found himself at home at UMB.
What about your past shaped who you are today?
I grew up near the ocean in a very traditional American family in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. My parents were great role models and teachers for me. I lived in the same house for 25 years until I moved to Boston to work for Fidelity.
I spent most of my summers at the beach. My first job was clamming. My mom would drop me off at 9 a.m. and pick me up at 4 p.m. and take me to Porky’s fish House where I’d sell my two bushels for $12. So the whole day of work for $12.
I went to the local public college and worked 60 hours a week to pay for my tuition. I worked in a movie theater for eight years as an usher and concession clerk and then manager.
My parents always said, “You’re never going to have everything you want, but you’re always going to have everything you need.” And that’s the principle I grew up under.
I met my wife, Michelle, when she turned me down for a job as one of 20 people who interviewed me. I ended up getting the job anyway at Fidelity and didn’t know she voted against hiring me until we were engaged. Now we have two daughters who are 20 and 17.
Moving to Kansas City
When I showed up on the shores of the Missouri River, it was definitely a different experience than Plymouth Rock where I previously lived next to. But we adjusted better than I thought we might. The bigger challenge has been being away from our family who all still live in Massachusetts within a mile with each other. My children are now an interesting mix of Midwestern and East Coast.
Kansas City is a perfect city in terms of size. It’s sophisticated even to some extent on the level of Boston and New York, but it’s manageable. There is a real sense of community and pride here.
And as far as my professional career, I have loved being part of the UMB story for more than a decade now.
I think it’s an obligation. I don’t know how a community gets better unless everyone works together to make it better. So I connect my personal passions with what I try to get UMB involved in.
My parents were big givers, too. They didn’t have much financially, but they gave their time, and passions to things they cared deeply about. So that inspired me to always get involved. I want my children to see that too and understand government isn’t always the solution. Individuals through not for profit organizations provide the support that those less fortunate need. It’s our communities’ responsibility and opportunity, and so I take it personally.
My mom was a nurse and started a support group she never told us about. After she passed away, I found out how much she did through this group for parents who had lost a child during birth. She had helped hundreds of people. It always stuck with me as a selfless thing for someone to do. in the end the three things that matter most are faith, family and friends. I try to hold true to this.
What are your favorite ways to spend a weekend?
Waking up in the summer on Cape Cod and not having a plan. I might go fishing, clamming or lobstering to get that night’s dinner. I love to sit and look at the ocean and relax from the everyday stresses of life.
Mr. deSilva is president and chief operating officer of UMB Financial Corporation. He is also vice chairman of UMB Bank, n.a. Mr. deSilva joined UMB in January 2004. He is primarily responsible for UMB's fee-producing business units and product lines, including Scout Investments; UMB Fund Services, UMB Healthcare Services Payment Solutions, Prairie Capital Management. Additionally, he is responsible for all corporate operations, technology, properties, security and marketing.