Cindy Stephens, vice president and branch manager, was named as a “Women who lead in financial services” industry by the Wichita Business Journal. Learn more about her in this Q&A.

How did you become involved in financial services?

I began working in the financial industry as a mortgage loan processor over 30 years ago in California. I moved back to the Midwest and began working for another banking institution as a teller. I was rapidly promoted within the bank to manager due to my interest in assisting customers in meeting their financial needs.

What has been your career path?

Teller then personal banker, next to loan processor and now a branch manager.

Best advice for young women who want to be a part of the industry?

I believe as women we can make a big difference in our customers lives utilizing our ability to be good listeners and then offer the best advice. If you are willing to work hard in your industry of choice and truly care about making a difference in people’s lives, you will be successful. I also believe we must discipline ourselves to know what is right and take the high road of maintaining the highest ethical standards.

Who are your mentors and how have they influenced your career?

One of my mentors was Cathy White, a former regional manager for UMB Bank. She inspired me to be my best and never give up when times were challenging. It is easy for women to feel like we are not as strong or assertive in leadership as compared to our male counterparts. I feel some of that comes from belief in our self. It is inspiring to me to have had other women leaders who were open and encouraged my development while setting a strong example. I have also felt inspired by women political leaders in the past such as former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. She held up during intense pressure throughout her career in a graceful manner.

What are you doing to mentor women in financial services?

I focus on women who work with me at UMB to inspire their development. I work with the associates to empower them to feel truly excited about making a difference in the financial lives of our customers daily. We meet monthly to review their goals and discuss next steps for their advancement.

What female leaders do you admire?

Condoleezza Rice and Margaret Thatcher.

Read more about Cindy Stephens and this recognition as in her profile with the Wichita Business Journal‡.

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