We invite you to download our 2022 Corporate Citizenship and ESG Report. This report includes details on our approach to environmental, social and governance (ESG) programs and metrics in our employer standards, community connections, environmental policies and risk management practices.
Here, we highlight our business resource groups (BRG) which help create a culture of inclusion and diversity at UMB.
What are BRGs?
BRGs are associate-led groups comprised of associates with common interests across UMB’s offices and locations. These groups are valuable resources to our business lines by enhancing associate engagement and professional development, providing insight to leaders, and embracing and building a more inclusive culture.
Involvement in a business resource group also provides associates with leadership development, project and change management opportunities, mentorship from executives, community volunteerism, and networking with colleagues.
In 2023, our BRGs focused on engaging the business, the community and associates, framed by the unique perspective of each group. All BRGs organize and participate in volunteer opportunities throughout the year as another way to support and strengthen our connections.
A glimpse into each UMB BRG
The mission of the Abilities BRG is to build awareness and create understanding that everyone has unique and valuable abilities. By identifying challenges and opportunities, we disable barriers and heighten awareness. In 2023, this group has organized several community involvement opportunities across the country. These include volunteering with The Whole Person‡, as well as hosting presentations for celebrating diversity and building mental resilience.
The current Abilities BRG chair is Josh Palmer, vice president and senior consumer credit officer. Below is his perspective:
Personal experiences and experiences of my loved ones led me to realize everyone has a story that deserves listening and understanding. Too often we make assumptions about someone or something without really understanding or even knowledge of the whole picture and their story.
When it comes to fostering inclusivity, open communication is a key first step. You must care to listen and understand their perspective, including but not limited to their wants, thoughts, and needs.
With Abilities BRG you are more than a member, you are a difference maker.
The Asian American BRG’s mission is to cultivate awareness and understanding on issues of race, culture, gender, and ethnic identities in support of fostering an inclusive culture to engage and retain Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander talent.
In 2023, this group hosted a Lunar New Year celebration, was active in the community and at UMB for Asian American and Pacific Islanders (AAPI) Heritage Month in May.
Current chair, Ashok Meka, vice president, senior manager business data analytics, Service Center, shares his perspective on BRGs at UMB:
I think the most effective ways to foster inclusivity are by creating a safe and welcoming environment where everyone feels valued and respected. It’s important to actively listen to individuals, acknowledge their differences, and strive to understand their perspectives. Encouraging open communication, promoting diversity and representation, and providing equal opportunities for growth and development can also help to foster inclusivity. Additionally, educating ourselves on different cultures and experiences can help us to become more empathetic and understanding towards others.
B-EPIC (Blacks for Empowering People Through Inclusion and Collaboration)
B-EPIC’s mission is to encourage all UMB associates interested in “diversity of thought” to align with Black/African American associates to facilitate collaboration, unique perspectives, and inclusive dialogue across all aspects of UMB culture.
In 2023, the group hosted a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Reflection, Black History Month and Juneteenth celebrations, and a back-to-school fundraiser.
BRG Chair, Danielle Bias, vice president, leadership development consultant, shares her perspective:
I was a part of B-EPIC as a member for several years but in 2020 when the Black Lives Matter movement became more prominent in America I knew I wanted to become more involved. I took the Chair role in April 2021 and I believe in the importance of supporting and uplifting the Black community within our organization. As a member of this group, I saw an opportunity to contribute to fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace. I also wanted to be part of a network of individuals who are passionate about addressing the unique challenges and opportunities Black professionals face. It’s a platform where I can actively participate in initiatives that promote growth, empowerment, and collaboration among our Black colleagues and advocates, and I’m committed to making a positive impact within our organization through these efforts.
The Pride BRG aims to continue building a culture that embraces equality and creates an engaged workforce of LGBTQIA+ associates, clients and customers. In 2023, the BRG participated in the local AIDS walk and multiple Pride Month celebrations at UMB locations throughout the country.
The current Pride BRG chair, Jessica Pickering, personal banker II, shares her perspective:
I joined the Pride BRG last April in 2022. I was feeling this urge to be more involved and engaged with the company and associates. As someone who is part of the LGBTQ+ community, it was important to me to join a group that aligned with my values, beliefs, community, and really inspired me to give back and contribute not only to the associates and the community we partner with but the company I work for.
The SOMOS BRG works to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of UMB to recruit, retain and develop Hispanic/Latino talent, and develop a client and market connection through community involvement. Somos is derived from the verb “ser” which means “to be”. Somos is the first-person plural verb form which means “we are.”
In 2023, the SOMOS BRG hosted a Cinco de Mayo and Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations.
The SOMOS BRG chair, Paulo Murguia, senior risk analyst, third party corporate risk management, shared:
What led me to join the SOMOS BRG was the involvement in the Latino/Hispanic communities. The SOMOS BRG provided resources to local nonprofit agencies when it came to banking and volunteering resources during Hispanic Heritage Month. Creating cultural awareness for UMB employees associates fosters inclusivity and creates a sense of belonging, respect, and value for everyone’s perspective, regardless of their differences. This enables equal opportunities, resources, and decision making.
Veterans Engagement Taskforce (VET)
The VET BRG offers engagement opportunities for UMB associates who are Veterans, military family members, or passionate about Veteran support. This group is also highly involved in volunteering with organizations that serve Veterans across UMB’s communities.
In 2023, the BRG hosted a Memorial Day and Veterans Day celebration, and volunteered at the Veteran’s Community Project.
BRG Chair, Skyler Smith, portfolio manager, commercial loans, shares her perspective:
My manager highly encouraged everyone to join a BRG, so I joined the Veterans BRG to get involved in the community and meet new people. I felt the Veterans BRG was the BRG that I could relate to the most as my grandpa was a veteran himself. For the rest of the year, we want to emphasize our appreciation to our UMB veterans. We’ve done a lot for the community around us, so now it’s time to recognize the veterans who we work with every day!
The Women’s BRG strives to empower women, and their advocates, by promoting financial literacy, facilitating networking opportunities, supporting the local community, and encouraging personal and professional growth within UMB.
In 2023, the group has hosted a self-defense class, a Women’s History Month celebration, an Ovarian Cancer Awareness and Breast Cancer awareness month event along with regular executive networking opportunities.
BRG Chair, Dana Dorssom, senior vice president, director of corporate compliance shares her perspective:
I love to see the Women’s BRG strengthen activities and opportunities towards our mission statement, including facilitating networking opportunities, supporting the local community, and encouraging personal and professional growth within UMB. The Women’s BRG works to actively engage the community through coordinated volunteer opportunities and to develop associates through mentorship and networking opportunities.
The Young Professionals BRG works to improve UMB’s effectiveness and efficiency in educating, retaining and developing young talent, building a connection with the community, and ensuring young professionals’ voices are leveraged in business strategy.
The group regularly hosts social events and coffee events for networking. An upcoming event will feature UMB leadership on the topic of personal and professional development.
Young Professionals BRG chair, Skyler Aldrich, HR associate relations partner, shared:
Being able to make connections outside of my typical day-to-day is one of the biggest reasons I joined a BRG and why I encourage others to get involved. Networking across the organization not only forges bonds for associates individually, but on a wider scale it strengthens the relationships and understanding we have across departments. The Young Professionals BRG is full of associates in discovery mode. Being a part of keeping that momentum going is what continues to drive my engagement.
Learn more about UMB’s culture by downloading the 2022 Corporate Citizenship and ESG Report.
To learn more about UMB and our connections to the communities we serve, visit our community involvement page and follow us on Facebook‡ and LinkedIn ‡.
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