Meet the leadership series: Uma Wilson (Director of Bank Products)
Q&A with Uma Wilson, Director of Bank Products
Get to know UMB’s leadership a little better.
Tell us about yourself.
I was born and grew up in India until my early teens. I am an only child and I suppose I got way too much attention. My mom, especially, was very keen on my studies (all the credit goes to her)! I was fortunate enough to graduate with honors and was offered an internship at 16 to come to the United States to work for a Fortune 100 company. I learned a ton in this journey, especially the meaning of humility. I was faced with a huge cultural change and like any teen, I struggled a bit. Luckily, though, I was surrounded by good mentors that taught me a ton more than any book did.
What about your past shaped who you are today? My parents taught me the value of hard work and at the same time the value of people. Growing up I had to work really hard to sustain my placement in a private school which was expensive for my parents. I’m thankful to my sponsors who believed in me and gave me every opportunity which in turn defined my future. Tell us about your family. John and I have been married for 10 years. We have a daughter, Arianna, 8, and a stepson, Aiden, 12. John works for a leading banking technology provider and travels around the world a ton. The kids keep us busy with their activities. During down time we like to spend time together either heading to the park, riding bicycles or watching movies. Why did you choose UMB? Looking back, I’m glad UMB gave me an opportunity to join. The world we live in is a small community. Throughout my tenure in banking, I’ve always been impressed by the level of commitment, expertise and passion shown by those I’ve met at UMB. This is a primary driver for my commitment to our company. How do you like to get involved with your industry and give back? I’m involved in several associations where I hold board positions to represent UMB. It’s an exciting time to be in the industry associations where you are driving changes and introducing rules that drive payments growth and strategy. My next goal is to get involved in the civic side of the community to give back. Specifically, I would like to spend time with organizations focused on poverty and education to make a difference in our community. Favorite hobbies? Lately, my daughter is into Harry Potter and we have been binge reading together. So, I like to read, and I’m a curious soul for most part. I constantly like to learn about a variety of topics. Where is your favorite place to travel? We have done a few family trips together from beaches to metropolitan cities. But, one of my bucket list items for the family is a trip to India. I would like to take my family to the places I grew up and share my memories with them. What are your favorite ways to spend a weekend? John and I like to read, so reading a book with no interruption is a great way to spend a weekend. Needless to say, a day without an argument between the kids will be a Kodak moment! Tell us about your team—Bank Product Group
I’m honored to have a team that is hardworking and humble. I strive to be a good leader. All the credit goes to my team because we have a mutual goal in our mind—providing state-of-industry products and solutions to our internal and external clients. I have teammates that joined us less than a year ago, and I have associates that have been with us for more than 20 years.
What does your team do differently?
Teamwork is a large part of our success. We like to bring a high level of collaboration and build on each other strengths. Product managers typically work in silos given the nature of the product they own. However, our team makes time to learn from each other and assist one another to drive results. I’m a very open person, and there are many times that I’m very direct in explaining my vision and agenda for our team. At the same time, though, I value the opinion and feedback from my team. They make me a better leader every day.
What is the greatest challenge facing the industry right now?
Currently the world of banking is in a state of change, we are experiencing a wave of new regulations (e.g., Dodd-Frank‡, etc.) that are affecting the way we do business. Along with the new mix of technology (e.g., ApplePay, Samsung Pay, Paypal, etc.) and market players the current state of banking will continue to evolve to match the new market dynamics.
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