Jim Patterson: What I’ve learned after 45 years of banking
Jim Patterson, CEO of UMB Bank Arizona, was recently honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the Phoenix Business Journal’s 2019 Most Admired Leaders awards, In this blog, Jim shares thoughts on his career at UMB and what is planned for Arizona.
After 45 years in the banking industry, you learn a few lessons about life, career and community. I’ve been fortunate enough to have had the chance to learn and grow from a variety of experiences with colleagues, clients and dear friends. I’ve learned many lessons along the way, each of which has guided me and taught me something I continue to carry with me. When I look back on it all, however, there are three lessons that have impacted my life and career the most: exploring, listening and serving.
I spent much of my childhood living abroad. My father’s career took us to Colombia, Peru and Japan. I graduated from The American School in Japan– high school–before coming back to the States for college. The opportunity to live in several different countries opened my eyes to new cultures, cultural differences and often differing ways of thinking.
I believe those experiences taught me the importance of diversity and how great differences can be. In my adult years, I’ve continued to travel with my family and expose my kids to different cities and cultures. After every new country I visit, I come back with a different perspective and experience to share, which in turn benefits my career and community.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned during my career is how to listen to others and how important that single quality is. I enjoy surrounding myself with different people so I can hear their ideas and solutions. Everyone has a unique perspective to offer the world.
Listening also gives me the opportunity to build relationships and makes others feel more comfortable. It provides an opportunity for everyone in the room to be heard and know that their opinions and ideas are valued. In my experience, I’ve found this also creates a more collaborative environment, one that fosters teamwork and open dialogue, and allows teams to achieve better results.
I get great satisfaction from serving others. I have learned so much through my service to the community. For me, it is important to find multiple causes I am passionate about and then commit to those causes. During my career, I have worked with many organizations—currently the Phoenix Art Museum, CEOs against Cancer and DC Ranch Community Council.
My board service at the Phoenix Art Museum has been particularly valuable in helping me develop a greater appreciation of art, but also its relevance to community, diversity and education. With a large board of trustees, I have gained greater appreciation for compromise, and the importance of listening to others in making tough decisions— building consensus.
A lasting impact
During my 45-year career, I’ve had countless occasions to put these three primary lessons into action, and each time, the experience has given me even more important takeaways. Each lesson has opened new doors for me, and I am thankful for the many different opportunities I’ve had during my career. And as I move forward in my career and life, I am always looking for ways to explore, listen and serve.
The Lifetime Achievement Award is part of the Phoenix Business Journal’s 2019 Most Admired Leaders awards, which recognize CEOs, executive directors and others who show they have helped guide their companies to success. View photos from the event.
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