Celebrating differences

It’s no secret that inclusion and diversity are important parts of what drives our culture at UMB, but do you ever ask yourself, “How can I be more inclusive?” Who better to answer that question than our 2020 Leadership Award Winners for Inclusion and Diversity:

  • Trevor French, director of implementation and services
  • Jim Caniglia, director of consumer credit risk
  • Derrick Loutsch, commercial real estate relationship manager.

We recently sat down with the winners to discuss how they put UMB’s inclusion and diversity values into action, personally and professionally.

Be intentional

One of the best pieces of career advice Jim received came from Tom Terry, UMB chief credit officer. When Jim interviewed with UMB 10 years ago, Tom shared that one of the character traits he values most is someone who strives to always do the right thing, even if it’s not popular. A big part of living this out is being intentional.

Addressing inequities is about intent. Creating a truly inclusive environment takes a lot of deliberate action and thoughtfulness. You must be intentional about who is in the room when decisions are being made. And, extend the definition of inclusion beyond listening to all perspectives to understanding them.

Having a difficult time getting everyone to speak up? When you know a person feels passionately about something, but they aren’t speaking up, Jim recommends framing a question that will pull them into the conversation without being too obvious.

Get curious

Every step of a process requires curiosity. UMB isn’t just a business. It’s comprised of every individual personality and what each brings to the equation. Whether we’re talking about a co-worker, business partner, customer or potential customer, you have to get curious about the person.

Trevor specifically recalls being in sales early in his career and realizing it wasn’t about knocking on doors and saying, “Hey, I’m with the bank and I’d like to earn your business.” What truly matters in earning someone’s trust, and therefore their business, is getting curious about the individual. Questions like, “What do you do?” “How long have you been doing it?” “What are your passions?” come from a place of genuine interest and curiosity, and work to build relationships.

UMB’s goal to deliver the unparalleled customer experience is all about getting to know our clients and building those relationships. It’s what makes us special.

Embrace vulnerability

As a leader, you absolutely must check your title at the door and get out of your comfort zone. Part of doing this is being vulnerable and allowing others to see that vulnerability. One of Derrick’s favorite pieces of advice is understanding that it is OK to fail, just fail forward. Being willing to share your failures and how you have learned from them is an important step in building trust.

It is also crucial to understand the importance of impact versus intent. People sometimes hear things differently than they were intended. Being self-aware and open to feedback is an important part of creating an inclusive environment.

Continue the journey

Nobody’s perfect. No company is perfect. But there is much to be proud of at UMB. UMB offers many ways to get involved, such as Business Resource Groups and volunteer time off activities. We recently donated billboards to Urban League of Greater Kansas City to show our support of Black Lives Matter. Many of our associates sit on the boards of diverse and inclusive organizations. Our BRGs have been hosting inclusion and diversity conversations in our Better Together series, and UMB partnered with the University of Kansas to offer the Inclusion Allies Series to associates. While there is always room for growth, these are just a few of the ways we are turning our words into action.

Remember, like anything worth the effort, inclusion and diversity this is a marathon, not a sprint. We must all continue to press forward to find ways to get more people off the sidelines and into the game.

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