It’s been two years since you’ve taken on the role of president and CEO of UMB Bank. What are some of the “aha” moments you’ve had during that time?
Well, first I can’t believe it has been two years already. So much has changed during that time, and I think it’s fair to say we are living in a whole new world that everyone is still adjusting to. There are several lessons I’ve specifically learned from how we have adapted during the pandemic, but there are a few others I’ll call out as well.
First, be direct. Whether it’s one-to-one meetings, a group discussion or a presentation, it’s important to be clear in your requests, feedback and questions. While I always try to encourage conversation and big ideas, if something seems convoluted or unclear, it’s important to investigate those details through thoughtful and direct questions to ensure everyone is on the same page and understands what the next steps and expectations are. Otherwise, you may find yourself down an unintentional path.
Second, be transparent. This is something I’ve always worked hard to do, but in this role, it’s more important than ever. Being upfront and open with information ensures better collaboration, teamwork and a comprehensive goal to achieve. It also demonstrates trust and instills ownership as everyone understands what is occurring and their role (or how it may affect them).
Finally, be real. We’re all more than our jobs, and getting to know each other is really the best part of our what we do. Everyone has a story and having the privilege to truly “know” your colleagues is what makes coming to work every day enjoyable. Everyone always has more than enough work to do, which can sometimes result in stress and long hours– however, when you’re in the proverbial trenches with people you know and respect, it not only makes it much more pleasant, but usually more productive as well.
Tell us about your background.
I went to high school in Independence, Missouri, and graduated from Missouri State with a finance degree in 1993. I started right out of college with UMB as a credit analyst/management trainee, and I celebrated my 26th anniversary with UMB in April.
Why did you choose UMB right out of college?
UMB was my bank. I opened my first checking account with UMB when I turned 16, and when I graduated college, I thought I was going to be the next great mutual fund manager. Thinking I would need to start as an analyst, I thought the fundamental analysis you would do on the privately held companies in the credit department would be a door-opener to becoming a market analyst. I had no idea I would end up building a lifelong career here.
What are your favorite ways to give back in the community?
I have served on many non-profit boards in the past but have recently pared that down so I can truly focus and spend more time with each one. As I’ve shared before, I spent my high school days just a few short miles from the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library & Museum in Independence, Missouri, and I have fond memories from the time I spent there. Now, as a member of the Library’s Board of Directors, I continue to admire President Truman’s approach to leadership.
I also serve on the boards of the Kansas City Area Development Council, Kansas City Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Council of Kansas City.
Tell us about your family.
My wife Melanie and I live in Leawood. We met in high school, but went to different colleges, and dated off and on for 10 years before getting married in 1997. Melanie has an undergraduate and master’s degree in music education from the Conservatory at UMKC. She taught music in the North Kansas City School District for 10 years before deciding to be a full-time mother. In addition to that very important job, she currently serves as a board member for Variety Club KC and UMKC Conservator.
We have two children. My daughter, Emily, is 18 and is a freshman and active Chi Omega at Texas Christian University. My son, Maddox, is a sophomore at Rockhurst and is an avid diver.
Where is your favorite place to travel and spend a weekend?
I love visiting anywhere with an ocean and golf course! And even though it’s cliché, my favorite way to spend a weekend is with family and friends. We’ve recently entered “lake life” as well, and it’s been a great way to relax and unwind.
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