Meet the leadership: Uma Wilson, executive vice president and director of product management
Uma Wilson, executive vice president and director of product management at UMB Bank, shares how she got her start in banking and how she welcomed challenges along the way.
Growing up in India and moving to the U.S. with her family in the mid-1990s, Uma’s story has been about embracing change and taking on new challenges from the start. She earned degrees in history and computer science at the University of Madras and found her way into banking in Denver working as a consultant for product development.
After four years, she moved to Kansas City where she landed a leadership role as a product management officer and eventually Uma found her way to UMB led a team of banking professionals for more than 15 years.
In 2019, she was named one of the most powerful women in banking by American Banker, a prestigious recognition for women who have made significant accomplishments in the banking industry and are poised to continue growing their leadership, influence and impact in the years to come.
Uma was also recently featured in the Newsmaker column of the Kansas City Business Journal‡. Learn more about Uma’s career growth and philosophy on constantly learning below.
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 14 years. We have a daughter, Arianna, 12, and a stepson, Aiden, 16. 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, reading books or watching movies/shows.
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 24 years 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.
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.
Tell us about your team — Product Management
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.
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.