Diane Hughes serves as executive vice president, director of mortgage at UMB Bank. Leading a team through a pandemic can be a challenging task, but Diane is using her experience to elevate the team to new heights.

Your team has been very busy this year, what have you learned through the pandemic?

The pandemic changed everything in our business. Interest rates are historically low, which created an extremely high production volume for us. We quickly learned how to work from home, which was a surprisingly smooth process. The team found innovative solutions to care for our clients, like going to a client’s home and staying outside but passing documents through the door to get signatures or having digital meeting. Our team is doing whatever it takes to ensure all our client’s financial needs are being met during this interesting time.

We also discovered we could expand our search for great talent because of our ability to successfully work from home. We found the silver lining during this difficult time by working together as a team.

What is your favorite part of your job as director of mortgage at UMB?

If I had to pick just one thing, I would say my favorite part of the job is the ability to pass on my knowledge and build a reliable mortgage team that will enhance UMB’s product offering and have fun doing it. This makes my job exciting and different every day.

I’ve dedicated my entire career to promoting and providing financing for homeownership. I love having the opportunity to grow the mortgage department for UMB and support our clients as they prepare to move into their dream homes.

How do you like to lead your team?

As a leader, I listen, ask questions and learn from my team. I’ve created a clear vision for the mortgage team to grow the business and provide UMB’s impeccable service to our clients. The feedback I receive about what’s happening in the day-to-day client interactions is imperative and directly impacts the long-term strategy I set so the team can flourish.

The mortgage team is full of tenured professionals who are always open to new and creative solutions for our clients. They know what is expected and they all strive to provide the best experience for our clients and work as efficiently as possible. Having a strong team that understands the business and cares deeply for our clients makes being a leader even more fun.

How do you practice self care during the pandemic?

The pandemic immediately changed my way of life. Working from home was a big shift, and with the increased production for my team, the hours became longer and longer. For me, I decided to change my daily routine and spend some more time outside. I have a small barn with horses, so getting outside and grooming them has been very therapeutic and allowed me to step away from the hectic schedule and clear my thoughts. Of course, a little barn and outdoor time comes with dirt, which means video meetings might happen in a t-shirt and ballcap, but a little fresh air and time away is good for the soul!

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