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Who has shaped your career?

In honor of Women’s History Month, UMB associates shared stories about women who have served as mentors in their lives. From tales of career advice to lessons on perseverance, the below is just a sampling of the females UMBers are honoring this month and throughout the year.

Associate: Christin Davies My female mentor was my great-grandmother and her daughter, my grandmother. When my grandmother was only 2 years old, her father passed away from a heart attack. He was quite young and so was my great-grandmother, who then had to take on raising five daughters on her own and also took over her husband’s auto parts company. This was in 1928, when it was quite unusual to have a female run a business, especially an automotive business. However, my great-grandmother stepped right in and got to work. She told me she didn’t have time to grieve or worry; she had a family to raise and many mouths to feed. Without support from family nearby, she just went to work. She told me many things about being a woman in a man’s world and her advice was invaluable. She was the best mentor a young lady could have, and as for my grandmother, she too worked and raised children. My grandmother was always my champion and never let me feel alone. I am so grateful to have had these strong and loving women in my life. I would not be who I am today if it were not for their guidance and support. Associate: Pauline Witmer A mentor who has inspired me happens to be inside UMB: Alyssa Burke. If you have ever met her, you know exactly why I would think of her. Alyssa brings positivity and understanding wherever she goes. No problem is too big or small for her. In being a wonderful go-to resource, Alyssa inspires those around her to tackle things they may otherwise have thought out of their reach. I started at UMB in the Service Center and knew I wanted to advance; it was my first job after graduating college so I felt a bit unsure of how to sell myself. After going through training with Alyssa, I was inspired by her positivity and how relatable she was to everyone around her. She made me feel like we were ‘in it together.’  I eventually approached Alyssa as I started looking to advance my career. She was more than open to the idea and, through that conversation, inspired me to be more assertive at work. We came to realize our career stories and goals were rather similar, which encouraged me to stay the course. I see Alyssa less, now that I’ve moved into a new role, but knowing how much she genuinely cares about everyone at UMB, internally and externally, inspires me to stay positive, assertive, and to go for the goals that seem too big. Associate: Caleb Vanstrom I worked in various industries before arriving at UMB, but there is one common thread leading to the success of any business and its people: a healthy feedback culture. I remember when I started working at a call center and had my first coaching conversation with my Team Lead. I appreciated her candid, yet constructive, feedback style. She always asked questions to draw out the “why” behind any change that helped with my success in customer service, and later on, my leadership abilities. What really differentiated by Team Lead, besides being one of few female leads on the floor, was that she taught her team how to give and receive feedback and appreciate feedback like an expensive gift. It was the training I later received that helped me become a good manager, but she is the one who instilled in me the necessary skills to become a successful leader. I appreciate all my first Team Lead did to assist my development, and I try to pass along to others everything she taught me. For further inspiration, read quotes from associates’ favorite women in history. In addition, explore career opportunities at UMB here.



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