The Women to Watch: No. 16, UMB's Begonya Klumb
CEO of UMB Healthcare Services, UMB Financial
Of all the mentors Begonya Klumb has had in her career, one stands out as being particularly influential: her grandmother.
Josefa Bonastre founded a shoe manufacturing and export company in the 1940s and by the 1970s it was one of the biggest employers in Monóvar, Spain, Klumb’s hometown. It was Bonastre — “la Jefa” to the people of Monóvar — who encouraged Klumb to study business and economics and who taught her that treating employees with respect is the key to building a successful organization.
Now the head of health care services at UMB Financial in Kansas City, Mo., Klumb has, in short order, established UMB as one of the nation’s foremost administrators of health savings accounts and related products.
When Klumb took over as CEO of the division in 2015, UMB was the nation’s eighth-largest HSA administrator. It is now ranked No. 5, with more than 1 million accounts and $2 billion of assets and deposits under management. The HSA division is the fastest-growing business unit within the $20.1 billion-asset UMB and Klumb aims to maintain that momentum by pursuing strategic acquisitions — it recently bought the health savings portfolio of a bank that has exited the business — and investing in technology that will help customers manage their accounts.
Before taking the helm of the HSA division, Klumb launched and built the first mergers-and-acquisitions unit at UMB and, on her watch, UMB completed more than 20 deals.
Though Klumb has enjoyed immense success, she remains frustrated that female executives still endure what she refers to as “a prevalence of latent biases.” These include off-handed comments such as one she heard recently from a man praising a female business leader’s accomplishments while raising three kids.
“I believe he intended to compliment her, but in my mind he was contributing to a bias that we expect women to raise children when we should expect parents to raise children,” she said.