This veteran has found a home at Commerce Bank.
In his younger days, Ken Dumas, a vice president of customer intelligence at Commerce Bank, viewed Veterans Day differently than he does now. “Back then, it was just another day off, and I’ll admit that I didn’t think about it much,” he says.
After he enlisted, however, that all changed. “Now, Veterans Day to me is a recognition of the sacrifices others have made to give us the rights we often take for granted,” he says. “Serving in the armed forces helped me realize the benefits we enjoy today came from the service of people before us.”
Dumas, who served three years in the Army and another six in the Ohio National Guard, says that he’s humbled to be one of the millions of armed forces veterans who are recognized every November 11. “It’s something I don’t take lightly, and I recommend that everyone reach out to someone who is serving or who has served, to thank them for providing the opportunities we all have,” he says.
While he’s been out of the military for nearly three decades, Dumas says his experience in the armed forces still influences his working style. “When I first finished my enlistment, I brought a lot of my military training with me — I understood and followed a chain of command and stuck to established procedures,” he says. “Over time, my style has evolved. One of my drill sergeants once told me, ‘If we wanted your opinion, we would have issued you one.’ Fortunately, my leadership style today is very different from that. I try to provide people space to question decisions or find new ways of doing things.”
One part of Dumas’ military background that has stayed with him is his passion for his work. “You learn to always give your best and be reliable and accountable,” he says. “It helped me understand I don’t always have all the answers, and I have to be open to receiving feedback.”
Carl Bradbury, an executive vice president and director of consumer card products and indirect lending at Commerce, has known Dumas since he joined the bank nearly 15 years ago. He sees the echoes of Dumas’ military training in his day-to-day work.
“He’s very tenacious, and when he’s trying to solve a problem, he simply doesn’t give up,” Bradbury says. “He told me once that in the Army, if you’re told to take that hill, there isn’t any negotiation involved; you just have to find a way to take that hill. He operates with that sort of mindset. You never have to worry about whether Ken is going to give 100%.”
Chad Doza, Commerce’s senior vice president of consumer credit cards, says he also appreciates Dumas’ working style. “He persists through all challenges, and the methodical approach he takes is really at the core of his success,” Doza says. “That’s something he’s said he learned in the military. He’s also a great sounding board for me. He challenges my thinking and always has a unique perspective; I appreciate and enjoy that.”
For his part, Dumas is happy to have the opportunity to apply his skills and experience at Commerce. “It’s been one of the most interesting places I’ve ever worked,” he says. “So many people have been here for 20, 30 or even 40 years. That’s one of the things that drew me to Commerce in the first place — it’s such a good place to work that people come here and stay.”
In his current role, Dumas uses data to help teams to better understand the bank’s customers so they can improve the way they meet the customers’ needs. “It’s been interesting to see the areas of business intelligence and AI evolve,” he says. “Five years ago, people really didn’t understand what those things were, but now everyone does because they’re embedded in what we’re doing.”
Dumas also believes strongly in doing what he can to help others. At Commerce, he has served as a mentor and is active in several of the bank’s employee resource groups (ERGs), which help team members build important personal connections, feel welcome and develop their careers. Dumas has worked with the bank’s ERGs for multicultural team members, LGBTQ+ team members, women and young professionals. He also led some of Commerce’s Courageous Conversations sessions on the topic of racial upheaval last year. “Those are important opportunities to allow people to share their feelings and bring their voice to critical issues,” he says. “I believe they give people opportunities to learn and grow.”
Outside of Commerce, Dumas is heavily involved in the community. He currently serves on the board of Gilda’s Club Kansas City, a cancer support nonprofit; and in recent years has also served on the boards of two domestic violence shelters, Safe Home and Rose Brooks.
Bradbury believes Dumas’ volunteerism is a reflection of his personality. “Ken is a kind and considerate person who is very thoughtful about the struggles that other people have to deal with, and he’s very generous,” Bradbury says. “He has a business-like exterior, but also a good heart. He’s a hard-driving, get-it-done kind of guy, and he also wants to help people who are struggling.”
Dumas believes that his background and expertise have found a good fit with his role at Commerce. “Two things have kept me here: my job is never boring, and I always have opportunity to grow,” he says. “It’s the best work environment I’ve ever experienced. Everyone is respectful, and the culture is such that we always try to do the right things by each other. It doesn’t feel like a job; it feels like a place where I have a sense of purpose, and I’m doing things that matter, and working alongside people who feel the same way.”