The Fed’s Esther George is UMKC’s Alumna of the Year
Few people have more knowledge of and influence on the nation’s and the world’s financial stability than UMKC Alumna Esther George (EMBA ’00). A native of Faucett, Mo., George is known as a leader who speaks for the heartland in her role as president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.
With deep roots in our region, George represents the Midwest on a national and international scale. Her distinguished service as president of the Kansas City Fed since 2011 has earned for her one of the highest honors bestowed by the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
George’s career success, and her dedication to her alma mater, community and region, led to her selection as the UMKC Alumna of the Year by the independent committee of past awardees appointed each year by the chancellor.
George has worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City since 1982, beginning her career there as a commissioned bank examiner. As the ninth president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, she is the first woman to serve in this position.
George is a sought-after expert on banking and economics issues. Over the course of her nearly 35 years with the bank, she has risen through the ranks, supporting the broader mission of the Federal Reserve in assuring the nation’s financial stability.
Congress created the Federal Reserve System in 1913. The system divides the United States up into 12 districts, each of which is served by a regional Reserve Bank. Kansas City serves as the headquarters for the 10th district with branch offices in Denver, Oklahoma City and Omaha.
“As the central bank of the United States, the work we do at the Federal Reserve affects the lives of every American, whether they are purchasing a home, borrowing to start or expand a small business, or saving and investing,” George said.
At the national and international levels, George has twice served as a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, impacting monetary policy for the United States and influencing economies worldwide. She has also served on task forces for the bank. One group was charged with finding ways to reduce payment fraud and advancing the safety, security and resiliency of the payment system. The other was directed to improve the speed of financial industry payment systems. George also hosts the world-renowned Jackson Hole Economic Symposium held every August in Jackson Hole, Wy., where leading economic and policy minds from around the world gather to discuss economic issues.
While George’s role is national and even global, she takes the time to interact with the area of the country she represents.
“My job depends on deep connections with communities across my region,” she said. “My MBA program at UMKC focused extensively on the important threads between a local community, the nation and the world, and I see this play out every day at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Our focus is on bringing strong talent to our work in the region we serve.”
George remains involved with her alma mater, serving on the UMKC Trustees and in advisory roles with the Henry W. Bloch School of Management. On Feb. 9, 2017, George was appointed to the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation board of trustees.
“Given the importance of this institution to our city, everyone in the Kansas City metropolitan community has a vested interest in UMKC and its ongoing success,” she added.
Each year, the UMKC Alumni Association recognizes 16 alumni and one family with top honors. UMKC honored George and other outstanding alumni at the 2017 Alumni Awards Luncheon on April 20. The luncheon is one of the university’s largest events and proceeds support student scholarships. The 2016 luncheon attracted more than 500 attendees and garnered more than $120,000 in scholarship funds.
Click here for more information on the 2017 Alumni Award recipients.