Meet the ‘Air Traffic Controller’ for U.S. Bank Wealth Management

This Women’s History Month, U.S. Bank is celebrating trailblazing women like Kim Ferguson, chief administrative officer and strategic initiatives leader for wealth management
Mar 27, 2024 9:30 AM ET
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Ferguson’s favorite part of her current role is that every day she gets to solve a new problem and deliver on a new opportunity.

Originally published on U.S. Bank company blog

Kim Ferguson’s title of chief administrative officer and strategic initiatives leader for wealth management at U.S. Bank is lengthy, but the role has a laser focus. 

“It’s like being an air traffic controller for the business,” she said. “Air traffic controllers have a very crucial role in managing the movement of flights – takeoff, en route, landing. Much like the role we play in wealth, coordinating all the moving parts of a client’s financial journey. As the CAO, I have a lot of information coming at me from across the organization, and I triage and simultaneously synthesize the information so that I respond in alignment with the strategic direction.”

It is a skillset that Ferguson has employed since she first started at U.S. Bank 20 years ago, when she was hired alongside a team of traders to conceptualize, design, build and launch the retail fixed-income trading desk at U.S. Bancorp Investments, an investment adviser and a brokerage subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp and affiliate of U.S. Bank. In addition to this, she oversaw the expansion of the team from generalist to specialist trading, which helped to increase revenue and assets under management. She’s also held other positions playing an integral role in numerous initiatives including integrating Union Bank into the business. 

Ferguson’s favorite part of her current role is that every day she gets to solve a new problem and deliver on a new opportunity. “No two days in my job are ever the same. Some people may find that challenging, but I love it,” she said.  

When Ferguson is leading large and complex initiatives, it is rare that anyone on the teams reports to her, but she noted that “a critical aspect of my role is motivating a team, getting them aligned, and moving towards goal attainment.”

“The best part of my work is creating a culture of collaboration and curiosity where people feel empowered to think and create in new and innovative ways,” she said.

Ferguson’s incredibly deep knowledge of the wealth industry and her immersion in the bank’s strategic vision make her a perfect fit for the chief administrative officer role, said Scott Ford, U.S. Bank Wealth Management president. 

“Kim is extremely skilled at coordinating and facilitating people, resources, and processes so our team can perform at a very high level,” Ford said. “She’s proactive, and oftentimes comes to the table with several potential options for the team to consider. That is extremely helpful.”

Ferguson brings her eagerness for taking on large and complex projects to her philanthropic efforts as well. The Spelman College graduate takes her alma mater’s tagline to heart: a choice to change the world.

“It has inspired my commitment to serving my community – making choices that will impact generations to come,” she said. “I am dedicated to working for the empowerment of women, being an advocate for families and children and defending the civil rights and liberties guaranteed to everyone in this country.”

This commitment is reflected in her board service: Ferguson has served on the board of the YWCA St. Paul for nine years, on the Minnesota affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) for three years and the national board of the ACLU for two years.  

Ferguson is often asked for career advice, particularly by young women just starting out. She recommends building your own “personal board of directors” filled with diverse perspectives to provide strategic guidance, obtain honest feedback, and remind you of your goals and values while navigating challenging situations. Her board includes people in public service, the field of law, brand strategy and leaders of tech startups, who “come to the table with different methods and mindsets,” she said. 

Ferguson enjoys visiting museums and is an avid art collector, especially works by Black women artists. Her collection includes pieces by Lavett Ballard, Emily Moore, Deborah Roberts, Sharon Walters and Eyenga Bokamba, whose Twin Cities studio Ferguson has visited. 

Their works are “deeply connected to my culture, style and personality. Many are prominently displayed not only in my home but my office,” she said. “Art helps me cultivate my curiosity and embrace ambiguity, and those are skills that I utilize everyday as I work with my colleagues to execute and actualize wealth management’s vision.”