Member Profile: Mary Lou Hughes

My name is Mary Lou Hughes, I was born and raised in Brule, Nebraska, a small farming community of 400 people. My father worked for the Union Pacific Railroad and my mother was a nurse at a hospital in a near by community. I met my husband, Kevin while attending school together. We married, and raised our daughter and son in the same town.

I was a stay at home mom until my children started school, then applied for a job at a bank in a nearby community. I worked in various positions at the bank until both children graduated from high school and we relocated for my husband’s job. I have since worked for Discover, Sungard (now FIS), First National Bank (now Simmons Bank), UMB and lived in Nebraska, Georgia and Missouri. I have had a long and varied career in financial services as trust operations manager, retail bank manager, credit card representative, trust systems conversion consultant and currently as a trust specialist at Midwest Special Needs Trust.

In 2019, Midwest Special Needs Trust celebrated 30 years of helping families of individuals with disabilities plan for their financial future. MSNT was established in 1989 by action of the Missouri legislature and later incorporated as a nonprofit pooled trust. At its heart, MSNT administers special needs trusts for people with disabilities to protect important public benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income while providing peace of mind for family members seeking to care for their loved ones now and in the future.

The most rewarding part of my job is consulting with our clients who have a disability, their families, attorneys and agencies. Our staff has a common goal of helping our clients secure their financial future while protecting the public benefits they receive. My greatest satisfaction comes from a client who is well served by their trust during their lifetime.

I attended and graduated from the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Colorado, Boulder, received a Certificate of Marketing from Cornell University and Certified Benefits Specialist Certificate from the University of Missouri. I am a member of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Women’s Network, Mid Missouri Estate Planning Council and Association of Trust Organizations.

Currently reading: “Before We Were Yours” by Lisa Wingate. 

Hobbies/Passions: My passion and favorite past time is my family. We have a very close-knit family and are delighted to be able to spend time with our son, daughter-in-law and two grandsons who also live in Columbia. We travel to central Nebraska as often as possible to visit our daughter, son-in-law and two granddaughters. This year has been difficult for family gatherings and our traditional family Christmas is on hold. My husband and I celebrated the holiday together without other family.

What are you excited about: I am excited about my life. Each day is a gift! I look forward to my work, spending time with family and sharing days with my husband of 47 years. He is an inventory coordinator for MBS and we have been working from our home offices since March. Every day is a new opportunity to learn and this year has taught me so much!!

Goal or goals for 2021: My goal for 2021 is to be grateful for everything. 2020 has taught me many lessons, the biggest of which is tomorrow is not promised to anyone. A job, a home, a life can be gone tomorrow. Live with gratitude.

Words to live by: My first boss was also a great mentor and role model. His favorite saying has stayed with me over the years, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Caring and kindness are so important and needed now more than ever.

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