The Power List: The 50 Most Powerful People In KC

Kansas City thrives on diverse sources of power. It’s a city where immense wealth can sculpt our future, exceptional athletic prowess unites the community in celebration and charismatic community organizers challenge
the status quo. 



Join us as we introduce the 50 individuals who are currently molding the destiny of Kansas City.

Chris Rosson - CEO of United Way of Greater Kansas City

Illustration by David Babcock.

From serving as an advisor to the governor of Missouri to acting as executive director of Teach for America Kansas City, Chris Rosson has diligently led and served the community that raised him. Having grown up in a single-parent, low-income home, Rosson became a first-generation high school and college graduate, eventually graduating summa cum laude from both William Jewell College and Johns Hopkins University. Today, Rosson serves as president and CEO of United Way of Greater Kansas City—an organization that provided services Rosson relied on growing up. In his role as CEO, Rosson works collaboratively with a wide network of nonprofit and philanthropic groups and the broader public to build a better KC. He continues to ensure that all Kansas Citians have access to the basics, from health care to education to financial stability. In many ways, Rosson is a living example of what is possible when the community comes together to transform lives.

Roy Blunt - Former U.S. Senator and current lobbyist

After serving as a U.S. senator for more than 20 years, Roy Blunt decided it was time to move off Capitol Hill—almost. Not quite ready to quit being a power broker, Blunt has joined Washington D.C. lobbying firm Husch Blackwell Strategies as chair of a new advisory group. He has also recently been appointed to the board of directors for Southwest Airlines and elected as president of the State Historical Society of Missouri. While in congress, Blunt gained a reputation as a dealmaker. One of his last moves was to pass the Electoral Count Reform Act, a bipartisan measure to clarify lawmakers’ role in certifying the presidential elections. In his farewell address, he emphasized the importance of bipartisanship. Blunt spent his undergraduate years at Southwest Baptist University and received his master’s from Southwest Missouri State University.

Illustration by David Babcock.

Lisa Ginter - CEO of CommunityAmerica Credit Union

Illustration by David Babcock.

CommunityAmerica Credit Union’s CEO Lisa Ginter shows no signs of slowing: Missouri’s largest nonprofit credit union has recently announced plans to add more locations in St. Louis. Recently selected to chair the Executive Board of Directors for the Credit Union National Association, Ginter is dedicated to empowering people in KC and beyond with financial security. Outside of the credit union, her care for the community continues. She has raised $6.5 million in the last five years for prominent local charities like the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City and Children’s Mercy Hospital. Under Ginter’s leadership, CommunityAmerica has been honored with the Junior Achievement Centennial Award, recognized as Nonprofit Connect’s Business Philanthropist of the Year and been named the No. 1 Best Place to Work by the Kansas City Business Journal.

Clark Hunt - Chairman and CEO of the Kansas City Chiefs

Heir to the Hunt family dynasty, Clark Hunt and his family inherited the Chiefs franchise when his father passed. But it’s Clark who’s the face of the Chiefs. Born in Texas, Clark wields a strong influence on the state of professional sports—he’s involved in the MLS and NBA, too. Clark’s father, Lamar, instigated and solidified the formation of the current NFL and is allegedly responsible for naming the AFC-NFC championship the “Super Bowl.” Perhaps Clark feels the Lombardi Trophy belongs in his family. Chiefs fans sure do.

Illustration by David Babcock.

Quinton Lucas - Kansas City Mayor

Photography by Jeremy Theron Kirby

Now in his second term, Quinton Lucas has served as the mayor of Kansas City since 2019 and is known by his constituents for his unwavering dedication to supporting a diverse and economically booming city. Lucas has maintained a strong focus on promoting historically underrepresented groups to positions within city council and maintaining a diverse perspective on the city’s economy. “We have to think of incentives not just from the basis of real estate [and] property taxes, but also having a more diverse city and opportunities for people of different backgrounds,” he said during his recent inauguration. Lucas is also known for his initiative in creating the city’s first Housing Trust Fund and has been instrumental in bringing dozens of new events and conferences to the city.

George Guastello - President and CEO of Union Station

From World Series and Super Bowl victory parades to traveling shows and historical landmarks, much of KC is anchored at Union Station. Union Station stands as a representation of KC’s civic, cultural, historic and sporting traditions, and George Guastello, Union Station’s president and CEO, stands as representative of Union Station. But Guastello’s influence doesn’t stop there. He is a member of myriad boards in KC, including the Visit KC Board of Directors, Kansas City Streetcar Authority Board of Directors and Kansas City Art Institute Board of Trustees. Guastello is working hard to keep Union Station true to its symbolic task of representing all things KC by engrossing himself in civic duties. “At this point in my career,” Guastello says, “giving back really translates into paying it forward so that young leaders of tomorrow might be equally inspired to fully embrace our community strengths and invest themselves in an even more remarkable Kansas City future.”

Illustration by David Babcock.

Peter Mallouk, JD, MBA - President of Creative Planning

Illustration by David Babcock.



A successful lawyer and the president of Creative Planning—a wealth management and investment advisory services company with approximately $225 billion in combined assets—Peter Mallouk has helped provide comprehensive wealth management services like retirement plan consulting and charitable planning to clients across the country and overseas. As founder and current executive board member of KC CAN! (Children’s Assistance Network), Mallouk is dedicated to making grants and undertaking projects such as Literacy KC and Charlie’s House to improve the quality of life for Kansas City’s children.

Kate Marshall - President of Plaza District Council

Kate Marshall, the “Kansas City Champion,” is the founder and president of the Plaza District Council, whose mission is to sustain and grow the historical sector of Kansas City. Marshall fell in love with the Plaza after she relocated from Monte Carlo, Monaco, and preserving the destination she loves so dearly has become her passion project. Through the nonprofit council, Marshall is bringing together stakeholders with the common goal of preserving KC’s iconic shopping district and sustaining the Plaza as a cultural destination for the city. Marshall serves on several other philanthropic boards and has rightfully earned her “Champion” nickname. 

Illustration by David Babcock.

Shirley and Barnett Helzberg - Philanthropists

Illustrations by David Babcock.

Shirley Helzberg and her husband Barnett are Kansas City constants. The duo could have stepped away from civic life after selling Helzberg Diamonds in 1995 for a bundle, but they didn’t. Shirley, a founding board member of the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, advocates for historic preservation around the city and, with Barnett, co-founded the University Academy, which prepares students to succeed in higher education. Barnett, a former chairman of the Board of Helzberg Diamonds, founded the Helzberg Entrepreneurial Mentoring Program and established the Helzberg Leadership Fellows—both of which have benefited youth around Kansas City. Together, they have built a strong foundation for their various business endeavors and the community they call home.

Klassie Alcine - CEO of KC Common Good

Photography by Jeremy Theron Kirby.

Klassie Alcine is the CEO of KC Common Good, a local crime-fighting group focused on finding the root causes of violence in the city. The organization focuses on at-risk youth and the violence they encounter every day. Alcine, who went to the University of Missouri–Kansas City and was student body president, started her career off as a political consultant. Now, at KC Common Good, she has launched several programs, including Community Connector, an online list of community services for financial assistance, addiction, mental health and more. “The most beautiful and bright part of my field is seeing people become resilient and overcome past trauma,” Alcine says.

Past Power Player - William Rockhill Nelson

An American real estate developer and co-founder of The Kansas City Star, William Rockhill Nelson shaped the newspaper in its early days, in a time when newspapers were the primary way information was disseminated. Nelson also developed an area of farmland south of downtown into what is now known as the Rockhill neighborhood, which included his massive estate. After the death of his wife and daughter, the Nelson family home became the Nelson-Atkins Museum.

Ora Reynolds - President and CEO of Hunt Midwest

This year, Ora Reynolds celebrates her 30th year with development company Hunt Midwest. Reynolds, who was born in Chicago and moved to Kansas City at age 27, began her career at Hunt developing master-planned residential communities. She later moved on to commercial real estate and oversaw the development of large commercial real estate projects. Twelve years ago, she became CEO of Hunt Midwest. During her leadership tenure, the company, owned by the Lamar Hunt family, has seen exponential growth not only in the greater Kansas City area but also in other geographic markets such as South Carolina and Florida. Reynolds’s community service stretches from corporate boards to numerous charitable and civic organizations. She is co-chair of the Kansas City Area Development Council and was past chair of the Starlight Theatre Board of Directors.

Courtesy image.

Courtesy photo.

Emanuel Cleaver II - U.S Congressman

Illustration by David Babcock.

Now serving his ninth term representing Missouri’s Fifth Congressional District, Emanuel Cleaver II began his political career as a Kansas City councilman. In 1991, he became the city’s first Black mayor. Known as an economic development activist and an unapologetic redevelopment craftsman, Cleaver has been a driving force behind much of the city’s urban core revitalization efforts. One of his most notable efforts is the creation of the Green Impact Zone, which aims to rebuild and beautify 150 blocks of declining urban areas around the community. Cleaver has been able to secure roughly $125 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment funds to turn these high-crime areas into a green oasis.

Debbie Wilkerson - CEO of Greater Kansas City Community Foundation

Debbie Wilkerson, who has served as the president and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation since 2012, was recently picked as one of Forbes’ “50 Over 50” honorees in the “Impact” category. As leader of the foundation, Wilkerson manages more than $5 billion in assets and connects donors to causes they care about, like environmental protection, animal welfare and education. In terms of money doled out, the foundation is the largest charitable organization in the Kansas City area.

Illustration by David Babcock.

Jeff Owens - Vice president of Crossroads Community Association

Illustration by David Babcock.

First Fridays in the Crossroads has grown into a vibrant arts and community event, and the Crossroads Community Association has a lot to do with that. CCA vice president Jeff Owens says he and CCA are dedicated to creating opportunities for artists. “There are so many ripple effects to having a strong artist community,” says Owens, who is also a sculptor. “Every artist is a small business, and we want to help them grow their businesses.” The CCA was integral to helping cultivate the Crossroads art scene and its First Friday celebrations. An artist himself with a history in set design in the movie industry, Owens says it’s important that artists have a place in the community, both physically and figuratively. “Oftentimes, businesses move in and price the artists out,” he says. “We wanted to find a way for both.” One way the CCA has done this is through the Crossroads Arts PIEA, a tax abatement program designed to encourage developers and landlords to include artists and galleries in their plans. The program was the first of its kind in the country, and other cities have reached out to implement something similar. 

Gracie Hunt - Influencer and Philanthropist



Heiress Gracie Hunt, who comes from the oil-rich, Chiefs-owning Texas family, says playing soccer was her first love. She always wanted to play in college, but after suffering four concussions, it was something she just couldn’t do. Despite her dashed dreams, she found another passion and decided to follow in her beauty queen mother Tavia Hunt’s footsteps. She won Miss Kansas USA in 2021, the same title her mother won a few decades earlier. Gracie, who has an impressive Instagram following with nearly 400,000 followers, is using her platform to promote health and fitness and is serving as a Unified Champion Ambassador for the Special Olympics. She also founded her own organization, Breaking Barriers Through Sports. 


Photography courtesy of Gracie Hunt.

Past Power Player - J.C. Nichols

However tainted real estate developer J.C. Nichols’ legacy is, he did shape much of the city with the construction of the Country Club Plaza shopping district and surrounding neighborhoods. His master-planned communities relied on restrictive covenants, mostly involving land use, such as setbacks and building heights. However, in several of his communities, most notably the Country Club area, Black and Jewish people were prohibited from owning property, creating a long-lasting racial and economic divide along Troost Avenue.

Anita Gorman - Civic Leader

Illustration by David Babcock.

If you have ever been to a park or looked at a fountain in Kansas City, chances are you have seen something Anita B. Gorman worked on. A lifelong conservationist and advocate for community greenspaces, she spent over two decades working on KCMO’s Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners and serving as its president. Few citizens have quietly contributed so much to Kansas Citians as Gorman. The Parks Department reminds us by putting her name on everything they can—from the Starlight Theatre’s Anita B. Gorman Court of Honor to the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center. Gorman is a prime example of one of those special people who dedicate their lives and work to a place, and we are lucky she did it here. 

Ruben Alonso III - CEO of AltCap and member of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Board of Directors

Ruben Alonso III is not only the CEO of AltCap, a multi-state financial institution based in KC; he also sits on the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s Board of Directors. In this role at AltCap, a community development financial institution that invests in “underestimated communities,” he is responsible for the overall management of the organization that has provided nearly $300 million in accessible capital to job-creating small businesses that are often overlooked by traditional financial institutions. Alonso attributes his passion for making capital more accessible to small businesses to his own family, who emigrated from Cuba in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Many of his family members achieved the idealized “American Dream” through entrepreneurship and the support of their community. “When you marry capital with mission, you have the power to create lasting and meaningful impact,” Alonso says. Alonso was a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in Slovakia where, among other things, he taught English at local secondary school and founded a local boxing club for Romani youth. 

Illustration by David Babcock.

Travis Kelce - Chiefs Tight end

Illustration by David Babcock.

Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce played an invaluable role in the Chiefs winning their second Super Bowl in three years. Now entering his eleventh year in the position, Kelce set the record for most receiving yards by a tight end in a single season, with 1,416 yards in 2020. The football field is not the only place Kelce seems to garner a lot of attention. He’s also well-known for his podcast with his brother, Jason Kelce, his cameo on Saturday Night Live and his short-lived reality television show—and, recently, his dating life is of the utmost interest to many. But personal life aside, Kelce founded 87 & Running, a nonprofit whose mission is to help disadvantaged youth achieve success by providing resources and support in their communities. “I can help by performing on the field, but I want them to know I walk the walk off of it, too,” Kelce said in a press release.

Mike Parson - Missouri Governor

Army veteran and Missouri Governor Mike Parson was raised on a farm in Hickory County and considers himself a third-generation farmer—the small-business owner currently owns and operates a cow operation near Bolivar, Missouri. On top of his small-business experience, Parson was formerly the Polk County Sheriff, a member of the Missouri House of Representatives and the Senate, and Lieutenant Governor before leading the state as governor. During Parson’s tenure, the state has experienced the lowest unemployment rate ever recorded, and Parson signed the largest income tax cut in Missouri history.

Illustration by David Babcock.

Rev. Adam Hamilton - Pastor at Church of the Resurrection

Photography courtesy Church of the Resurrection.

The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection was founded in 1990 by Rev. Adam Hamilton. Native to the Kansas City area, Hamilton earned a bachelor’s degree in pastoral ministry from Oral Roberts University and a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Methodist University, where he was awarded the B’nai B’rith Award in social ethics. With approximately 24,000 active members, Hamilton’s congregation was further named the most influential mainline church in America by The Church Report. Known for his authorship of more than 23 faith-based books, Hamilton has remained committed through the decades to maintaining an open dialogue among his constituents and those seeking hope in their communities.

Past Power Player - Thomas Joseph Pendergrast

Although T.J. Pendergast only briefly held elected office, as a KC alderman, he became chairman of the Jackson County Democratic Party from 1925 to 1939, allowing him considerable influence. It was T.J. Pendergast’s older brother Jim Pendergast who first became involved in politics and T.J. Pendergast stepped in expanding the family’s influence and perpetuating corruption. Known as the Pendergast years, T.J. Pendergast had the power, often through voter fraud, to get his candidates elected.

Mauli Agrawal - Chancellor of UMKC

A look at the accomplishments of University of Missouri-Kansas City Chancellor C. Mauli Agrawal would make it difficult to believe he could have gotten his start from such humble beginnings. Yet Agrawal maintains a close relationship with his roots. The Fellow of Biomaterials Science and Engineering member grew up in Allahabad, India, in a home without television, air conditioning or a refrigerator. His early interest in education and research led to him being accepted into the Indian Institute of Technology, and later, Clemson University in South Carolina. His UMKC chancellorship began in June 2018. Agrawal’s passions in academia have always remained rooted in research, but Agrawal has been vocal about the importance of collaborating with civic leaders “who are passionate about higher education.” His work at UMKC has contributed to a 50 percent increase in faculty and a 400 percent increase in research funding

Illustration by David Babcock.

Tara Raghuveer - Director of KC Tenants

Illustration by David Babcock.

If there’s one thing that defines Tara Raghuveer, the director of KC Tenants, it’s advocacy. Since its founding in 2019, KC Tenants has grown to 9,647 members. The citywide tenant union is known for having passed a Tenants Bill of Rights, guaranteeing free legal representation for tenants in eviction court and stopping millions in handouts to developers. KC Tenants has supported tenants in organizing their buildings and neighborhoods, winning safer conditions and fighting displacement. Raghuveer is also the director of the Homes Guarantee campaign, which organizes with more than 50 tenant groups across 24 states. “KC Tenants is a union, a collective of tenants who know that we are strong together,” Raghuveer says. “Kansas City is a better place because neighbors have come together to fight for this city. The fight continues and our power endures precisely because it cannot be reduced to an individual.” 

Greg Farmer - Executive editor of the Kansas City Star

Greg Farmer’s journalistic work led him to being named Kansas City Star’s executive editor in February after spending five months as interim executive editor. But beyond writing, what truly makes Farmer a great fit for the Star is his commitment to community betterment. “I love Kansas City,” he says. “This is my home. But when you love something, you also understand it has shortcomings, ways it must improve if it’s ever to become the best version of itself. That’s why the Star exists. I get up every day excited about the potential of this city and the Star, but I’m also clear-eyed about the need for improvement from both.” Before taking over the newsroom’s top spot, Farmer served as managing editor, leading day-to-day operations. Farmer has been in the news business for 30 years, 26 of those at the Star. “Being the editor here allows me to learn every day,” Farmer says.

Illustration by David Babcock.

DeAngela Burns-Wallace - CEO of Kauffman Foundation

Illustration by David Babcock.

There are a few names you see everywhere in Kansas City, and Kauffman is one. The Kauffman Foundation, which is one of the largest private foundations in the United States, is known to approach issues from a decidedly Midwestern mindset, and CEO DeAngela Burns-Wallace aims to do just that. Burns-Wallace’s work with educational institutions, business leaders and community organizations such as Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Jack and Jill of America has lent her a reputation as a dedicated educator and community organizer. Since starting her position as the Kauffman Foundation’s CEO in August of 2023, Burns-Wallace has infused her passion for community into many of the organizations and initiatives funded by the foundation. During Burns-Wallace’s appointment, Esther George, chair of the Kauffman Board of Trustees, said, “Dr. Burns-Wallace has the experience and leadership capabilities to further Ewing Kauffman’s legacy, catalyzing ideas and supporting solutions designed to improve education, boost entrepreneurship and help our communities and individuals thrive.”

Wendy Doyle - CEO of United We

Wendy Doyle has found her passion amplifying the voices of Missouri women as the CEO of United WE, an organization dedicated to finding solutions to the economic issues women face. Doyle, who grew up in Johnson County and graduated from Rockhurst University, has been with United WE for nine years and has served as the foundation’s president for six. Doyle started her career off in marketing but soon found her niche working at a nonprofit. Before beginning at United WE, she worked for the National Kidney Foundation and Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas.

Photography by Nick Vedros

Michael J. Brown - Founder and president of Euronet Worldwide

Illustration by David Babcock.

Kansas City native Michael J. Brown, co-founder of global electronic payment service Euronet, has served as CEO and chairman of the company’s board since 1996. Brown’s company continues to grow in affluence across the globe with its recent purchase of a British-based online international payments company for a whopping $242 million in cash and stock. Brown received his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri–Columbia and master’s degree in molecular and cellular biology at the University of Missouri–Kansas City. His work includes serving on the boards of North Carolina-based Nexxus Lighting, Inc. and Greater Kansas City Community Foundation. Brown is actively involved in the day-to-day operations of Euronet and is committed to stimulating the economy of his hometown.

Gordon Lansford - CEO of J.E. Dunn

When Gordon Lansford became the first non-Dunn family member to serve as CEO of J.E. Dunn, one of the largest domestic general building contractors, he pledged to continue the almost 100-year-old company’s commitment to community and its employees. Lansford first joined J.E. Dunn in 1996 as its director of internal audit. Today, his work focuses on empowering his employees and improving client experience and satisfaction. Lansford oversees five regions, 26 offices and his corporate staff members, all while maintaining the company that’s long been ingrained in the KC community. Lansford also serves as chairman of the Board of Governors for the American Royal and is involved in many other organizations, such as the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation and the United Way.

Illustration by David Babcock.

Bill Self - KU basketball head coach

Illustration by David Babcock.

KU basketball has flourished under the helm of head coach Bill Self, who has held the position since 2003. Under his leadership, the Jayhawks have won two national championships, making Self one of only two active coaches who have nagged multiple NCAA titles. A nine-time conference coach of the year—eight of which came at Kansas—Self has clearly demonstrated his basketball prowess. However, his impact extends well beyond basketball. He is also the founder of Bill Self’s Assists Foundation, whose mission is to “help provide young people access to better lives by identifying areas of need and working with other community-based institutions to provide creative and lasting solutions.” Self has devoted his career to becoming a respected and dedicated coach whose inspiration has guided his teams to 23 winning seasons.

Gwendolyn Grant - President and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City

As president and CEO of the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, Gwendolyn Grant isn’t afraid of a fight. She went to bat with Mayor Quinton Lucas, filing a lawsuit as a private citizen that challenged the constitutionality of the Kansas City Board of Police Commissioners trying to move control of board appointments from the state to the local level. In addition to her work with the Urban League, Grant is involved with many groups across the city, from the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Tax Incentive Reform Task Force to the Citizens to Abolish Poverty Education Committee. “My journey as the leader of a revered civil rights organization is profoundly personal,” says Grant, who is a graduate of Westport High School. “This is my calling, my mission and my lifelong dedication.”

Illustration by David Babcock.

Carlos Gomez - President of Hispanic Chamber of Commerce

Carlos Gomez joined the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in 2007 with a mission in mind: to unite and uplift the Hispanic community. Now serving as the Chamber’s president and CEO, Gomez’s work focuses on the Spanish-speaking business owner community, lobbying for small-business legislation and comprehensive immigration reform. Under the leadership of Gomez, the Chamber is now the 11th-largest chamber in the Kansas City metro area. Gomez is also the executive director of the Greater Kansas City Hispanic Collaborative, a four-program collective including KC BizFest, Latinos of Tomorrow, Young Latino Professionals and Latino Leadership Institute. Over the past 17 years, Gomez has maintained a sharp focus on meeting the needs of both the Hispanic business community and the Hispanic consumer.

Kathy Nelson - CEO of Visit KC and KC Sports Commission

How is it that Kansas City was chosen as the site for the NFL Draft and as a host city for the 2026 World Cup? The answer is Kathy Nelson. Obviously, she didn’t do this on her own, but that’s the thing about Nelson—you don’t end up the president of the Kansas City Sports Commission and appointed to the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame without understanding the importance of a team. Nelson has an eye for a show and knows how to make it work for KC. According to Forbes, the NFL Draft generated $164.3 million dollars for the city. Nelson has been named one of Kansas City Star’s “Most Influential Sports Figures in Kansas City,” and she continues to be an advocate for the economic, social and community-building benefits of sports. 

Illustration by David Babcock.

Joe Reardon - President and CEO of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce

Illustration by David Babcock.

Before stepping into his role as Chamber of Commerce president and CEO, Reardon headed up the Area Transportation Authority and was mayor of Kansas City, Kansas. Reardon, who graduated from Rockhurst University, comes from a family of civic leaders. His father, Jack Reardon, was a popular three-time mayor of Kansas City, Kansas; his uncle, Bill Reardon, was a state representative; and his grandfather was county commissioner of Wyandotte. So community involvement and activism is in his blood. Reardon, who is a lawyer by training, views connecting people, businesses and civic organizations across the greater Kansas City region as his primary role. 

Julián Zugazagoitia - Director of Nelson-Atkins Museum

As director of the Nelson-Atkins Museum, Julián Zugazagoita is succeeding at evolving today’s art museum from the dusty institutions of the past into something lively with community programs. Far from the elite, unwelcoming halls of last-century models, Zugazagoita has built Kansas City’s premier art museum into a welcoming, casual, discovery-driven community space. Zugazagoitia grew up in Mexico, went to school in England and France and lived in New York before heading to KC to head up the museum. He makes community outreach a priority. Some of the museum’s more popular programs are the summertime mini golf course on the museum’s grounds, outdoor movies and its Day of the Dead festival.

Illustration by David Babcock.

Dr. Jennifer Collier - Superintendent of KCMO Public Schools

Illustration by David Babcock.

After holding the position of interim superintendent of Kansas City Public Schools, Dr. Jennifer Collier was unanimously approved for the permanent position early this year by the school board, beating out 17 other applicants from across the country. Collier, who started her career off in the district as a substitute teacher, has worked in education and the district for more than 23 years. She has also served as an assistant principal, principal, chief human resource officer and deputy superintendent. Her vision for the Kansas City Public School system has been crafted over decades of service, and it’s hard to not share her hope for the future of KC’s public education system and the city’s southside youth.

Laura Kelly - Kansas Governor

Governor Laura Kelly grew up in a career military family where she learned the importance of service and integrity. It’s these ideals that pushed her into politics. Recently winning her second term as Kansas governor, she plans to turn her attention to Medicare. She spent her first term “putting Kansas back on track,” she says, ending her term with the state’s largest budget surplus in history. In her second term, she is focusing on education and medicare. Earlier this year, Kelly signed into law a bill that will increase funding for public schools across the state. In September, she launched a statewide tour to support Medicare expansion.

Illustration by David Babcock.

Chris and Angie Long and Brittany Mahomes - KC Current ownership group

Illustrations by David Babcock.

This power trio not only brought professional women’s soccer back to Kansas City but also spearheaded the construction of the very first sports stadium to be built exclusively for a national women’s soccer league franchise. The 11,500-seat Berkley Riverfront stadium promises ultra-modern technology and scenic views of the river. Chris Long is founder of Palmer Square Capital Management, and his wife Angie, is Palmer Square’s chief investment officer. Brittany Mahomes played soccer in college. The three have big plans for the team in terms of revenue and fan base and high hopes for how the organization can give back to the community.

Sharice Davids - Kansas Representative

Illustration by David Babcock.

A former mixed martial artist born in Germany and a current Kansas Representative, Sharice Davids is living a large life. First elected in 2018, Davids became the first Democrat elected to represent a Kansas congressional district in a decade. After defending her congressional seat in a recently redrawn—and therefore more Republican—district in 2022, Davids has proven she is a force to be reckoned with. She attended Leavenworth High School before getting degrees from the University of Kansas and, later, Cornell Law School, making her the first person in her family to graduate college.

John Sherman - Owner of the Kansas City Royals

With a new stadium on the horizon, the spotlight is shining even brighter on Kansas City Royals baseball owner John Sherman. After the billionaire businessman and an investment group acquired the team in 2019, Sherman has been focusing on building not only the team’s roster but also their new home. Sherman was born in Japan and moved around as a youth but settled in his wife’s hometown of Kansas City some 40 years ago. This new stadium and the development expected around it has the potential to shape the character of the city for years to come.

Illustration by David Babcock.

Robert Kehoe - CEO and founder of Active Logic

Illustration by David Babcock.

Picked as one of the fastest-growing companies in the metro by Kansas City Business Journal, Active Logic founder Robert Kehoe thinks one of the keys to his software company’s success is not shipping any jobs overseas. The Leawood-based company uses 100 percent American developers in the “pursuit of quality and efficiency during development,” avoiding the pitfalls of drastic time zone changes and communication conundrums and helping ensure private data and information remain confidential. 

Jon Stephens - President and CEO of Port KC



Jon Stephens is the president and CEO of Port KC. Port KC exists to grow Kansas City’s economy through transportation advancement and development. One of the agency’s most notable recent endeavors is to reestablish the city’s waterborne commerce in a sustainable way. One barge is equivalent to 16 railroad cars or 70 truck trailers, which could mean a significant reduction in air pollution. Stephens has over 20 years of experience in economic development and also sits on the boards of Visit KC, KC Streetcar and Arts KC.


Illustration by David Babcock.

Nathan Willett - Kansas City Councilman

Illustration by David Babcock.

Born and raised in the Northland, Kansas City’s junior councilman Nathan Willett was elected to represent City Council District 1, promising to be a strong advocate for those living north of the river who often feel neglected by City Hall officials. “The growth in the Northland is exciting,” Willett says. “We need to ensure that our new development is done the right way while staying true to our commitments to existing neighborhoods and businesses.” Willett was endorsed by Northland Strong, a PAC that formed to make sure that issues facing people in the Northland are not ignored.

Where Power Players Play

The hot spots to see and be seen



Capital Grille



Located on the Country Club Plaza, the bar and dining room are buzzing with business and civic leaders.






Italian at its best. This Crossroads restaurant is just right for the power dinner.



Bacaro Primo



Let’s just say this Italian-American bistro in Crestwood Shops is the place to be seen right now.



The Restaurant At 1900



This swanky Mission Woods restaurant is where the Country Club set head when looking for a place to gather.



Trezo Mare



Known for its happy hour, this Briarcliff restaurant with an impressive view of downtown is where Northland power players connect over cocktails.



Osteria Il Centro





This neighborhood power spot is on the down-low. Despite its low-key friendly vibe, deals are made at this restaurant that sits just west of downtown.


Tim Cowden - President and CEO of Kansas City Area Development Council



Tim Cowden’s excitement about Kansas City’s potential is as moving as it is contagious. In an interview with Leaders Magazine, Cowden, president and CEO of the Kansas City Area Development Council, said, “I’m fortunate in that I have the best job in Kansas City, leading the KCADC team to sell this amazing place to the world every day.” Cowden leads strategic direction and vision for KCADC, a private nonprofit organization charged with representing the economic interests of the greater metro area. In partnership with 250 corporate business leaders and more than 50 community partners across the two states, KCADC has helped attract $7.7 billion of new capital investment and 16,000 jobs to the KC region. Cowden and his team serve as a vital connecting point for companies and individuals evaluating KC as a viable base to establish and grow their companies.


Illustration by David Babcock.

Stacey Graves - Kansas City police chief

Illustration by David Babcock.

A lifelong Kansas Citian and the first female Kansas City police chief, Stacey Graves is breaking new ground. She became the city’s top cop in December 2022 after a months-long interview process that saw her pitted against candidates across the country. Graves began her career at the KCPD in 1997 as a civilian records clerk. Soon after, she decided she wanted to be a police officer and joined the police academy. Graves has previously served as a patrol officer, a detective with the vice and narcotics unit, and an aide to the former police chief. Graves says her top priority coming into this position is to work on the department’s relationships. “If you don’t have good relationships with people, you just can’t be successful.”

Frank White III - President and CEO of Kansas City Area Transportation Authority

With plans underway for Kansas City to host the upcoming 2026 World Cup, Frank White III, CEO of the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority, is already looking toward the future of KC transit. In a recent interview with KCUR, he said that he’s focused on “how we leverage the World Cup as a way to get those investments that we think we should have had in public transit that we never got before.” White has been with KCATA since 2016 and earned the organization’s top spot in January 2023. He’s always looking for ways to achieve KCATA’s mission, which is “to deliver innovative solutions that enhance mobility and improve our community.” White has been instrumental in KCATA’s involvement as a transit partner in pushing for the expansion of the streetcar from River Market to UMKC, stating that it’s imperative that the excitement around improving Kansas City’s transportation infrastructure continue beyond the 2026 World Cup.

Illustration by David Babcock.

John Thomson - CEO of PayIt, LLC

Illustration by David Babcock.

John Thomson is the founder and CEO of the award-winning cloud service provider for digital government, PayIt. The company is modernizing how public agencies serve the community, increasing efficiency and user experience with digital transactions. Thomson believes PayIt could be the next Cerner as the company continues to expand and grow, now serving over 100 million residents across the country, creating jobs and increasing revenue to Kansas City.

Patrick A. “Duke” Dujakovich - President of Kansas City AFL-CIO and board chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City



Chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s board, Patrick A. “Duke” Dujakovich was born for Kansas City Fed service. “I was actually born at the Federal Reserve Bank,” Dujakovich joked in a press release, proudly explaining that he was born at St. Mary’s Hospital, which for nearly a century stood where the bank’s head office now is. Dujakovich is also president of Kansas City AFL-CIO, an organization that serves as an umbrella organization for a wide range of labor unions. Dujakovich retired from the Kansas City Fire Department after more than 30 years of service, and he remains a member of the International Association of Fire Fighters. Dujakovich has stated that being on the Federal Reserve Bank gives him the opportunity to share the insights of the workers that he represents.


Illustration by David Babcock.

Patrick Mahomes - Need We Say More?

Photography by Jeremy Theron Kirby.

Time Magazine named Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes one of the “100 Most Influential People of 2023” and Kansas Citians agree. Mahomes may have been born in Texas, but you’d never know it from his love of Kansas City. No one can fault Mahomes for renegotiating his contract with the Chiefs when he takes his salary and re-invests it back into KC. Mahomes now has an ownership stake in the Royals, KC Currents and Sporting KC teams, and he’s expressed a desire to bring an NBA team to town. These investments, plus countless charities and community engagements, seem to show that our star quarterback believes in the city as much as we believe in him.