The legacy of Mayor Sly James
Former Kansas City Mayor Sly James and his chief of staff, Joni Wickham, have launched a new consulting firm focusing on politics and public policy, they announced Wednesday.
James, who left office in August after two terms, and Wickham served together for eight years, a period that saw the birth of the downtown streetcar and a new single terminal under construction at Kansas City International Airport.
The firm will be called Wickham James Strategies & Solutions.
“It was enormously energizing to work side-by-side with a cutting-edge mayor who was unafraid to think big and take risks,” Wickham said in a statement. “Teaming up to launch this firm is a great next chapter.”
James said in the statement that he and Wickham had “an incredible ride” in the mayor’s office.
“Throughout my time as mayor, Joni was by my side taking care of business. Now she and I will move forward as business partners,” James said. “Wickham James Strategies & Solutions is the perfect way for us to put our experience, skills and track record to work for our clients.”
He added: “Plus, Joni wouldn’t know what to do if she wasn’t telling me what to do.”
They said Wickham James will focus on political strategy, communications, government relations, public policy and mediation of disputes. The two will also be speaking across the country on education, women’s leadership and good governance.
Wickham is slated to appear next week at an event for She Should Run, a nonprofit that encourages women to run for public office and offers resources to help get started.
Leaders at She Should Run, the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, the Women’s Foundation and Bloomberg Associates lauded the Wickham James partnership in the release.
“Kansas City...is safer, greener, more inclusive, more innovative and efficient thanks to their bold leadership,” Bloomberg Associates CEO George Fertita said. “Their authenticity and commitment to solving complex challenges and delivering results made it a pleasure for us to work together and help deliver on their ambitious goals for the city.”
Wickham and James were scheduled to speak at a downtown lunch event later Wednesday.