City Auditor’s Office
City Clerk’s Office
City Planning and Development
Convention and Entertainment Facilities
|Dr. Rex Archer|
Neighborhood and Housing Services
Parks and Recreation
Director of Policy
McClain Bryant joined the Mayor’s staff after serving 7 years hard time in one of the nation’s largest law firms. A graduate of the George Washington University School of Law, and Florida A & M University’s Master of Business Administration program and undergraduate business school, McClain uses very little of her formal education to assist the Mayor with the formulation, implementation and tracking of his policy agenda. She loves working for the Mayor and serving this great City. When she is not serving the City, she serves the community on various local and national non-profit boards. She is an avid shopper and bargain hunter, and puts as much thought into her outfits as she does her work and community service. She has no husband and one dog appropriately named Sugar. When she leaves the Mayor’s office, she plans to write a fictionalized television pilot about her experiences in City Hall. No joke.
Special Assistant Office of Civic & Community Engagement
Chantell was born in warm, sunny San Diego, CA but grew up in the heart of America, Kansas City, MO. She is a proud Lincoln College Prep Tiger and HBCU alumni of Dillard University in New Orleans, LA where she majored in Marketing and MIS. When she was a Junior in college Hurricane Katrina hit but despite the challenges the city faced she decided to return after the devastation to complete her education because of her affinity for the university, rich culture, food and history of New Orleans. Chantell also has a Master’s in Management and Fundraising from Avila University and is a Certified Nonprofit Professional.
Director of Council & Community Relations
Jim Giles moved to the 29th floor of City Hall from the 22nd after working as an aide to Councilwoman Gottstein for the last four years. Prior to City Hall he worked in the nonprofit sector where money was equally scarce. Committed to many of Kansas City’s fine organizations, he was honored to serve at the local and national levels of the National Kidney Foundation and as executive director of the Jackson County Historical Society.
Both of his degrees, a BA in Sociology and MPA, were earned from Kansas City’s own UMKC. Although proud of his Roo heritage, he is surprisingly a KU basketball fan. His parents, three sisters and eight nieces and nephews are scattered across the country, but Jim envisions himself retiring in his Plaza apartment, watching Dancing with the Stars on DVR and reminding himself that frozen pizza is not a food group.
Michael Grimaldi is a Kansas City native with extensive, senior-level experience in public relations, marketing communications and newspaper journalism.
Before joining the Mayor’s office, Grimaldi was a public relations professional at Trozzolo Communications Group in Kansas City and, before that, at Corporate Communications Group in Overland Park, Kan. The Greater Kansas City Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America honored him with its 2014 Public Relations Professional of the Year Award. Previously, Grimaldi was an award-winning journalist at newspapers in Wisconsin, Illinois and Missouri, including 10 years at The Kansas City Star.
In the community, Grimaldi is a volunteer with the Heart of America Council of the Boy Scouts of America and a College of Liberal Arts & Sciences Connector at Park University in Parkville, Mo. He also is active at St. Peter’s Catholic Church in Brookside.
Grimaldi graduated from Rockhurst High School in Kansas City and holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He lives in the Astor Place neighborhood of south Kansas City with his wife, Carol. They are parents of an adult son, Joseph Grimaldi, Washington, D.C.
An Army brat who’s moved 20 times to some fantastic places in the U.S. and abroad, Julie Holland is proud to call Kansas City home and the place she’s lived the longest.
Julie joined the Mayor’s office after a year of adventure in Seoul, South Korea. Previously, she worked at the Kauffman School, the Kauffman Foundation, the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of Central New York, and congressional offices in Oklahoma and Washington, D.C.
Even though orange is not her color, Julie received her B.S. from Oklahoma State University and her MPA from Syracuse University. For fashion reasons, she switched to red and chose Northeastern for her doctorate in law in policy.
Julie and her husband live, sleep-deprived, with their two young sons in Waldo. She enjoys time spent with neighbors and fellow education enthusiasts as a board member of Friends of Hale Cook. In her spare time, Julie has no spare time; she has two small children as previously mentioned.
Senior Advisor for Digital Communications & Civic Marketing
Kelly is the middle child, which honestly explains a lot. A native of Omaha, Ne., she moved to Kansas City after a brief identity crisis landed her in event planning for professional sports organizations for the first few years of her career. Looking for an opportunity to serve the greater good, she transitioned into the non-profit sector, managing events and marketing efforts for national organizations until she discovered that public service is where she belongs.
With a B.S. degree in Public Relations from Northwest Missouri State University, and over 10 years experience managing communication
Kelly lives in a 102 year old home in the Brookside neighborhood with her husband and daughter. She loves home renovation projects and has a hard time trusting anyone who can survive without caffeine.
Special Assistant for Operations
Born and raised in the heart of the city. Katherine is what we would call a true Kansas Citian, having lived in almost every part of Kansas City. She is a graduate of Van Horn High School, where she could be found in the gym year round. Playing an essential role in the development of youth in the Center of Hope Youth Department she worked in a variety of roles from dance instructor to counselor to co-creative director for many years. Exemplifying to her daughter and others that you can be successful and still reach back to help others.
Katherine became a philanthropist in her own right joining to help promote awareness for many groups: the Sarah Coleman Breast Cancer Walk, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, AIDS Walk Kansas City, and CASA of Jackson County, just to name a few. If what Maya Angelou found to be true about the benefits of giving in that it “liberates the soul of the giver”, then we know Katherine’s soul is truly free!
With a love for history and politics, she decided, as Gandhi said, to be the change she wanted to see in the world. Not unlike a Where’s Waldo, there is no telling where she may pop up! And with her love for travel, there is no limit to where her passion will take her!
Special Assistant for Public Policy
Quentin is a son of Kansas City, having been raised in the Blue Hills neighborhood of Kansas City. He attended Paseo Academy for the Fine and Performing Arts, where he developed his affinity for policy debate and his panache for musical theatre.
After high school, Quentin accepted the reality that Broadway wouldn’t be beating down his door and that the only Tony he would ever encounter is his best friend’s alter ego, so he took the traditional route of racking up excessive debt by attending Rockhurst University. Quentin received a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication and Political Science and is currently pursuing his Master’s Degree in Communication. His interest in politics is rooted in his desire to make a difference in the lives of less fortunate people and enhance their understanding of the political processes.
As a self professed nerd, Quentin is aptly suited to be Special Assistant for Public Policy to Mayor James. His work involves researching developments and monitoring trends in various policy areas ensuring that Mayor James can make informed decisions based on facts and data.
Special Assistant for Public Affairs
Hilary, that’s right just ONE ‘L’, hails from the tiny, rural town of Brookfield, Missouri (don’t worry, no one knows where that is).
She recently graduated from William Jewell College in Liberty, MO with a B.A. in Political Science and is so grateful to be starting her career of pubic service in the Mayor’s office. Having completed various internships at the federal and state levels of government, Hilary has truly learned the value of the saying, “All politics is local.”
In her free time, Hilary enjoys living life in her adorable Hyde Park apartment where she’s learning how to cook… and not catch things on fire. She loves reading, spending time with friends and family, and hopes to one day master the art of sewing. Although a small-town girl at heart, Hilary loves exploring Kansas City and is excited to make this place her home.
Community Relations and Special Projects Coordinator
Rachel recently graduated from the University of Missouri- Kansas City with a Bachelor’s degree in English and is happy that she no longer has to answer the question, “So, what are you gonna do with that? Teach?” Rachel began her career with the City in June, 2013 as a Bright Futures intern for Chief Innovation Officer Ashley Hand. She formerly worked for Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri and continues to advocate for reproductive justice and other progressive causes in her spare time.
Rachel—unlike the majority of the staff—lives alone in her small, green Hyde Park apartment, where she doesn’t have to worry about spouses, children, or in-laws. She likes to spend her free time cooking, baking, sampling local restaurants, reading memoirs, visiting the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, and listening to Kanye West.
Rachel is originally from Cincinnati, Ohio and can’t seem to get her geographic loyalties right—while constantly advocating and working for Kansas City, she continues to root for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Don’t ask.
Chief of Staff
Joni moved to the City of Fountains in May of 2011 from Jefferson City where she worked for the Missouri Federation of Teachers, the Missouri Secretary of State’s Office, and the Department of Transportation (not at the same time) in communications and public policy. She has extensive experience in speech writing, project management, and gluten-free baking.
As an undergraduate, Joni caught the travel bug and studied democratic institutions and journalism in Russia. Because when you think democracy and freedom of the press, you think Russia. After surviving months of borsht and pickled meats, Joni attended the University of Missouri-Columbia where she received her masters degree in political science. This experience led her to work in the State Capitol for five years before moving to Kansas City.
Joni is originally from North Carolina, where she returns a couple times of year to polish her southern accent. She lives in Waldo, conveniently close to Waldo Pizza, with her husband, daughters, and the cutest shih-tzu to ever grace the Kansas City limits.
Director of Administration
Larissa Nutsch Westenkirchner grew up with four brothers and sisters in a Kansas prairie town called Norway, population 45. After high school she attended college at Loyola University Chicago, where she earned a B.A. and later an M.A. in Political Science. She met her husband Anthony while both were Loyola undergrads; and after surviving a Category 5 hurricane during their honeymoon, their ensuing years of marriage have been a piece of cake. Prior to joining the Mayor’s office, Larissa worked at small criminal defense and personal injury law firms in Chicago, and Polsinelli Shughart in Kansas City.
When she’s not wrangling several calendars at a time, Larissa can be found at home in the Northland wrangling her two children (daughter Aisling and son Oscar). In her free time, Larissa enjoys spending time with her family, discussing politics, cooking and baking (especially for holidays), and crafting (or mainly just thinking about crafting, since she’s approximately a decade behind on her scrapbooks). Larissa is also an avid movie fan; her favorites include “The Big Lebowski”, “Coming to America” and anything starring Matt Damon. She is a member of the American Political Science Association, loves the color yellow, and could eat her favorite food, Indian curry, every day of the week.
Staff photography by Jenny Wheat of Wheat Photography.
Blue Ribbon Commission on Ethics Reform
Andrea Bough, Chair
Brian D. Ellison
Barbara Glesner Fines
Citizens’ Commission on Municipal Revenue
Stanton, Susan, Chair
Rev. Thomas Curran
Donna Wilson Peters
Mayors Task Force for the Arts
Mike Burke, Chair
Pat JordanJay Tomlinson
Airick L. West
Commission on Violent Crime
Stacey Daniels-Young, Chair
C. Stan Henry
Rev. John Miles
Mayor’s Bistate Innovations Team
Mikes Burke, Chair
Alejandra Couchonnal McManus
Project Rise Advisory Committee
Patrick “Duke” Dujakovich
Tracy McFerrin Foster
Parks and Recreation Board of Commissioners
Jean-Paul Chaurand, Chair
Land Clearance for Redevelopment Authority
Michael Duffy , Chair
JoAnne Fox Rahtjen
Public Improvement Advisory Committee
Deb Hermann, Chair
Tax Increment Financing Commission
Ronald Yaffe, Chair
Mayor Pro Tem – Cindy Circo