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KC Mayor Sly James seeks young professionals for “Challenge Cabinet”

Kansas City, Mo. mayor Sly James (left) today opened applications for a new group of young professionals that will serve as an advisory panel to the city’s government.

Dubbed the mayor’s “Challenge Cabinet,” the new group’s goal will be to transform the way City Hall approaches problems, working to develop efficient, effective and enhanced municipal operations, according to a press release from the mayor’s office today.

“I am looking for applicants that exhibit a passion for civic duty, and the creativity and ingenuity necessary to confront the complex problems of our City to serve in my Challenge Cabinet,” James said in the release. “I want to demonstrate how city government can be inspired by the collaboration of people from different industries and walks of life who use their talents for the betterment of our City and community.”

The Challenge Cabinet will work directly with the City’s recently hired chief innovation officer (below) and the Code for America fellows, both of whom start Monday. It will have access to a number of resources in Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, as well, including University of Missouri-Kansas City‘s Proof of Concept Lab and Bloch School of Management, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Google Fiber, according to the release.

Applications to the Challenge Cabinet, due Feb. 27, are available on the mayor’s website. The new group will be selected prior to the Mayor’s State of the City Address in March.

KC adds chief innovation officer

James also recently announced the appointment of Ashley Z. Hand (left) as the City’s first chief innovation officer, a position dedicated to finding innovative ways to solve complex city problems and improve citizen satisfaction.

Hand, who begins Monday, fills a role has only been created by a handful of cities, according to the mayor’s office.

“I am excited to have Ashley on board as we continue to drive City Hall toward a model of efficiency. Ashley’s connection to neighborhoods, understanding of bureaucracies and engaging spirit will serve Kansas City well,” James said in a press release.

For the past five years, Hand has been an associate at AECOM where she helped clients adopt best management practices, including the incorporation of technology. Last year, James appointed Hand to serve on the City’s Planned Industrial Expansion Authority.

To learn more about Hand’s background, see the mayor’s press release.


Credits: Mayor Sly James photo from LaunchKC. Ashley Hand photo from LinkedIn.

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