In this episode, Gary O’Bannon, Executive-in-Residence at the Bloch School interviews Joni Wickham. Most people came to know Joni Wickham during her five-year stint as Chief of Staff for former Kansas City Mayor Sly James. Still more know her as the recent co-founder of Wickham-James Strategies & Solutions, a firm specializing in government relations, political strategy, mediations, public speaking, and leadership development. But did you also know she formerly worked for North Carolina Senator John Edwards or that she’s a best-selling author of the book, “A Thin Line Between Cupcake and Bitch”?
About Gary O’Bannon
Gary O’Bannon recently retired as the Director of Human Resources for the City of Kansas City, Missouri, after a 34-year career in public service where he managed a staff of 45 HR professionals who coordinated a comprehensive human resource program for approximately 5,000 employees.
He has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and a Master’s degree in Human Resources Management, in addition to graduating from both the Harvard and Michigan State University Schools of Negotiation. Gary has taught master’s and undergraduate-level human resource management and leadership curriculum at The Bloch School since 2012, and formerly at the University of Kansas and Avila University. He has served as a visiting instructor for George Washington University/Public Service School of Excellence in Washington, D.C. and the Maxwell School at Syracuse University in New York, and has been a frequent invited speaker at national and regional conferences on various human resource topics. He has also published work on the topic of generational issues.
Since 2009, Gary has been a member of the State of Missouri Human Resources Advisory Board, which provides compensation and personnel advice to the Governor’s Office, and has been the chairperson since 2014. Until his recent retirement as HR Director, he was a former member and past chair of the Bloch School of Management Human Resources Advisory Board. Currently, he serves as a Faculty Advisor for the student Human Resources Association.
During his HR career, Gary was the recipient of the Award of Excellence from the National Public Employer Labor Relations Association, as well as the Local Administrator of the Year Award from the Greater Kansas City Chapter of American Society of Public Administrators. In 1994, The Kansas City Globe newspaper cited him as one of the 100 Most Influential African-Americans.
From 1984-2003, Gary worked for various radio stations in the Kansas City area, as a news anchor and reporter. From 1984-1998, he co-hosted Urban Affairs, a public-affairs show on KCTV-5, with his long-time mentor Chuck Moore.