Mayor James at the Bloch School

Photo by Janet Rogers, Strategic Marketing and Communications

City’s chief executive inspires students

Kansas City Mayor Sly James visited with students at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Henry W. Bloch School of Management, bringing a message of inspiration and support for their future in the city they share.

For more than an hour, the mayor talked with students, taking questions, offering advice and talking up the advantages they would have carving out lives and careers in the city where they are receiving their college education.

He also exhorted them to become more politically active, decrying their generation’s dismal voting record at the national level.

The mayor was introduced by Narbeli Galindo, who serves a dual role as both an instructor in International Business and Finance at the Bloch School, and as Mayor James’ Coordinator for International Business Development Initiatives.

James told the students they would be graduating into a city with a growing national and international profile for entrepreneurship and technology, thanks to assets such as Google Fiber and the Cisco “Smart Cities” network tied to the city’s new streetcar system.

He also told them that their generation – the Millennials – needs to take charge of its own future.

“Even 90-year-olds vote more than Millennials,” James said. “You have to give a damn about your city and your country.”

As graduates, he said, the students would find opportunity, but inevitably, encounter challenges and roadblocks as well. His advice for dealing with the latter:

“If you stand up, and show up, it’s going to be OK,” he said, a lesson he learned in boot camp as a U.S. Marine. “”If you show up every day, you’ll surprise yourself with resiliency you never knew you had. Just show up – every single day.”

Galindo asked the mayor to give some advice on negotiation to the roomful of future business leaders. He replied that the secret is listening well – well enough to discern the deeper messages a speaker may not be conveying directly.

“Don’t get trapped by the obvious. Seek the real needs that are lying beneath what’s expressed in the conversation,” he said. “It’s always important to find a way to get to a ‘yes’ in a way that leaves people feeling like they got something they need. Find a way to make people feel like they’ve been made whole. That’s not always monetary. Sometimes, it’s emotional.”

Asked to offer “words to live by,” Mayor James had a short and simple answer:

“You can’t do wrong by doing right.”

| John Martellaro / Strategic Marketing and Communications

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