By Joe Lyman
Kim Jones is a board member for the Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and a partner at Seyferth Blumenthal & Harris LLC, a boutique labor and employment litigation firm in Kansas City.
“The great thing about my involvement with the Chamber, and with my work as a labor employment attorney, is that both are a convergence of a lot of my passions,” Jones said. “A lot of what we do in employment law is about diversity and inclusion.”
Jones began working at Seyferth Blumenthal & Harris in 2012. The firm works with the management side of companies to comply with the law and to make sure they are treating the employees appropriately. The law firm helps each company navigate the legal issues while still doing the right thing and operating a profitable business.
Jones’ previous employer was a much larger law firm, where she noticed that the business model tended to push the work down to junior people and give the experienced senior partners the responsibility of bringing in business. This method forced the experienced partners to become marketers instead of lawyers.
Of her current job, she says, “What really drew me to this firm was the notion that we kind of reject that. We really are subscribing to the notion that clients hire lawyers and not law firms. When a client reaches out to me, I am going to be doing the work. I am going to be very actively involved. We have the privilege to work with wonderful Kansas City companies and work with a lot of companies that have a national presence.”
As a member of the MAGLCC board of directors, Jones sees her legal background as her area of expertise. She says she helps the Chamber behave in a manner consistent with its nonprofit status and helps make sure that its programs protect the interests of the participants.
“The board as a whole really tries to work collaboratively,” says Jones. “We are gauging what is of value to the membership -- what they want. Then on the flip side, also identifying programs for services and implementing those which we think will be of use and value to members.”
Jones was born in Pittsburg, Kansas. She went to high school in Arkansas City, Kansas, and earned her undergraduate degree at Kansas State University. After graduating with her law degree from the University of Kansas, she moved to Kansas City.
Jones’ wife, Shelly, is also a lawyer. The couple originally held a commitment ceremony in 1999, but when given the opportunity to obtain a marriage license in Missouri, they wed on Christmas Eve 2014.
Jones and her wife are both members of many Kansas City boards. They are big supporters of the arts, including the Kauffman Center and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Beyond that, Jones says, they love to take care of their little dog.
“I think Kansas City is an incredibly inclusive community,” Jones says. “It’s such a cool community, such a vibrant arts community. How awesome is a city when the mayor’s name is Sly?”
She says, “Our mayor has such a passion for diversity anyway, so … you have a launch of a chamber in which the mayor of the city is at the launch, [and from"> one of the oldest families in Kansas City is the first corporate member, Don Hall. And the head of Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, Jim Heeter, is present. You realize it [MAGLCC"> isn’t just a little affinity group. This is really an important thing and an important organization to support.
“I like to think that the people who have joined have really found value in the programs, so that they really encourage others to participate in it.”
Photo credit: Landon Vonderschmidt