Kim Nakahodo, Deputy City Administrator, City of North Kansas City
Briefly describe the business/industry you are in ... What does your company do ... What is your company’s mission ...
I am proud to serve in local government for the City of North Kansas City, Missouri. Our mission is to deliver quality professional public services to all residents, businesses, and visitors in the North Kansas City community.
What led you to choose the profession or business/industry you are in ... why do you do what you do?
I fell backward into local government service. My original intent was to be a professional artist for Hallmark, and I was placed on their hiring list. I was in the long process of waiting for a position to open at Hallmark, when I accepted a position with the City of Kansas City, Missouri. Initially, I thought I would take the City job while waiting for my dream job at Hallmark to open up. About a year later, I received a call from Hallmark to begin the onboarding process, when I declined the opportunity to remain in local government.
To my own surprise, I had found my true calling, public service. A local government career allows you to use your skills and talents for the public good, serve others, and do together what we cannot do alone. To me, there is no higher calling than public service, and I am honored to serve this community.
What has been the biggest challenge or risk in your career or your business?
Like many other public service industries, local government is experiencing a ‘great resignation.’ Many public servants are taking early retirement or leaving the industry entirely in large numbers. Unlike private-sector jobs, our positions or duties can quickly become politically charged. Many local government employees have been in fight-or-flight mode since the pandemic began and are weary from a long, politically-charged, complicated past few years. Finding and retaining employees, especially police officers, is our biggest challenge.
Who do you lean on for advice or ask for help ... do you have a mentor?
I am fortunate to have a great network of mentors in the Kansas City metro. One of the things I love most about public service is that it is a very collaborative space. Here in the metro, we root for each other, and are quick to work across institutional boundaries for the betterment of our collective communities. Having worked for the cities of Kansas City and Blue Springs, I am so thankful to have worked under great leaders who have taken the time to slow down and bring me along as they worked through issues so that I may do the same for those that come after me.
What are some of your interests or activities outside your career or business?
Family is everything. When I am not working on furthering my education, or my professional organizations, I can be found volunteering with Scouts BSA. I am proud to serve as Cubmaster to Pack 354 and Assistant Scoutmaster to Troop 354. Scouts BSA allows me to spend quality time with my kiddos and teach the next generation how to be good citizens, future leaders, and self-reliant. Plus, it justifies all my camping gear purchases!
What is one piece of advice you have for other Women in Business Leaders or other Female Entrepreneurs currently running a business or thinking about launching a company?
Support and cheer for each other, be a mentor and find a mentor. If you are interested in pursuing a local government career – let me know! We need more women in local government, both elected and staff. It may surprise you to learn that only 29% of the top local government officials are women. The percentage of women holding top leadership jobs has risen steadily between 2013 and 2022, from 22% to 29%. But according to experts, at our current rate of change, we will not reach gender parity among local government leaders until 2048.