Children’s Mercy announced that Michelle P. Wimes, JD, a leading expert in diversity, has been named Senior Vice President and Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer, effective September 14.
In this role, Wimes will develop an equity and inclusion strategy that represents the perspective of patients, families, employees, community partners and suppliers. She will be a strategic advisor and educator to Children’s Mercy; use data to assess cultural competency and develop action plans to close gaps; and collaborate with leadership to address health disparity and foster a workplace culture of inclusion.
“I’m pleased to announce a significant step we are taking on the path forward. This is a pivotal time, not just for Children’s Mercy, but also for our region and country,” said Paul Kempinski, MS, FACHE, president and CEO of Children’s Mercy. “Reducing health disparities in the communities where our patients and families live, and building an organizational culture of engagement, diversity and collaboration are crucial steps in this work as we move toward our vision of creating a world of well-being for children.”
Wimes holds a J.D. degree from Tulane Law School, completed graduate studies at the University of Seville in Spain, and earned undergraduate degrees from the University of Missouri in Communication Arts and Spanish Language and Literature. She joins Children’s Mercy from Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart, PC, one of the nation’s largest labor and employment law firms where, as Chief Diversity and Professional Development Officer, she led efforts to attract, develop and promote a diverse group of attorneys across the firm’s 53 offices. She previously practiced law at marquee law firms in Kansas City, handling employment, immigration and civil rights litigation, providing counsel to public school districts and using her language skills in Spanish and Portuguese to defend clients in suits filed in U.S. and Latin American courts.
Wimes is nationally known for her writings and presentations on professional development and diversity and inclusion in the workplace. In the community, she currently serves on the board of the University of Missouri Kansas City. Throughout her career, Michelle has held board and committee positions for dozens of non-profit organizations addressing education, domestic violence, health care and the arts.