Winning Cultures

How four “Best Places to Work” in Kansas City built award-winning cultures and adapted to a virtual workforce during the pandemic.


< Back to all events

Winning Cultures

How four “Best Places to Work” in Kansas City built award-winning cultures and adapted to a virtual workforce during the pandemic.

Winning Cultures

How four “Best Places to Work” in Kansas City built award-winning cultures and adapted to a virtual workforce during the pandemic.

What makes a company’s culture flourish, while others fall flat and never seem to catch on?

Hear from four businesses that have been recognized as “Best Places to Work” in Kansas City.  Our panel of executives will offer an inside look at how their award-winning cultures were built, then highlight what’s being done to maintain a positive environment (even in the middle of a pandemic).


Brian Leitner, CFP, ChFC
Chief Practice Management Officer
Mariner Wealth Advisors

Brian oversees Mariner Wealth Advisors’ regional leadership team to ensure advisors have resources to deliver a personal client experience. In addition, he is responsible for organic growth within the company and is a member of the firm’s executive committee. Brian also hosts Mariner’s podcast, “Your Life, Simplified,” available on iTunes, Google Play and YouTube.

Mariner Wealth Advisors has 700 employees. It was named a “2020 Best Places to Work” by Kansas City Business Journal, placing #2 overall in their category. Barron’s has ranked Mariner as a top-five Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) for the last five years, and Forbes has recognized their top women advisors and top advisors since 2016 as well.


Debbie L. Wilkerson
Greater Kansas City Community Foundation

As the leader of the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, Debbie’s job is to help individuals, families and companies make the world a better place. Debbie oversees a friendly, professional and flexible team dedicated to providing donors with an extraordinary giving experience. Debbie currently serves as a board member for BioNexus KC and Notre Dame de Sion and is involved in several community organizations.

The Foundation has a team of 80 employees. With an asset base of more than $3.5 billion, it is a national leader in charitable giving services, consistently ranking among the top one percent of community foundations across the country. The organization was recognized as one of the top three in the small business category of Ingram’s “2020 Best Companies to Work For.” In 2019, the Foundation was a runner up in their “2019 Best Places to Work” category.


Ramin Cherafat
McCownGordon Construction

Ramin played an integral role in establishing McCownGordon as one of the region’s largest general contractors. He has more than 25 years of experience in construction operations and a track record of delivering overall business growth. With a strong leadership role in the Kansas City community, Cherafat has been involved in numerous civic organizations. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce as Chair-Elect.

McCownGordon has 500 employees and has been recognized 16 years in a row as one of Kansas City’s “Best Places to Work.” Fortune magazine ranked the firm as one of the “Nation’s Top 100 Medium-Sized Companies to Work For” in 2018 and 2020, as well as one of the 2019 “Best Workplaces for Millennials.” The company was also named 2019’s #1 general contractor by the KC Association of American Subcontractors and achieved first place in 2020’s Safety Excellence Award by KC Builders Association.


Sean Miller (Moderator)
The Miller Group

Sean has been a part of the Miller Group for over 30 years.  Along with his brother Matt, President of the Miller Group, they have built one of the largest insurance and employee benefits agencies in the region.  Continuing their father’s life’s purpose of “serving others for the greater glory of God” and his values of “placing God, family and community first,” they have created a truly unique culture that has received multiple awards. They were also recognized by Nonprofit Connect as the Business Philanthropist of the Year in 2017.

The Miller Group has 65 employees. It was recognized as a Kansas City’s “Best Places to Work” by the Kansas City Business Journal in 2017, 2019 and 2020. It has also been named a “Healthiest Place to Work” every year since 2017.





2:00pm  - 3:00pm