The Business Domain: 
Collaboration and Partnerships 

Unite KC employs a strategy using 11 vertical markets, known as domains, to help people engage in taking active steps toward racial healing in Kansas City, starting with their own area of expertise or interest. The Business Domain is one of those 11 domains.

Friday mornings begin early for businessmen Ed Butler, Vice President of Vyve Broadband, and Ricky Paradise, President of Jack Stack BBQ.

Before their respective workdays officially begin, they co-lead a virtual meeting with one main agenda: to discuss how to take practical steps toward racial reconciliation in Kansas City’s business sector.

Getting Acquainted

The two men first met during the summer of 2020 as Unite KC began to form. Little did they know they would soon become comrades in arms, leading the Business Domain members’ work to improve racial equality within their respective spheres of influence. Little did they know that in the process, they would become friends.

“We’re both family men who are led by our faith,” Ed says. “That commonality—as well as the insights we are gaining about one another’s experience—is creating a strong connection between us.”

The same is true of other business domain members.

“What makes our conversations within the domain unique is that we are sharing viewpoints that aren’t always shared during the course of a typical business day.”
Ed Butler

Business Domain, Unite KC

Sharing Viewpoints

“What makes our conversations within the domain unique is that we are sharing viewpoints that aren’t always shared during the course of a typical business day,” Ed continues.

“There are wonderful opportunities for learning about race and equality in an open and non-judgmental atmosphere.”

At some point during the meeting, there’s typically a personal story that is shared—often with vulnerability—and these moments help generate insights.

Ricky recalls how he was personally impacted when he brought men—both Black and white—together to try to gain more understanding about last summer’s racial protests.

“Some of the Black men in the group—many who had a lot in common with me—shared experiences of how they’d been mistreated by teachers, police, employers, merchants and others. It blew my mind, and it taught me that different people have different experiences right here in my hometown.”

Unite KC believes this kind of learning combined with collaboration and partnership is key to addressing racial equality in Kansas City.

Unite KC’s leadership team distributes boxed lunches, facilitated by the Business Domain in partnership with Freedom Fire Ministries, Fiorella’s and KCPD.

Driving Change

“We’re striving to drive change in the city’s business community by partnering with nonprofit agencies and organizations that are already doing good work,” Ricky says.

“We think members of the business domain can use their collective experience and connections to build relationships and further the good work that’s being done.”

For example, one action item on the Business Domain’s list is to improve access to funding for these organizations so they can address training or development needs for people from underserved communities.

Another goal is to help companies provide mentorships and develop talent so they can create diverse workforces.

“Through Unite KC, we’re trying to attack a big problem by encouraging simple, yet powerful steps.”

Ricky Paradise

Business Domain, Unite KC

Creating a Better Place

Ed and Ricky, strangers just 10 months ago, now talk with one another regularly.

“We’re both businessmen, family men and churchgoers, and we both love our city,” Ricky says.

“And through Unite KC, we’re trying to attack a big problem by encouraging simple, yet powerful steps.”

“There are no easy solutions,” Ed says, “but we know progress can be made so that Kansas City can become a better place for everyone.”