MORGAN / STANLEY : Kathleen Kunkler Moves Easily Between Offering Financial Advice and Rocking Out

Kathleen Kunkler is a financial adviser by day, a rocker by night, and a longtime leader in the Kansas City community.

She’s almost 28 years into her career with Morgan Stanley, which actually began with Dean Witter and continued after the two firms merged in 1997. As a financial adviser and vice president, she says, her job is to be “a financial GPS -- I help people get from point A to point B. … I’ll help you put that map together and guide you to your destination.”

She is exuberant about her work. “You have to love what you do to do it for this long. … I love what I do because I have great clients and I like the people that I work with.” She also cites the companies’ long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion, early adoption of domestic partner benefits, and community involvement.

Kunkler joined the Mid-America Chamber of Commerce as an individual when it first began in May 2012, and she was delighted when Morgan Stanley was interested in becoming a corporate member.

“They joined because it was the right thing to do. … They’ve always been inclusive. It’s part of who they are,” she says.

Kunkler has a lot of good things to say about being a part of the Chamber, as well. The business-to-business networking events, she said, are “probably the most important services the chamber provides. … We’re all on the same page; we’re all on the same side of the fence. You want to do business with people that are like-minded. It’s a good group and it’s good people.”

But her passions extend way beyond wealth management and networking.

Kunkler is the lead singer for Band Quattro, a local cover band that has enjoyed what she calls a “surprising, crazy, serendipitous” amount of success. “It’s taken on a life of its own,” she says with a laugh. You may have heard them around town at First Fridays or around the Plaza area playing for events. They’ve also landed national gigs like the NCAA Women’s Final Four basketball games in Denver and the Major League Baseball All Star Game in 2012, and the Women’s Big Twelve basketball tournament in 2013. You can learn more about them at

Her community involvement doesn’t stop at entertaining the crowds, however. She’s also on the board of No More Homeless Pets, a part of the Great Plains Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, and has been involved with AIDS Walk in Kansas City since it began.

Kunkler even came out to the community on KCUR-FM, the local NPR-affiliated radio station, an experience she called “empowering.” She quickly notes, though, that she was “never really in — I’ve always been comfortable with who I am.” She was invited to come on the air by Walt Bodine, the longtime broadcaster and Kansas City fixture. The show aired the day after Ellen DeGeneres came out on her daytime talk show in 1997.

“The next summer, I was invited to be the grand marshal-ette of the Pride Parade. So I’ve had my moments in the spotlight,” she says with a big smile.

It’s clear that she has a lot on her plate — and they’re all good things. In Kunkler’s own words: “I’m a very lucky girl.”

Photo Credit: Landon Vonderschmidt

The Mid-America Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (MAGLCC) is an organization that advocates, promotes and facilitates the success of the LGBT business community and its allies. Learn more at 

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