Editor’s note: KCultivators is a new, lighthearted profile series we’re kicking off to highlight people who are meaningfully enriching Kansas City’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. Check out our other features on Robert Manigold, Susan Wally and Donald Carter.
Adrienne Haynes caught an entrepreneurial bug as a teenager.
With a passion for helping young people, she aspired to launch a summer camp that created a safe place for kids outside the home. She hoped to build a place where they could learn, grow and pursue their passions.
While she took a different route, Haynes is still helping people realize their hopes and dreams. In 2013, Haynes founded SEED Law, through which she offers legal services, pro bono office hours, consulting and business strategy for entrepreneurs.
With an eye for Kansas City’s underserved communities, she hopes to teach entrepreneurs how to build a solid foundation to improve economic opportunity for all people.
We caught up with Haynes to learn more about what drives her to make an impact in Kansas City entrepreneurship.
Job: Managing partner of SEED Law
Twitter handle: @Law4Innovators
Hometown: Peoria, Illinois
Favorite drink: I love lemonade — all types of lemonade!
A startup idea you don’t mind if readers steal: Somebody who packs for people before they go on trips. Please, somebody, do this.
A historical figure you’d like to have coffee with and why: Madam C.J. Walker. She’s the first black female, self-made millionaire in America and the world’s most successful female business owner of her time. She honestly was a trailblazer. I would be curious about what her professional journey was up to that point and what was the situation that made her say “OK, I’ll do it. I’m going to start this business.” A lot of us are entrepreneurial but you hit a point where you’re like “Either I’m going to do it, or nobody will” and you decide to do it. I’m curious to see how that journey was for her and maybe her biggest lessons learned because that had to be difficult in the 1860s. The way black people were treated then was completely different, so the fact that she made such headway and that we know her name today is incredible. She was 51 when she died and she made the most of her life.
Weirdest thing you’ve eaten: I eat a lot of different types of sushi, and I had Ostrich jerky once.
You’re up to bat for the Royals, what’s your walk-up song: “Shining” by Beyonce feat. DJ Khaled.
KC’s biggest area for improvement: Inclusion in entrepreneurship. I’m not from here so when I came here I learned about the dividing line on Troost Ave. There shouldn’t be a dividing line at this point. In our entrepreneurial ecosystem, why are there not more programs around entrepreneurship east of Troost? I ran an incubator on Prospect which was a great point of pride for me — but why was that such an anomaly? There are entrepreneurial people all over our city, and we need to do better about making sure that everybody is at the table. We can’t win if we’re not all there. As entrepreneurial of a generation as we are, we must work harder to make sure that everybody is at the table.
Favorite food joint in KC: Joe’s Kansas City, I can eat it every day. I could get a pound of beef brisket, I don’t even need the sandwich. I just need the brisket and the fries.
An influential book in your life: The most influential book I’ve ever read is the Bible. It’s influential because we don’t have all the answers and the Bible, to me, is a good guide on how the Lord wants us to live and how to develop a relationship with him.
What keeps you in Kansas City: My clients, and our emerging entrepreneurial ecosystem.
New technology that you’re most excited about: A technology that we use a lot in our business is called Clio. It’s a practice management software. I’m excited about it because it makes us be a more efficient business.
What you would do if you weren’t in your line of work: Running a summer camp somewhere or a professional singer.
What pisses you off: When people leave time on the microwave.
Favorite KC organization or brand: My favorite Kansas City brands are the big national brands that we know started here. So when we think about the Helzbergs, the Hallmarks, the Bloch family and the Kauffman Foundation — those organizations make a huge impact nationally and internationally, and they started here. It’s those kinds of brands that give me hope for the entrepreneurs that we’re working with today. That’s our pedigree in Kansas City, we breed strong entrepreneurial businesses and that’s awesome.
What you hope you’re remembered for: I would like to be remembered for being passionate, helpful and a contributing member of my community.
Biggest failure: Taking three times to pass the bar.
An inspiration in your life: I’m inspired on a daily basis by my clients and the courage that they have to be in business. That alone inspires me.
You can’t invest or save it — how would you spend $1 million: I would build an urban core startup village and a venture capital firm.
Man crush: I’m not going to tell you my real life crush, but my celebrity crush is Cam Newton, the quarterback for the Carolina Panthers.
Girl crush: Angela Benton, founder of the NewME Accelerator, which is a minority-owned accelerator. She’s a badass.
Recent weird dream: I don’t really dream, most of the time I’m falling in and out of consciousness sending emails.
Your mantra or motto: My life mission is to aid in the creation of sustainable business and transferable wealth, specifically in underrepresented communities.
Hidden talent or ability: I got two awards while in law school: best dancer and best party thrower.
You’re awake at 2:00 am, what’re you doing: I usually am. Replying to emails and watching Hulu.