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Member Voices

Meet a member: Brooke N. Schmidt

Brooke N. Schmidt is an Associate Attorney, practicing employment law, at Davenport, Evans, Hurwitz & Smith, L.L.P. A native of Aberdeen, Brooke earned a bachelor’s degree from USD then spent time doing missionary work for the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. She went on to study at Washburn University School of Law, where she received her Juris Doctorate. Brooke and her husband Nolan are the parents of three young children and a brand-new puppy. Brooke enjoys volunteering her time and talents with the South Dakota Bar Association, Sioux Empire Teen Court and Sioux Falls Thrive. This month, she graduated from the Chamber’s Leadership Sioux Falls program as a member of Class 37.

1. How did you choose your profession?

I started to notice a sincere interest regarding the judiciary and legal system when I was in high school. Once I started volunteering for the Brown County Teen Court as a volunteer defense and prosecuting attorney, my interest deepened.

2. What is the best piece of advice you have received?

My favorite professor, Dr. Michael Roche, always told his students to “look around the lantern.” This saying was to remind us that everyone’s view through the lantern is different, depending on where the person is standing. Everyone’s life experiences and circumstances shift their view through the lantern, and this enlightens our decisions and thoughts. We must physically move around the lantern, move from where we are comfortable, and “do the work” even when we do not agree with someone.

3. What is something you are optimistic about?

I see so many of my friends investing their time and being intentional with their children. I see them striving to share the inherent worth of all people and answering hard questions. I’m optimistic this will affect our future in a positive way.

4. What is a skill that you’d like to learn and why?

I would like to learn how to bake an awesome apple pie. If you know me, you know I am not the cook in my family. I would love to shock people with this new skill.

5. How do you approach challenges?

I start by acknowledging something is challenging and remind myself it is okay and normal not to know everything! Then I try to dive into the challenge whether this is through research or deeply analyzing the issue. Sometimes I make lists or timelines of events to help with the research or analysis. I also love talking through difficult issues with my colleagues and I’m grateful to work with individuals who are welcoming and supportive.

6. Why does your firm choose to invest in a Chamber membership?

I believe Davenport Evans sees the value of being invested and connected in our Chamber community. Personally, I see this investment as showing the importance of being rooted in the community.

7. What makes a great leader?

Someone who is committed to excellence and to the growth of the people they lead. Someone who can provide clarity in difficult situations and lives with integrity.

8. What is one community or non-profit organization that you support? Tell us about it and why its important to you.

It is so hard to name just one so I’m going to break the rules. My family supports Children’s Home Society. We believe the work it does is vital, and it strives to heal and strengthen children and families. We also support Sioux Falls Thrive, which is dedicated to the needs of Sioux Falls children from cradle to career. Thrive facilitates collaboration of community leadership to realign our existing resources and uses research to understand and strive to meet the needs of local children. We also enjoy supporting our local school and church.

9. What does a perfect day in Sioux Falls look like to you?

A perfect day in Sioux Falls consists of visiting a local library with my family, walking on one of the beautiful trails, and spending as much time outside in our neighborhood. Our neighbors are incredibly friendly and hospitable!

10. If you could witness any event of the past, present, or future, what would it be?

I would like to go back and witness Mother Teresa interacting with the individuals she served. Even her photographs exude a sense of peace and an intense love for people.