Age 32 | Shareholder attorney, Davis Brown Law Firm

Even while she was attending Drake University Law School, Courtney Strutt Todd never thought she’d end up working at a law firm.

“I always thought of lawyers as this TV-show, courtroom kind of drama, and that never enticed me,” Strutt Todd said. “I always wanted to do the business side of it, build things, make people happy.”

A certified public accountant, Strutt Todd always thought she’d use her legal skills to work in an accounting firm. But an internship at Davis Brown changed her mind.

Strutt Todd now uses her job to fulfill her desire to make people happy. “A lot of what we do is we build things,” she says, which includes helping private colleges, hospitals and other nonprofit organizations obtain public financing for building projects.

She also does a large amount of pro bono work, often helping with tax work for people who have gotten in trouble with the Internal Revenue Service or Iowa Department of Revenue. She’s also handled what she calls outside-the-box cases for her, things such as divorces.

“In these types of circumstances, if you have these sets of skills, you need to be able to do something to help out,” Strutt Todd said.

Strutt Todd also helps out as a volleyball coach at Urbandale High School, her alma mater. She took on those duties while at Drake, as a way to focus on something besides law. Eight years later, she still enjoys this respite from professional duties. “I love it,” she said. “I’m not even sure that they get as much out of me as I do out of them.”

Her other community involvement stems from things she is passionate about. As someone who luckily outgrew epilepsy as a child, she’s a member of the Iowa Advisory Council for the Epilepsy Foundation of North/Central Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska. Strutt Todd has been active in the American Cancer Society, and is currently serving a three-year term as treasurer of the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute board.

Five reasons she’s a 40:

• In 2008, Strutt Todd was recognized by the Polk County Bar Association Volunteer Lawyers Project for providing more than 200 hours of pro bono legal service.

• She organized a yearlong firmwide drive for donations to send to troops in Afghanistan, as well as students in Panjshir province.

• She was heavily involved in 2009 Hoops for Hope Coaches vs. Cancer events, one of which, a gala, raised $175,000.

• In the past three years, Strutt Todd has worked as either bond counsel, underwriter’s counsel or issuer’s counsel on approximately $1.4 billion in general government bonds.

•”If I had a daughter who played volleyball, I would want her to play for Courtney Strutt Todd,” says William Watson, director of activities and community education at Urbandale High School.

Mentor: David VanSickel, senior shareholder at Davis Brown

Fun fact: As an undergraduate student at the University of Northern Iowa, Strutt Todd played on the club rugby team, which won the Division II national championship two years during her tenure.

Presenting the 2013 winners:

Desmund Adams, Principal, AdamsDouglas
Lindsay Alderman, Client operations manager, LightEdge Solutions Inc.
Erica Axiotis, Director of development, Mercy Foundation
Kate Banasiak, President and CEO, Diversified Management Services Inc.
Erin Beamis, Senior vice president of logistics and operations, IronWorks
Jonathan Brendemuehl, Marketing events coordinator, Bankers Trust Co.
Curtis Brown, Economic development director, city of Ankeny
Matt Connolly, President, Generation Green Builders Co.
Lawrence Cunningham, Director of business development, Catchfire Media LLC
Angela Dethlefs-Trettin, Director of community investment and initiatives, Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines
Josh Fleming, Digital strategy director, Lessing-Flynn Advertising Co.
Felix Gallagher, Principal, PharmServ Solutions
Lori Gelhaar, Director of career services/ corporate relations, Kaplan University
Tina Gray Carstensen, Marketing coordinator, Shive-Hattery Inc.
Shane Greenleaf, Vice president/commercial banker, First American Bank
Danielle Haindfield, Shareholder attorney, Ahlers & Cooney P.C.
Emily Harris, Patent attorney and shareholder at Davis Brown Law Firm
Matthew Harris, Division administrator, Iowa Arts Council, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs
Angela Hilbert, Sales and marketing director, Deerfield Retirement Community
Joey Hinke, President, Miller, Fidler & Hinke Insurance Agency Inc.
Hannah Inman, Director of communications, Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation
Keegan Kautzky, Director of national education programs, The World Food Prize Foundationn
John Lozier, Pediatric interventional cardiologist, Pediatric Cardiology P.C.
Dennis McDaniel, Police chief, Windsor Heights
Rachel McLean, Vice president/consultant, Ruan Cos
John Mickelson, Associate managing director, The PrivateBank & Trust Co.
Keith Olson, Commercial associate, NAI Ruhl & Ruhl Commercial Co.
Matt Ostanik, President, Submittal Exchange LLC
Benjamin Page, Director, Des Moines park and recreation
Dustin Peterson, Partner, McGladrey LLP
Nick Renkoski, Director of marketing and communications, Des Moines Metro Opera
Rachel Rowley, Partner, BrownWinick PLC
John Ruan IV, Vice president, financial institutions, Bankers Trust Co.
Jennifer Soma, Business lead, IDI Actuarial and Product Development Group, Principal Financial Group Inc.
Heather Starr, Real estate agent, RE/MAX Innovations
Aimee Staudt, Director of development, Knapp Properties Inc.
Courtney Strutt Todd, Shareholder attorney, Davis Brown Law Firm
Nikki Sylverson, Event Director, Des Moines Wine Festival Foundation
Howard Tempero, Experience design strategist, Spindustry Digital
Tony Timm, Executive director, Central Iowa Shelter & Services