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.