A Q&A with Mindi Giftos

A Q&A with Mindi Giftos
Mindi Giftos (center) with some of her Girls on the Run crew.

Where’d you grow up? 
Belleville, Wisconsin. There were thirty-six people in my graduating class. I then lived in Florida for twelve years, where I was definitely still growing up.

What were you like as a child? 
A complete terror. Just ask my parents. Actually, please don’t. They really love to share stories.

Explain your job in one sentence. 
I help companies and individuals build value in and protect their most valuable assets, including their brands, content, research, data and inventions.

Do you live by a motto or catchphrase? 
Go big or go home.

When did you start running? 
It all started as an informal if not inadvertent challenge when I was in law school. My boyfriend (now husband) told me I couldn’t run three miles. I, of course, had to prove him wrong and fell in love along the way, in more ways than one. 

Why did you get involved with Girls on the Run, the nonprofit that coaches girls from third to eighth grades in running, social and life skills? 
My friends kept telling me it was a great program, but I kept telling myself I didn’t have time as a mother and private-practice attorney. Then, in 2009, when my son entered third grade, I saw his social landscape really change, and it was not for the better. I realized how powerful the program could be and gave Sara Pickard, the executive director, a call. From there I enlisted friends to start Girls on the Run of Cottage Grove and joined the board of directors for GOTR of Dane County. The rest is history.

What do girls who participate gain? 
Their voices; a deep-seeded belief in themselves; tools to make smart, healthy decisions; knowledge that they have strength no one can take away; compassion for the people and world around them; the ability to set and reach personal goals; and, of course, the importance of taking time to have fun.

What’s your favorite pick-me-up? 
Funky, knee-high running socks.

What goal are you currently working on?
I am training for the Chicago Marathon and am hoping to break or at least get to my personal best of three hours and twenty-three minutes.

What rules do you believe in breaking?  
Any that seem arbitrary and illogical. And speed limits. I am really, really bad about speed limits (even though I will admit they are not always illogical or arbitrary).

What’s your best vice?
I am an eternal optimist, incredibly loyal and often honest to a fault.

What’s the best book you’ve ever read? 
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou. I first read the book as a freshman in high school. The tragedy, yet strength, courage and optimism, really struck me and has always stayed with me.

What do you consider a great thrill?
Making a difference in the lives of others.

What do you wish you could tell your twenty-year-old self?
Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

Describe yourself in three words.
Authentic. Generous. Fun.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?  
If you are going to do something, do it right and do the best you can. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

Mindi Giftos is a shareholder at Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek S.C. She is also chair of the board of directors of Girls on the Run of Dane County, which holds its annual fall 5K race November 8. Visit girlsontherundaneco.org for more information.  

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