Mindi Giftos, Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek, S.C.
IB's Professional of the Week is the premier way to meet the state's professionals. This week features Mindi Giftos, intellectual property litigation attorney for Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek, S.C.
Business Address: 33 East Main St., Suite 300, Madison, WI 53703
Birthplace: Manchester, Conn.
Spouse/Partner’s Name: John Giftos
Board Membership: President and director, Avenues to Community; vice chair and director, Girls on the Run of Dane County
Organizations: International Trademark Law Association, American Intellectual Property Association, Wisconsin Intellectual Property Association, DRI – The Voice of the Defense Bar
Education: B.S., Florida State University; J.D., University of Florida Levin College of Law
Mindi, how long have you been with the law firm, and what is your day-to-day role in the organization?
I have been an attorney in the Madison office of Whyte Hirschboeck Dudek for more than five years. I represent clients in a wide array of industries with complex intellectual property matters. My practice focuses on intellectual property litigation; intellectual property counseling, protection, and licensing; and identifying and following emerging trends and technology law.
Who outside the firm has influenced your career the most, and in what way?
My husband. He always believes in me and encourages me to push myself outside of my comfort zone to reach my goals, both personal and professional.
Is there a businessperson you’d say you emulate?
That is difficult because there are so many interesting and commendable leaders in our community. The businesses and individuals I work with, as well as some of the leaders I volunteer with, are outstanding. I do not strive to emulate any one person. Instead, I try to take positive characteristics from all those I meet.
What has been a career highlight?
I had the privilege of representing a developmentally disabled adult on a pro-bono guardianship matter involving a minor (nondisabled) child. It was refreshing to give back in an area I do not typically practice.
What is a long-range goal that you’d like to achieve?
I would like to be recognized as a leader in my area of law, and I would like to become a shareholder and leader at my firm – a go-to attorney for companies’ and individuals’ intellectual property needs – and become a leader in the nonprofit organizations I support.
Was being an attorney always a career goal?
I was not sure what I wanted to do with my life while I was in high school. However, my parents always instilled in me the importance of working hard so I could open doors for myself. I knew I wanted to get into a good college so I could learn many different things and open myself up to many opportunities.
Your very first paycheck: For what and from where?
I worked as a dishwasher at a local restaurant when I was 15 years old.
How did you get from Connecticut to Madison?
I was raised in southern Wisconsin but lived in Florida for 12 years during college, law school, and the first few years of my career. My husband changed jobs and we moved back to the Madison area about eight years ago. I wasn’t sure about it at first, but it was a great move for our family. We love the Madison area because it is an excellent place to live and an ideal place to raise a family.
Care to share anything about your family?
My husband, John, is also an attorney and he’s in a very talented and fun local band, Undercover. I love going out to hear them play. My boys are at very fun ages (10 and 11) and I enjoy watching all of their sports and spending time with them.
Quality of life … what do you do “beyond the office” that brings you happiness or relaxation?
I love traveling and spending time with my husband and two boys. I am also an avid runner and enjoy training for and racing marathons. I am also actively involved in Girls on the Run, which is a positive youth development program that encourages young girls to become self-confident, involved, and healthy leaders. And I am a contributing writing to a women’s running blog, Salty Running.
You mentioned travel. What is your favorite destination and why?
My family loves visiting the national parks throughout the United States. Currently my favorite is Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. It is majestic, filled with wildlife, and offers many opportunities to get out and explore via hiking, kayaking, rafting, etc.
Mindi, we always close with the challenge to list three words you think best describe you. What would your three identifiers be?
Compassionate, intelligent, bold.
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