Growing up in Langdon, North Dakota, Chanda Klemisch often felt conflicted when it came to her heritage. As the mixed-race daughter of a member of the Spirit Lake Sioux tribe, she was sometimes made to feel like an outsider; cruel nicknames from her classmates alienated her from the majority-white community in her town.
It took an extended journey overseas for Chanda to appreciate her unique story. She spent four years in Europe—primarily in Vienna, Austria—that exposed her to a world of difference that she could previously only imagine. Amid the cosmopolitan hustle of a major world city, Chanda discovered a newfound confidence and pride in her own heritage—recognizing her differences as a strength, and not a liability. Shortly after returning to the United States, Chanda started at Gray Plant Mooty’s Fargo office as an LAA, and she feels fortunate to find an employer that shares her same commitment to a culturally diverse, community-oriented environment. “It’s so refreshing to work with people who are open-minded and culturally aware,” Chanda says. “A culturally diverse workforce doesn’t just make us happier and more productive, it makes us stronger.”
With many family members still living on the Spirit Lake reservation, Chanda remains deeply troubled about the serious economic and social challenges afflicting the community. As GPM expands its community presence in Fargo and beyond, she hopes the firm will continue to find more ways of reaching out and serving those in need.
Inchan Hwang has lived all over the world. He was born in South Korea and lived there until he moved to the U.S. in second grade. His family moved between Korea and the United States a couple more times before permanently settling in New Jersey. After high school, Inchan moved halfway around the world again, this time to attend college in Tokyo.
Inchan is currently President of the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association – Minnesota Chapter, which supports Asian Pacific American lawyers, judges, and law students and advocates for the legal needs and interests of the Asian Pacific American community. He also served on the board of Japan America Society of Minnesota, a nonprofit that promotes cultural and business exchange between the U.S. and Japan.
“Every law firm talks about diversity, but I saw firsthand that Gray Plant Mooty lives it every day, allowing people from different backgrounds and seniority levels to be acknowledged and heard,” Inchan said. “All ideas here are valued and put into the mix. We are also continually encouraged to get involved in diversity causes both within our firm and out in the community.”
Angie is the picture of someone unafraid to tackle new challenges. Originally hired as a receptionist in 1991, her duties at Gray Plant Mooty have expanded to include project support for several departments, including accounting, human resources, and marketing. While Angie’s determination to excel clearly shows in her work, her independent spirit goes well beyond the office. Despite physical limitations that have caused her to use a wheelchair since childhood, she navigates the downtown Minneapolis streets and skyways with practiced ease. During the business day, her constant companion is Dozer, a service dog that Angie has had for two years.
“This firm and its people have always embraced me openly. At my wedding, a number of attorneys said they felt like they were at a family reunion because there were so many current and former Gray Plant Mooty people in attendance. Those comments are a testament to my 19 years with the firm. I’m a coworker, but also friends, with people at all levels of Gray Plant Mooty. They may not be related to me by blood, but they are family.”
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Gray Plant Mooty is recognized as one of the leading corporate law firms in Minnesota and one of the top franchise firms in the world. Our roots go back to 1866. Today, we are a 180-plus attorney, full-service firm with offices in Minneapolis and St. Cloud, Minnesota; Washington, D.C.; and Fargo, North Dakota.