This year, we look forward to featuring several of our team members across the country in our People First Spotlight. Meet Danielle Foster-Smith, Ruan’s Vice President of Legal Services and General Counsel.
Q: Tell us a little about your career path and background.
I’ve lived my entire life in the Midwest. I have great memories of living in rural Iowa and near Lake Michigan in Indiana. I first studied classical vocal music with a desire to teach and perform. My undergraduate education was completed as a non-traditional student at Drake University in Des Moines, IA, where I received a B.A. in English with a concentration in women’s studies and a minor in music.
I had a strong interest in becoming a lawyer, and I had the good fortune to receive a full scholarship to attend the Drake University Law School. Becoming an attorney was the realization of a lifelong dream. In my career, I’ve enjoyed practicing family, juvenile, employment, civil rights, and insurance defense law. Immediately prior to joining Ruan, I was an in-house trial attorney for an insurance company. As a trial attorney, I earned a designation in trial advocacy from the National Institute of Trial Advocacy (NITA). I am licensed in Iowa, Nebraska, and Missouri.
Q: What do you enjoy most about working for Ruan?
I enjoy working with people and value the relationships with my coworkers. Ruan has allowed me to utilize my strengths and offer different approaches to accident investigation, litigation management, and claims resolution. In so doing, I’ve discovered new abilities and opportunities for personal development.
Q: What are your favorite memories during your time at Ruan?
Attending the annual Driver of the Year celebrations—especially meeting the drivers and their families!
Q: What excites you about Ruan’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion efforts?
This is a significant and meaningful development in Ruan’s ongoing journey and growth. I am confident that we will all learn and grow in respect for each other from participating in this effort.
Q: What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I enjoy spending time with my family. When I travel for fun, I enjoy long weekends at a retreat center in Florida. I love reading and listening all genres of music. Listening to classical music is very relaxing; this is my favorite pastime on Sunday mornings.
Q: In what ways are you involved in your community?
I wholeheartedly believe that it is important to give back and pay it forward. For over 30 years, I’ve served on several committees and boards of directors of non-profit agencies and schools. Currently, I am on the board of Orchard Place and serve on the Drake University National Advisory Council for the School of Arts and Sciences. I support the community through United Way’s Women United group. I hold a leadership position in my faith community with responsibility for the membership in Iowa and Nebraska.
Q: What would you like to do when the pandemic is over?
The pandemic has taught me to not take life for granted or put off doing what I enjoy. I promised myself that I will attend live theater, music, and dance performances. Once it is safe to do so, I want to travel to Japan and Great Britain.