MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s an old saying that sports doesn’t just build character, it reveals it. However, these days, it’s also revealing opportunities for more and more women.
Jessie Stomski was part of an early wave of girls who benefited from Title IX when she played basketball at Tartan. Now, she’s using the things she learned as an athlete to make waves at a big time law firm.
These days, Stomski spends a lot of time in court as an attorney for Briggs Morgan. A far cry from high school, where she spent her time on the court.
“I did volleyball, basketball, softball and track,” she said. “All at the varsity level, and I was All-State in three of them.”
Basketball was played at Wisconsin, where she was an All-American, and her father showed support with a special jacket.
“It had huge Stomski letters and my number and Wisconsin on it,” she said. “He was just so proud.”
Terry Stomski was a prison guard, and his daughter’s inspiration. He was overjoyed when, after playing basketball abroad, she came home for law school. But then he got sick.
“People said there’s no way you can take care of this 250-pound man who has brain cancer, at home, just the two of you,” she said. “And we said there’s no way that we wouldn’t.”
So, Jessie and her brother moved into Terry’s house, and took care of him. Terry lost his battle, but not before learning she’d landed the job she wanted, at a prestigious downtown Minneapolis law firm.
She’s practiced law for two-and-a-half years at Briggs Morgan and applied the lessons she learned in sports.
“I think from sports that’s one of the biggest things that carries over,” she said. “like being on a team. I like operating a team and hopefully my teammates now they like to work with me as well.”
“Teamwork is really important in a law firm,” said Briggs Morgan attorney Lauren Lonergan. “Clients do expect you to get things done efficiently and well, and that requires teamwork. And she knows how to do that and it’s very helpful to us.”
In fact, Stomski says all of her teammates are doing well in the real world. Often in areas that used to belong to men.
“We didn’t have any barriers to being able to play basketball, play volleyball, do the things we wanted to do,” she said. “So, in our minds, why would there be a barrier to anything else we wanted to do?”
Terry was a Native American, and Jessie says she’s reconnected to that heritage since his death. In fact, she now plays basketball in all-Native tournaments at reservations around the country.