35 Under 35: Sam Brant, Softlines Merchant Lead, SCHEELS E-Commerce

Written by: Brady Drake

Tell us about yourself. Tell us who you are and what you do.

I am originally from the Reno/Sparks area and loved growing up in Nevada surrounded by the mountains. I went to college in San Diego and while it was beautiful, it was not a place I wanted to live long-term, so I moved back home and met my husband while working at SCHEELS.

We still both work at SCHEELS and feel so fortunate to have found careers at the Corporate Campus in Fargo. I work in our e-commerce office and help drive sales in all of our soft goods shops. We have been in North Dakota for five years now and are adjusting to the winters like true natives.

We have a one-year-old baby girl named Emilia and she is the light of our lives! She and her two puppies keep us busy, but we wouldn’t have it any other way!

Who are some people who have been influential in your journey and why? Who inspires you?

In my personal life, my mom, Jeannie Hudson, has no doubt been most influential. She has always set such a good example as a strong role model and is the most loving, generous, and giving person. I was able to take a lot of scary leaps in my life knowing she always had my back should I need her unwavering support!

I have had a lot of amazing leaders in my professional life as well! My first mentor early in my career, Aubrey Matteson, truly taught me how to believe in myself and instilled the confidence in me that I can achieve anything I set my mind to, which has continued to propel me today.

My current leader, Nikki Fjerstad, has had the same belief in me as Aubrey and has truly been the best example as far as teaching me how to empower others and passing that along to our team to create strong future leaders.

What drives you?

Our daughter is my “number-one why” for everything I do. I want to show up and be a better version of me for her every day! I am driven to work hard, show kindness, and be that steady constant in her life that she can look up to. I also truly have a passion for helping others and love being able to pour all I can into my team and celebrate their successes. I am jokingly everyone’s biggest cheerleader, but jokes aside, I genuinely love seeing our team face challenges, grow and learn. Being a part of helping others get where they want to go is 100% my favorite part of my job!

What do you think can be improved in our business community?

The Fargo-Moorhead business community is blessed with a variety of industries. If there were more programs like United Way’s 35 Under 35, people from all those different industries would have more opportunities to network, collaborate, and build stronger business relationships. I would like to see the expansion of such collaboration among members of our business community. I have been immersed in what we lovingly call “SCHEELS culture” for my entire working career, and since I believe that culture is what makes SCHEELS so successful, I personally would like to share that culture with others in hopes of spreading that success.

What are some important life lessons you have learned?

To say it simply—stay true to who you are. It can be hard to ignore the desire to please people and not cave into the pressure of others, but in the end, being true to who you are and showing up as your authentic self without compromising your core values is so important.

What are you hoping to gain from the United Way 35 Under 35 Women’s Leadership Program?

What I am most excited about is both the opportunity to form relationships with other strong women in our community and the opportunity to grow personally outside of my career. The friendships and the connections I have the chance to develop with strong female leaders from all over the community that I normally would have never crossed paths with are almost surreal. I also know this program will challenge me and push me out of my comfort zone and because of that, I am excited to see the personal development strides I will make and am looking forward to how that will propel my leadership journey.

Tell us about 1-2 books, podcasts, or professional development experiences that have changed the way you view leadership.

John C Maxwell is a go-to at SCHEELS and for good reason! I am currently reading “The Maxwell Daily Reader,” but the top two I’d recommend are “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” and “The 5 Levels Of Leadership.”

Both of these have been utilized by many SCHEELS Leadership Teams both in-store and in our offices as they are dependable guides that outline how everything truly rises and falls on leadership.

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Brady is the Editorial Director at Spotlight Media in Fargo, ND.