(Photo by Glynns Thomas)

Women in Leadership: Cheyanne Anquoe

Our annual salute to women at the top of their field

Back Article Mar 4, 2024 By Rachel Leibrock

This story is part of our March 2024 issue. To subscribe, click here.

Cheyanne Anquoe

COO, Arnold Law Firm

Cheyanne Anquoe was working at her first job at a local bookstore, thinking about the future, when a friend dropped in to chat and asked about her goals. There was an entry-level job opening up at a local criminal law firm, and her friend suggested she should apply.

Anquoe, then 17, had left home early and was trying to navigate adulthood on her own; the prospect seemed promising. What did she have to lose?

“As a young person, I’d always been fascinated with the law,” says Anquoe. “I thought if you were knowledgeable in the law that empowered you, it could help you throughout your life.”

Anquoe got the job, and now, nearly 25 years later, she’s worked her way up through the legal field from assistant to the chief operating officer for the Arnold Law Firm, which specializes in personal injury cases.

“People can be resistant to change. You have to create that path forward where it feels less challenging and scary.”

Her journey has been anything but typical. That first job, which she says further sparked her love of law, led to positions as a paralegal and legal secretary before she was hired at the Gold River-based Douglas Kraft & Associates. There, over the course of 19 years, she worked her way up to the position of director of operations and senior paralegal.

Anquoe says she’s made a point of learning as much as possible about nearly every avenue of law, including corporate law, family law and commercial real estate. She liked the latter focus so much that she also worked as a real estate agent for several years.

“I enjoy learning new things and being helpful and useful to people,” Anquoe says of her dual career. “Real estate helped me help people achieve their goals and dreams.”

Eventually, however, Anquoe says she realized she wanted to focus on law and when her boss, Douglas Kraft, retired in 2021, she pursued yet another new direction, going to work as a paralegal contracts manager for the then-new Sky River Casino in Elk Grove.

The position was short-term, but provided both new learning opportunities and a chance to recognize her heritage as an enrolled member of the Kiowa Tribe of Oklahoma. “It was fascinating to learn about the casino industry and hospitality, as well as the tribal pieces” of the business, she says.

In September 2022, Anquoe moved on again, landing at the Arnold Law Firm where, she says, she’s able to draw on all of her past experiences. Since then, she’s helped the firm expand and achieve the majority of its strategic planning initiatives. She also overhauled the company’s information technology systems and implemented a culture committee that hosts, among other events, monthly luncheons and family gatherings.

As a Native American, Anquoe says, she’s seen firsthand the need for cultural shifts in the workforce. “Every firm has a culture, but is it the right culture?” she says. “I’m big into diversity, equity and inclusion, and with this committee we have members from all the different departments and teams involved.”

Her Indigenous roots, she adds, have had an indelible impact on her career.

“I’m extremely proud of my culture and my roots to my family,” says Anquoe, who is a single mother to a 13-year-old son, Jaxson. “Anytime I’ve faced a challenge I’ve felt the strength of my ancestors and the power that comes from us as a people.”

As a leader, Anquoe says she enjoys sharing what she’s learned over the years to mentor and coach others through their own learning curves and changes.

“People can be resistant to change,” she says. “You have to create that path forward where it feels less challenging and scary.”  

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