As an interior design project manager, SiDonna Cox is fully aware of how aesthetics and functionality gel, and she is adept at steering projects to success. With years of experience, SiDonna embraces every opportunity to unearth the deep-seated needs and unique visions of clients. Her mastery in developing streamlined processes enables her to lead project teams with efficiency and attention to every detail.

But SiDonna’s talents extend well beyond the walls of Schmidt Associates. Her heart beats for the Louisville, Ky., community she loves. In the role of a servant leader, SiDonna champions the belief that true personal growth is the result of giving back and engaging with others. This year, SiDonna is taking that mantra to a whole new level as she is serving as chairwoman of the Fillies Derby Ball, a major event that signals the start of the annual Kentucky Derby Festival activities. Through this endeavor, she continues to exemplify her commitment to fostering a culture of generosity and involvement while thriving every step of the way.

To get the skinny on how SiDonna gracefully balances everything while proving herself to be a rising star, we spoke with her. Follow along as we uncover her unique insights that are positioning her as a true servant leader.

What is your background and some of the projects you’re working on currently?

I come from an interior design background, but before I joined Schmidt Associates, I served as a project manager, so this is a role where I get to combine both to serve the unique needs of our clients. Some of the projects I’ve gotten to work on include 24 projects for Farm Credit Mid America in four states, and I’m starting to get more involved with Congo Brands, which I’m thrilled about because they have a very different philosophy and way of working, so there will be a lot of opportunities for creativity. I also was recently introduced to LabCorp where I will be working with Lisa Gomperts.

Do you have any favorite projects?

I do. I cannot dismiss the impact Farm Credit has offered me. Things with this Owner have changed since I started, but the opportunities to lead, collaborate, and guide our team to serve the client’s needs has been a wonderful experience and an effective use of resources. What I have realized is that there is not one way of doing things, so getting to navigate the process and work with everyone’s abilities to deliver has been rewarding.

As you go through your creative process, what is most important to you?

Finding out the client’s uniqueness and bringing it back to the team is important. To fully understand this, I listen to learn how we can best serve them and then I navigate the teams to develop creative solutions. I thoroughly enjoy that part.

Outside of work, you are heavily involved in your community. What does that look like and why is it important to you?

I have always had a servant leader mentality. It allows you to grow and be a strong and compassionate professional, and it just feels good to give back. It also makes a difference when you work for a firm like Schmidt Associates that supports this. When I joined the firm, Sarah Hempstead reassured me of this, and she has never disappointed.

One of the organizations that benefits from your leadership is Fillies, Inc. How have you been involved with this organization?

In 2016, I became a member after being recommended by someone I know. I am all about supporting my community, and this is a group of 200 women who advocate for the welfare of Louisville. The group is very visible with support for the Kentucky Derby Festival (KDF). We sponsor the Fillies Derby Ball and the Derby Children’s Tea, and we manage the Derby Princess Program. It is an exciting time to be part of the organization and the opportunity to give back and see the magnitude of our efforts is extremely fulfilling. When I joined the organization, I saw it as an opportunity to gain experience and network. Over time I have grown and become friends and colleagues with several members.

This year, you are serving as the Filles Deby Ball® chair. What are your responsibilities?

It is a year-long commitment that is often nonstop, but it is also extremely rewarding. I was asked in January 2023 to be the chair of the ‘Ball That Starts It All,’ and I immediately formed a committee of 15 women who I call my “Stars.” I came up with this title after developing the theme and budget with KDF. This year, our theme is Old Hollywood Glam. These women are indeed Stars with everything they are doing, and together, we are planning a formal party for 600 guests from floor to ceiling. Some of the things we are doing are research, selecting a menu, working with the emcee and guest speakers, organizing a live and silent auction, choosing a queen, and promoting the event on television and via podcasts. From a design perspective, it has been a wonderful opportunity getting to recreate the Golden Age of Hollywood with a red-carpet experience, Casablanca Speakeasy lounge, impersonators from the time, signature cocktails, and so much more. The energy created is sure to take you back, and it is so much fun.

If people want to attend the ‘Ball That Starts It All,’ what do they need to know?

I would love to see more people there for the experience. To purchase event and Casablanca Speakeasy lounge tickets, or corporate tables, visit and follow the prompts. The event happens April 13 at the Galt House Hotel starting at 6 pm and it is going to be fun.

So, what is next for you once the Ball is over?

I plan to stay involved with The Fillies, inc. and will be running to promote provisional membership. This is an outreach position where I hope to introduce new members to the organization and follow their development.

Beyond Fillies, Inc. what other groups are you involved with?

I am one of the founders of Women Who Wine for a Cause. It is a strong and mighty group of 50 women who are called ‘Cru Members’ who enjoy wine, networking, and giving back. Every year, we interview different nonprofits to support that cater to women and children. It is like Fillies, Inc., but on a smaller scale. This year, we are supporting a food literacy program for kids where they are taught gardening before learning to cook the healthy food they grew. The group has gotten exposure to Schmidt Associates because we have hosted meetings at the office, and it has been a chance for them to learn more about what we do. I have also brought colleagues into the group, so the bond is strong.

You are very well-rounded. When you’re not working or serving others, what keeps you going?

I really don’t have much time for fun, but when I do, I love hiking, horseback riding, exploring nature, and spending time with my family and friends. I also love the beach and trying new things. I recently went ice fishing with my family in Michigan. I can now say I have checked it off my bucket list. My motto is ‘choose to embrace the experience and always have fun.’