Meet Denali Raforth, a fresh CSB/SJU grad and South Dakota native who’s decided to make St. Cloud her home as she begins her journey into the “real world”.
Please start with a little background. Where did you grow up and what brought you to the area?
I was born and raised in Rapid City, SD, but moved to Minnesota to attend College of St. Benedict’s (CSB) in 2014. Once I graduated and was on the job hunt, I found a great opportunity with the Anderson Center and decided to stay.
What did you study at CSB?
I majored in history and minored in art history.
So, do you work in the field of history?
I do not! Truthfully, I always pictured myself working in a museum, but now I work as a Forum Coordinator at Anderson Center. While I love history, I was very lucky to work on campus as an events assistant during college and found a passion for planning and organizing. That work experience and the connections I made from attending CSB are what led me to where I am today.
Even though you’re not working within the field your studied, do you think your education connects to your job at the Anderson Center?
As a liberal arts major, I took a variety of classes that are definitely applicable to my job today. Classwork taught me how to think critically, effectively communicate, work with a team, and possess an ability to learn. I’m happy to not only be in a position that I genuinely enjoy, but one that continues to challenge me to learn and develop new skills every day.
As a newbie to the professional scene in St. Cloud, where and how have you started to build your network?
My job has really laid a great foundation for a broad professional network. The variety of forums at the Anderson Center allow me to connect with numerous professionals and companies across Greater Minnesota every day.
Flashback to when you were 10 years old. What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a Kindergarten teacher.
After a long week, how do you decompress and renew your energy?
Being from the Black Hills, I grew up hiking and have found that being outdoors calms me down. I just recently bought my season pass to the Quarry Nature Preserve and am looking forward to exploring all their trails.
Now that you’ve settled into the area as a working professional, what do you consider Greater St. Cloud’s greatest asset?
I think Greater St. Cloud has an amazing sense of community. Coming from St. Ben’s, community is very important, and I was nervous that I would lose that once I graduated. After starting my new job and attending events for work, I have seen how close the community of St. Cloud is and love that so many people know each other and are connected.
Has exploration in the area led you to any hidden gems (stores, restaurants, entertainment, services, etc.)?
I love the store Modern Barnyard! They refurbish old furniture and have some really cute pieces. They also have a very well-thought out collection of antiques and little gifts and it’s a fun place to stroll around. I just recently purchased a beautiful nightstand for my new apartment. In addition to Modern Barnyard, I also love exploring the little shops in downtown St. Cloud or nearby hiking trails and parks. I’m working on getting to know the area better.
What are you happiest doing when you are not working?
Spending time with loved ones, being outdoors, or just relaxing with a good book.
Do you see yourself getting involved with any local causes or organizations?
I have always had a love for animals and just recently applied to volunteer at the Tri-County Humane Society.
What’s your personal motto?
When I was little my mom would always say, “What’s my number one rule?” and my sister and I would respond “Have fun!” As simple as it sounds, remembering to have fun, whether I was playing a tennis match in high school or giving a nerve-wrecking presentation in college, has really helped me not get so upset and stressed about the little things. Instead, I try to just be present and enjoy the moment.