Danielle Johannes has been on quite the journey to becoming a graduate of the CU Denver Business School. Her family moved around a lot, which is how she attended three different high schools. Immediately following high school graduation, she joined the army and served a two-year term in Korea.
After several more moves and life changes, Johannes found her calling in public relations here in Denver. As a recent CU Denver graduate with a BSBA in Marketing, she looks forward to beginning her career in public relations at 10Fold Communications.
Wanting to be part of something bigger
At the age of 19, Johannes made the decision to enlist into the United States Army. Her reason for joining the military was simple. “I wanted to be part of something bigger than myself,” she said.
While on duty in Korea, Johannes met her future husband. A year later they were both stationed in Texas when they had their son in 2014. With a new focus on family, the two decided to leave the military life behind, pack their bags, and move to the Midwest.
“I wanted to be part of something bigger then myself so I decided to join the military.” – Danielle Johannes
Johannes’ connection to Denver started with visits to her father every year for Thanksgiving. She was drawn to the active nature of the city and the beauty of the mountains. “Every time we would come out to Denver, we fell in love with the mountains, the vibe, and the lifestyle of the city,” she said.
Johannes started her undergraduate degree at a large Midwestern state university for about a year before her small family took the big leap, packed their bags once again, and moved to Denver.
Why CU Denver
“CU seemed like a better fit for me. I love that is in the heart of downtown and that the students here are serious about getting their degrees.” – Danielle Johannes
With her pick of Colorado universities, Johannes chose the CU Denver Business School to continue her education. The biggest contributing factors to her decision were CU Denver’s location, attitude, and population of driven students.
She shared, “CU seemed like a better fit for me. I love that it is in the heart of downtown and that the students here are serious about getting their degrees.”
One of the many benefits CU Denver offered that stood out to Johannes were the countless networking opportunities. Compared to the larger university she previously attended, Johannes noted how many more networking opportunities there were through the various career center and panel events.
Johannes also appreciated taking classes with engaging professors and guest speakers with real-world experience. “Professors have knowledge to bring to the classrooms. These experts come and teach from their experiences instead of just teaching from the book,” she expanded.
She valued learning from the guest speakers her professors invited into the classroom that brought another level of expertise and experience to her education.
“Professors have knowledge to bring to the classrooms. These experts come and teach from their experiences instead of just teaching from the book.” – Danielle Johannes
Reflecting back on what made the most impact on her future, Johannes points to her experiences with the Business School’s Business Career Connections (BCC) office.
The value of career fairs and mock interviews
The BCC offers a number of services for business students including workshops, career fairs, and promoting relevant job and internship opportunities.
Johannes initially scheduled an appointment to address her fear of interviews and public speaking. “It was very useful. I knew I had to put myself out there in front of employers at the fall career fair,” she shared.
At the career fair, she found 10Fold Communications and immediately applied for an internship with them when she found out about their intern-to-hire program. “When an employer responded to my application, I was overwhelmed and didn’t know what to do, so I went back to the BCC for help,” she said.
Stephanie Sindt, a career advisor, held a mock interview with her and gave advice throughout the long interview process. Sindt also helped Johannes realize just how much practical experience she had from her tour in Korea.
With all the support she needed, Johannes successfully landed the internship and added 34-hour work weeks to her already busy schedule in her last semester before graduating.
A strong drive to graduate
As a full-time mom, wife, and employee, Johannes juggled a number of priorities in addition to her student commitments.
Being around other students who were equally motivated and cared about their future inspired Johannes to finish her degree.
She integrated the discipline she learned from her military experiences throughout her college career to succeed despite her crazy life schedule. She pulled from her ‘get in and get it done’ mentality, which motivated her to attend college year-round without any summers off.
A bright future in public relations ahead
From meeting the company in the fall, to landing the position in January, she received a full-time job from the internship in May. Since January, she gained invaluable experience in the B2B field, where her role had her helping out at tech events and pre-pitching to reporters.
“A lot of students don’t know all of the resources the Business School has to offer. It’s insane how many connections the school has that you can tap into.” – Danielle Johannes
Her one piece of advice for students is to take advantage of the BCC. “Take it all in. A lot of students don’t know all of the resources the Business School has to offer. It’s insane how many connections the school has that you can tap into,” she added.
Reflecting back on her experience at CU Denver, she is proud of how far she’s come. “My degree is validation that the long nights, hours of studying, and the effort I put in was worth it. My degree is the end of this chapter and the beginning of the next.”
Although nostalgic at the thought of graduation, she knew she would always have a home at CU Denver. “Even though I’m graduating, I’m not leaving the community behind. I know if I reach out, everyone here would answer my emails.”
“My degree is validation that the long nights, hours of studying, and the effort I put in was worth it. My degree is the end of this chapter and the beginning of the next.” – Danielle Johannes