Heidi Gaulke Riese

Wartburg network helped me find success

NAME: Heidi Gaulke Riese 

CLASS YEAR: 2008 

MAJOR: Business administraton 

CURRENT EMPLOYMENT: College relations event manager, Land O’Lakes

WHY WAS WARTBURG WORTH IT: During my four years at Wartburg, I took advantage of building connections on campus. I took advantage of the small class sizes, personal interactions with my professors, and the services provided through the Pathways Center. Because of this, I learned the value of creating professional networks and that has helped me to succeed today. Years after I graduated, I still am able to utilize my connections at Wartburg.  

WHAT DID YOU NEVER IMAGINE YOU WOULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG:  I never imagined I could speak in front of classes or present. Because of my internship experience, leadership in Phi Beta Lambda, and confidence built though the Pathways Center, I have taught a class at the University of Minnesota and one of my favorite parts of my job is presenting to college students. Wartburg taught me to be myself and be confident.

HOW DID YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE PREPARE YOU FOR LIFE AFTER COLLEGE: I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I came to Wartburg, but through my classes and self-exploration I was able to find a path I knew was right for me.  My group of Wartburg girls are still my best friends to this day, and I met my husband at Wartburg. It would be hard to be with someone who was not an alum as they wouldn’t understand my love of this college. Throughout my career, Wartburg has taught me to be true to myself and to remember the people who got you where you are today. It is never too late to say thank you or reach out to someone who has helped you along the way.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WARTBURG TRADITION: Oktoberfest! Not every school celebrates its German heritage by this tradition during Homecoming with beer, brats, and, of course, polka music.  It’s always a great way to celebrate a football victory and catch up with old friends.

HOW DO YOU STAY CONNECTED WITH THE COLLEGE: I serve on the Alumni Board, which allows me to network with other amazing alumni and make sure the college is continuing its mission. I also have hosted alumni events, such as Outfly and Happy Hours in the Twin Cities areas. And, of course, I promote Wartburg to any students who are looking! I also participate in Scholarship Day.

HOW ARE YOU LIVING OUT THE WARTBURG MISSION: My time at Wartburg taught me the importance of giving back to my community. Just going to work is not enough for me as I have be involved with something else. I feel fulfilled with my involvement in my church community, volunteering with a local organization promoting getting the elderly outside, and various dog rescue groups. Wartburg has taught me that you if you give back to other people then you are happy yourself.