Janice LaRae Alden Anderson has worked hard all her life. Although her career did not go the way she intended it to, it has been extremely rewarding nonetheless. She grew up dreaming of going to college to become a journalist, but an accident stalled both that path and her job as a lifeguard. Instead, Ms. Anderson went straight into the workforce. She accepted a position as an executive secretary at the Pillsbury Company shortly after high school, and served in the role for six years. The next stop on her journey was water safety instructor and trainer, which allowed her to spend more time with her children. When Ms. Anderson got divorced, however, she was forced to rethink her career again. She was now a single mother raising a couple of kids, and she needed a better income and a chance to grow professionally. A position at CMS Contel seemed the perfect fit. She started at the company in human resources, and was later able to advance to the engineering group as a senior analyst for construction management systems and forecasting future telephone needs.
One of the highlights of Ms. Anderson’s journey was self-studying during her tenure at CMS Contel. The company offered training programs to make sure employees were effective at their jobs. She was the only woman training with the men in the department, but she didn’t let that slow her down. Ms. Anderson prides herself on being direct, honest, and able to work with men and women equally. She believes it’s important to look past gender and just see people as people. Her goal was to get her coworkers and peers to feel comfortable around her with regards to discussing the depth, length, and content of various projects. In her eyes, the more knowledge she had, the more valuable she was to those around her.
Despite loving her job, Ms. Anderson eventually decided it was time to branch out on her own. She opened the Decorating Den Franchise in 1992, and served as the independent owner until her retirement in 2002.
Now, with her newfound free time, Ms. Anderson is focusing on a new passion: watercolor. She has been developing her artistic skill since 2010, when she participated in a watercolor painting workshop in France. A few years later, she completed national workshops and classes in Italy. To help her connect with her peers, Ms. Anderson also joined the NorthStar Watermedia Society and held a number of leadership roles. Additionally, she chaired the First National Juried Exhibition in Hopkins, Minnesota, in 2015. Ms. Anderson is currently helping to set up for an exhibition in Lakeville, Minnesota, which will take place in 2019.