Born in Ghana, West Africa, Roberta Reindorf has done many things and lived in many places including France and London, but she didn’t discover her innate abilities or her life’s work for many years. While working in human resources, Reindorf researched depression and related disorders, and the more she learned about mental health, the more her interest grew.
“I wanted to see what courses I could take. I learned I could use counseling to teach and work in government, advocate for equality, and use my voice,” Reindorf said. “My goal is to be a mental health professional and provide diagnostic assessment when I graduate with my master’s degree in Counseling and Psychological Services. I’d also like to be a faculty member at Saint Mary’s because I like the diversity and inclusivity I see at Saint Mary’s.”
Reindorf faced numerous challenges in her educational pursuit. She had enrolled in a practicum at Saint Mary’s when her mother and sister passed away. Deeply stricken by grief, she couldn’t complete her practicum. After taking a year off, Reindorf was preparing to resume her studies when COVID-19 struck, and the world as we knew it shut down.
Another year passed and, as she returned to her studies in 2021, Reindorf’s husband died. At that point she questioned how she could continue. By this time a new program chair was in place who encouraged her to take care of herself and assured Reindorf she’d help her get through the practicum.
“Through that whole experience, I learned I’m resilient and strong,” she said. “I’ve been working in Ramsey County Children’s Mental Health as a mental health practitioner for five years. I completed my practicum; I’m finishing my paper; and will graduate in June 2023.”
Reindorf not only brings resilience to her new career, she is bilingual and speaks many languages; she is currently adding Spanish to her list. In Ghana, 50 languages are spoken, so students in her classes spoke many languages. Her language skills have been a big plus with her non-English speaking clients, and not using an interpreter helps her establish trust.
Reindorf also was appointed to the Race Equity Advisory Council (REAC) for Hennepin County by Jeffery Lunde, Hennepin County Commissioner of District One. The council’s mission is to strengthen the county’s goal of reducing racial disparities and advancing racial equity throughout the county.
“The REAC is diverse, and I’m able to advocate for non-English speakers and immigrants. In the future I want to transition into politics,” said Reindorf. “I’ve been a journalist and I love to speak and learn about programs, so I approached the general manager of Northwest Community Television Channel 12 (now CCX-Media). Now I have my own show.”
On the Roberta Reindorf Show, she brings in professionals and politicians, asking them questions and discussing advocacy, policies, education, health care, and more. Former guests include former U.S. Senator Al Franken; former Minority Leader of the Minnesota Senate Melissa Lopez Franzen; and State Senator Jim Abler. She hopes to have Minnesota Governor Tim Walz on her show in the future. She was also elected to the station’s board of directors for three years, ending in 2023.
Reindorf credits Saint Mary’s with providing her the opportunity to see her innate abilities and is surprised by how much she’s accomplished. She describes the university as a web linking her to her instructors and Dr. Lindsey (Teigland), her program chair. According to Reindorf, Dr. Teigland’s faith in her,helped her keep going in the face of tragedy and the pandemic.
“Along the way I’ve instilled confidence and grace in my two boys. I’d love it if my kids can see the resilience and forcefulness in me to reach new heights,” adds Reindorf. “My 17-year-old son wants to be a computer scientist, and my 9-year-old wants to be an immunologist like Dr. Faucci and bring solutions to the world’s problems.”