Mary Gastner, a longtime director of Experience Rochester MN (formerly the Rochester MN Convention & Visitors Bureau), has been selected as Interim Executive Director of the organization, effective August 16.

Gastner, who has worked at Experience Rochester MN for 15 years and most recently served as Director of Marketing & Communications, will replace departing Executive Director Brad Jones.

Gastner joined Experience Rochester MN in February 2003 from another local non-profit organization, Professional Skaters Association, where she worked in communications and marketing. During her time at Experience Rochester MN, Gastner has directed many successful programs and initiatives in sales and marketing, visitor experience, and database management. Many of the initiatives developed and executed by Gastner and her team have furthered the organization’s mission of contributing to the public good, providing meaningful and positive guest experiences, and positioning Rochester as a vibrant, world-class destination.

Most recently, Gastner’s role has extended to support the marketing and communications efforts of the Mayo Civic Center.

“Mary is a respected and hardworking leader who is appreciated by her colleagues at Experience Rochester MN and by our entire hospitality community,” said Myron Salz, chair of Experience Rochester MN’s board of directors. “The Board is pleased that she has accepted this interim position and confident that she will ensure a smooth transition as we move forward.”

Gastner’s experience serving in various roles with numerous community and industry organizations will be beneficial to Experience Rochester MN during the transition, Salz said. Gastner has served in various capacities with partner organizations like Explore MN Tourism, Southern MN Tourism Association, Destination Medical Center EDA and the Rochester Downtown Alliance.

 “I am very grateful for the opportunity to serve our community in this new role. I look forward to helping our organization have a positive impact on the people of Rochester and on the 3.34 million annual visitors who come here. With the help of my supportive colleagues, we will be successful during the transition,” shares Gastner.

Gastner will serve in the interim role indefinitely. Currently, possible changes to the organizational structures of Experience Rochester MN and Mayo Civic Center are being studied by JLL Consulting on behalf of the City of Rochester. The Rochester City Council is expected to hear more details about the consulting firm’s recommendations at an upcoming council meeting. The recommendations will guide Experience Rochester MN’s board of director in their search process.

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