betsyThe Cultural Center, located in New York Mills, MN announces the selection of Betsy Roder as its next executive director. Roder will assume the position on April 22, when current executive director, Jamie Robertson leaves his post of nearly 8 years, to pursue personal and family interests.

Roder holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of St Thomas, as well as Bachelors of Business Administration/Finance, from Valparaiso University, Valparaiso, IN. Upon completing her graduate degree, Roder worked for the Target Corporation, where she held a variety of management positions; including business analyst, buyer, and merchandise planning manager. While at Target, Roder was Recipient of Honors Leadership Excellence Award, Target Best in Community Award and the Merchandising DMM Award.

A native of New York Mills, Roder moved back with her family in 2010, after almost ten years away from her home town. She said, “Though I didn’t realize it when I chose to move back home from Minneapolis, I am part of a movement called “Rural by Choice,” a growing trend among people in their 30’s to be intentional about living in a rural community because of the many benefits that lifestyle offers. One of the things that can be a trade-off is when moving from the city to a small town is giving up access to the arts. However, in the case of New York Mills, the Cultural Center provides that access, making the rural by choice decision an easy one to make.” 

In 2011, Roder was hired by the Cultural Center to be the Arts Retreat Coordinator and Gift Store Manager. In 2012-2014, she was selected to be part of the Cultural Center’s ArtsLab Cohort, which is a two year program of Arts Midwest that provides intensive training and mentorship for leaders of arts nonprofit organizations. During this two year period she learned about best practices in the areas of arts nonprofit capacity building, strategic planning, fund development, marketing, leadership development, and more. ArtsLab also enabled Roder to work with the nation’s foremost leaders in nonprofit leadership, as well as the staff and board members of 15 arts nonprofits.

When asked why she chose to change her role at the Cultural Center, Roder noted, “I believe the Cultural Center is a true gem in our region, providing a window to the world in an area where access to arts & cultural experiences can be hard to come by.  With the upcoming retirement of current ED Jamie Robertson, it felt like the right time to step up and have a larger impact on the organization. I’ve learned a lot from Jamie over the past 4 years, and I am excited to apply that knowledge, along with my educational and business background, to lead the Cultural Center into the future.”

Roder plans to continue the long tradition of providing high quality arts and cultural programming to the region, supporting local and regional artists, and bringing new and different experiences to our area. She will also focus on developing long term fiscal sustainability for the Center, particularly through increased earned and contributed income.

When asked what the Cultural Center’s greatest contribution is to the area, Roder stated, I believe the Cultural Center brings people together by providing access to new and unique experiences. There are so many wonderful things about living in a small town, but access to quality arts and cultural experiences can be a real void in many rural areas. The Cultural Center fills that void and provides a link between what is great about small towns in terms of local activities, events, and festivals, and enriching lives with exposure to great music, performances, classes, interactions, and experiences. I am thrilled to now have this opportunity to be the leader of the Cultural Center and have a direct impact enriching the lives of the people in this region.”

Roder lives in New York Mills, with her husband Nick, their three sons, Finn, Bergen, Trygg, and baby daughter, Kaia. She also serves on the New York Mills City Council, Library Board and Park Board, and participates in several community groups including the NYM Civic & Commerce Association, the Community Supporting Classrooms committee, Library Book Club, and Trinity Lutheran Church.

The Cultural Center in New York Mills is a rural center for creativity, community vitality, and lifelong learning in the arts, serving residents and visitors to central Minnesota.

For further information please call 218-385-3339 or email