Herald’s Women in Business: Rosburg proud of team behind Alerus Center’s success

Rosburg, general manager of the Alerus Center, moved to Grand Forks in 2017 from Casper, Wyo. It has been a positive move, not only because it brought her closer to family and where she grew up in Minnesota, but because she has seen how impactful the Alerus Center is in people’s lives.

She doesn’t like to toot her own horn, but Rosburg has been a big part of that success.

She becomes teary-eyed whenever the lights go down, the music turns up, and the audience is on their feet. It is adrenaline, yes, but it also is because she knows firsthand how much time and work goes into making an event happen.

An example: Luke Combs, who was scheduled to perform at the center in 2020 but was rescheduled for this coming Sept. 17 because of the pandemic. The booking broke records for tickets sold, something that happened on Rosburg’s watch.

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“That is going to be one of those nights I think I will probably have tears in my eyes,” she said. “We’ll have 22,000 people in here. That’ll be a really unique one to be back in the game with.”

Q: What has been your biggest challenge over the past year of the pandemic?

By far the biggest challenge has been balancing public safety and serving the facility’s mission, which is to provide premier entertainment and events that stimulate economic impact and improve the quality of life for Grand Forks citizens. It’s hard to do that in the middle of a global pandemic that spreads through mass gatherings, and so we’ve had to figure out the balances between serving the community from a public safety standpoint and trying to provide events that are built with physical distancing in mind. We did a lot of virtual events and different things to engage people. When the national shutdown lifted in the spring of 2020, we hosted 224 events from that day to Dec. 31.

Q: What has been your biggest success over the past year?

The biggest success over the past year, really, has been to change my way of defining success. We have a strong one-team culture across all of our departments and we’ve been talking about how to come out of the pandemic better people. We’ve talked a lot about using the pandemic as an opportunity to rise to the occasion, become stronger leaders and stronger managers.

Q: What is a theme of your leadership style and why?

My leadership style tends to be a hands-on, servant leadership approach. I try really hard to be a teammate, someone who can be counted on and willing to jump in and do any task that might need to be done. … I really strive to lead by example with the one-team approach. … I talk about this a lot with our team: We don’t always have to agree, we might have passionate moments, but we really need to maintain the ground rules. In all situations we must be professional, respectful and kind. I’ll say that at almost every staff meeting: We’re going to be professional, respectful and kind.

Q: What is it about your role that helps you get up in the mornings?

I feel so fortunate to be doing what I do for a living and I genuinely love what I do. I’m thankful to be here. I think we’re in a great community and the building makes a huge difference in our community. … We’re in the business of making memories, so I take that to heart. The stakes are high and the adrenaline rush that goes with that, it’s just really motivating and challenging and unique.

Q: What is something about the Alerus Center you want people to know?

The Alerus Center was controversial over 20 years ago, but it’s so important to the fabric of the community and the region. … It’s so much more than a bottom-line number at the end of the year. There’s a team of talented people who work behind the scenes every day, in many cases working extreme hours to make these events happen. They’re actively here in the weeds, serving the mission statement for the community. It’s not a mission statement we put on a shelf, but one that we talk about all the time. Our team, behind the scenes, is living and breathing that and I think that’s something the public doesn’t always get to see or hear about.