As Heidi Mestad, former Mayo Clinic/DMC co-manager, prepares to move on from DMC to her new role as Director of the Minnesota Children’s Museum of Rochester (MCMR), we spent a few minutes sitting down with her to reflect on her time with DMC and discuss the opportunities presented in her new position.
DMC: You’ve been an integral part of the growth of Rochester – especially downtown – for many years. What stands out to you as the most fulfilling accomplishment during your time with DMC?
Heidi: The great work of the Community Input Committee – affectionately known as the “80 person group,” who invested their time to do an inventory and created content and questions with which we gathered input from the community. The group generated such solid information that it ultimately framed the initial creative analysis for the DMC master planners.
I would also highlight the work done to drive the development of an integrated, seamless patient experience between Mayo Clinic and the community’s hospitality, business, and service partners. There was, and currently is, a great team working together to build the ideal experience.
DMC: We would have to agree. How do you feel about leaving your role to move on to the director position with the museum, and what words of advice or nuggets of wisdom would you like to leave for your successor or the other members of the DMC team?
Heidi: The vision that drives DMC has been a platform to energize many organizations and efforts – one being the Minnesota Children’s Museum Rochester (MCMR)– and I could not be more delighted to help build out such a significant and valuable experience destination! Of course, any work is built off the great work of others. The MCMR staff and board members have done a great job getting the museum to such a great place that growth is needed.
DMC: How do you see your new role keeping you engaged with the efforts of DMC? Do you see opportunities for collaboration among those two organizations and others in the community?
Heidi: Yes, key collaboration. All the research completed says that having a downtown location allows for a more sustainable business plan, taking into account all key users including the community, visitors, patients, and companions. And all the community input from Downtown Master Plan, About YoU study and DMC illustrates that museums – and specifically a children’s museum – is of high interest. DMC is not built by one building – it is built through a variety of intersections of places, programs, and products. The Minnesota Children’s Museum of Rochester is essentially a part of DMC.
DMC: Anything else you would like to say about DMC, the DMC team, and/or the community?
Heidi: I was very fortunate to be part of such a great team that truly works 24/7! The changing national, and global, pressures are driving cities and their economies to reflect and work differently. With the trending of re-urbanization, there is great global dialogue to redefine what that means…a mixed use of diverse markets, public-private partnerships, quality of life, etc…all designed around people that live, work, learn, play in the area. To help lend my passion and talent towards that has been humbling and opened my eyes to all the great assets of this region!
DMC: And DMC was fortunate to have you be a part of that team. We wish you the very best in your future endeavor and look forward to many opportunities to work side-by-side with you in your new role. Good luck, Heidi, and congratulations!