Owatonna Foundation’s executive director retiring
Those who work with Laura Resler, executive director of the Owatonna Foundation, describe her as very disciplined, diplomatic and caring. Traits and qualities, they say, will be missed when Resler retires later this month.
“Dealing with trustees can be like herding cats,” said David Einhaus, past president of the board and a current trustee. “At one time, there were more than 30 trustees and her ability to get that many people - who often have strong opinions - behind projects is amazing.”
Resler brought a steady hand to the organization, said Einhaus, who served as president when Resler was hired. And he said her work at the History Center positioned her well for the post.
Resler served as executive director of the Steele County Historical Society for 13 years before joining the Foundation seven years ago.
“Through my work with the Historical Society, I got to know some of the trustees,” said Resler. “I was looking for part-time work and the Foundation was looking to fill a part-time position.”
And so it began.
“Laura has been an excellent first voice of the Owatonna Foundation,” said Betsy Lindgren, past president of the Foundation and current trustee.
Resler’s knowledge of non-profits, her knowledge of the community and the relationships she nurtured in her career are just a few of the things that allowed Resler to excel in her role at the Foundation, Lindgren said.
“For me, I love the grant projects,” said Resler, adding that “it’s very rewarding to watch phenomenal projects come to fruition.”
She’s most proud of the grants awarded to We All Play, the new all-inclusive playground and Miracle Field located at Manthey Park in Owatonna.
That project had community-wide support, said Resler.
“When Owatonna citizens want to make a positive impact, Owatonna rises to the occasion,” she said.
Resler should know. She spearheaded the fundraising effort that generated the funds to build the History Center while working as executive director of the historical society.
Originally from Brooklyn, Resler said she left New York when she was 16. She’s lived in Owatonna since 1980.
“I will miss the people,” Resler said of her impending retirement. “I don’t think I’ve ever been anywhere where I’ve been more appreciated than here.”
She’ll also miss working with Foundation donors.
“We are very blessed in this community with so many generous, kind-hearted people.”
Resler said she is leaving confident that the Foundation will reach its goal of raising $3 million in three years. That, she said, will leave the Foundation with a $10 million portfolio and the interest alone will allow the organization to pump $400,000-$500,000 back into community projects annually.
Lindgren said Resler’s commitment to the Foundation is one of the reasons the Foundation is closer to reaching its $10 million goal.
Immediate Past President Denny Meillier agreed with Lindgren. “She is so thorough and she has a great rapport with people.”
“She makes being a president an easy job and it’s difficult to imagine doing the job without her.”
In her final days, Resler will be working with Angela Gonzales, the Foundation’s new administrative assistant, to ensure a smooth transition.
“I’m ready to retire and do other things, but it is going to be hard to say goodbye to the people,” Resler said.
Retirement Open House
When: Tuesday, Sept. 28 from 3-5 p.m.
Where: Owatonna Foundation,
108 West Park Square, Owatonna