2023 Women Of Live: Kelly McGrath

Director, Marketing and Communications | Xcel Energy Center, Saint Paul RiverCentre, The Legendary Roy Wilkins Auditorium

When venues are successful, surrounding communities reap the benefits.

“Events at Xcel Energy Center and our adjoining convention center have significant economic impact on Saint Paul and neighboring cities,” said Kelly McGrath. “With the full ‘return to live,’ I am very proud of the work our team has done to secure and market top-level events that provide trickle-down effect to our area businesses most especially restaurants and hotels.”

She notes Xcel Energy Center’s March Bruce Springsteen show as a highlight and a full-circle moment, as “I came of age in the ‘8os and attended one of the first nights of Springsteen’s Born in the USA tour” at the former Saint Paul Civic Center, where the new arena now sits.

Having a community mindset at the venue level extends to other important initiatives including sustainability and conservation.

“More and more tours are looking to minimize their environmental impact and we welcome the opportunity to help meet their goals with initiatives such as front and back of house composting and use of 100 percent renewable electricity for all our events,” McGrath said, noting the arena is currently certified LEED Platinum, Green Globes and EIC Gold.

A focus on customer service is a priority for the organization, with McGrath specifically looking for ways to improve social media and website content and further implement analytics to guide marketing decisions.

McGrath credits Pam Wheelock, her former chief financial officer, as a major woman of influence on her career. “One of her key pieces of advice was to not assume intent and in key situations, I often ask myself, ‘What would Pam Wheelock do?’” McGrath said.

Because of that valuable guidance, McGrath is a mentor to others.

“I tell younger team members to learn as much as they can about this business and our organization,” she said. “Raise your hand to volunteer and say yes to taking on new responsibilities. Growth is not always vertical, take advantage of opportunities when they come your way, keep your head down and work hard.” ”