Emily Watkins.

Owner and Publisher

Meet Emily, the owner of Rochester Women Magazine since the beginning of 2020. She is honored to be at the helm of such a beloved publication. Her degree in French Education from St. Olaf College and her fitness certifications, earned while running her last business, Empowered Wellness & Fitness Studio, aren’t coming in really handy now, but they’re fun icebreakers and great in the game “Three Truths and a Lie.”

She was born and grew up in Illinois and has lived in Rochester since 2007. She loves to travel, dance, cook, act, sing, paint, sew, decorate, shop, read, eat good food and drink red wine, and she exercises sometimes because she knows it’s good for her. 

She brings this variety of interests to her work gathering and telling the stories of Rochester area women.  Her strong abundance mindset drives her to make longer, more inclusive tables to ensure that we can all enjoy the beauty and bounty of life.

She is married to Justin, and they have two sons, James and Danny, and a German Shepherd/Husky mix named Kai.

Our team

Alexandra Petrova


Alexandra Petrova hails from Russia. She pursued a Master’s in French linguistics, followed by additional certificates in the French language pedagogy in Paris, France. In 2010, Alexandra and her husband, Bharath Wootla, moved from France to Rochester, MN. Although subject to a culture shock at the beginning of their US experience, they call Rochester, MN, their home ten years later. Alexandra embraces her life in Minnesota and has made the most of her new experience via the Instagram account, @Rochester_MN, as an outlet for her to share the city’s photos and a way to connect with many like-minded people.

Erin Gibbons

managing editor

Erin’s day job is as a production editor for children’s and adult books at 1517 Media. She has been a freelance editor and project manager since 2010 and an editor for Rochester Women Magazine since 2013. She and her husband, son (soon to be two sons!), and dog live in the Twin Cities, but she loves staying connected to her hometown through her work on this local magazine. 

Tessa Slisz

Graphic Designer

Tessa is a professional designer who pushes herself to create memorable work that exceeds her clients’ expectations while capturing their imaginations. She has experience designing an array of digital and print media, and she loves working on new projects for her clients.


Kate Brue

Graphic Designer

Kate is our layout designer. She grew up in Prior Lake, MN and moved to Rochester in 2002. Kate has been in layout design for over 20 years and really loves what she does.

Acacia Ward

Program Manager

As Account Manager, Acacia connects with local business owners and operators to find the marketing solutions that help them grow their audience. Behind the scenes, Acacia helps with managing our CRM and distribution. Acacia is a Rochester native, mother of 3, and advocate for the community in many different forms, including being the Longfellow Elementary PTA, and the president and founder of Reach The Top MN.


Melissa Hindermann

Outreach, events & digital Director

Melissa increases our reach to readers through our magazine, website, events, social media, distribution, and sales. She is also a romance writer, wife, and dog mom. Her mission is to cultivate fun and positive energy everywhere she goes.

Jennie Dieterman

Virtual Assistant

Jennie provides virtual administrative and creative assistance for small businesses and entrepreneurs, giving them the freedom to focus their efforts on doing what they do best. Jennie was born and raised in Michigan and became a Minnesota transplant in 2013. She has found her home here in SE Minnesota and enjoys exploring the outdoors of this beautiful area with her husband and son.

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