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Heckman selected as business leader of the year

Submitted by Kelly Williams
Phone: 907-474-7461


Photo caption below.
Photo by by Joyce McKenzie
Jyotsna "Jo" Heckman

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The University of Alaska Fairbanks School of Management and the UAF Associated Students of Business have selected Jyotsna "Jo" Heckman as this year's recipient of the business leader of the year award. Heckman is president and CEO of Denali State Bank.

This is the 32nd year UAF has given this annual award. Recipients are selected for their business excellence, educational support and community service.

"Jo Heckman stood out from the other nominations this year with her accomplishments. Heckman has always been a leader in the business community and a strong advocate for UAF and the School of Management," said Frances Dashiell, ASB president. "Her ability to balance family, career, community and self shows her level of commitment and dedication. She is very deserving of this award and we are glad to have the opportunity to honor her and her achievements."

Born and raised in India, Heckman came to Fairbanks in 1975 to attend UAF. Heckman's career has been primarily in the banking field. She started as a management trainee with National Bank of Alaska, now Wells Fargo, held officer positions with NBA and with Alaska National Bank of the North, and later worked at Alaska USA Federal Credit Union as branch manager in Fairbanks. In 1986, she was among a group of local bankers who chartered and opened Denali State Bank. Heckman is a member of several boards including the UAF Chancellor's Advisory Board, Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, UAF School of Management Board of Advisors, Foraker Governance Board, American Bankers Association and the Community Bankers Council. She is co-chair on the UAF Vision Task Force and president of the Rotary Club of Fairbanks, where she also has served as foundation chair.

In the past, Heckman was president and board member for Junior Achievement of Alaska, president of Financial Women International and president and co-chair of the United Way campaign. She has served on the board of directors of the UAF Alumni Association, Quota International and the Boys and Girls Club of the Tanana Valley.

Some of Heckman's most noted accomplishments include being the first woman bank president in state of Alaska. She was selected as one of the 25 Women to Watch in Banking nationwide in 2003. Other awards received include the William R. Cashen Service Award from the UAF Alumni Association, the Women of Distinction award in 2004 from the Girls Scouts, and, most recently, the UAF Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2006.

Heckman's husband of 25 years, Steve Heckman, is a retired Alaska State Trooper and presently the assistant principal at Monroe Catholic High School. They have two children, Daniel, 19, and Andrew, 15.

The Associated Students of Business have been honoring community business leaders since 1977. The banquet is an excellent networking opportunity for students, UAF alumni and the business community.

CONTACT: Kelly Williams, public information officer, UAF School of Management, at 907-474-7461, or e-mail dean.som@uaf.edu for more information. Frances Dashiell, ASB president, at 907-978-4945 or via e-mail at fsfmd@uaf.edu.

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