2006 Distinguished Alumnus award winner
Jyotsna "Jo" Heckman
Jyotsna "Jo" Heckman was born and raised in India. She came to Fairbanks in 1975 to attend school, but with hard work and dedication has become a pioneer in the Alaska banking industry. Jo graduated from the University of Alaska at Fairbanks in 1979 with a bachelor's degree in business administration and received her master's of business degree in 1985. In 2002, she also received a master's degree from the Stonier Graduate School in Banking at Georgetown University.
Jo was instrumental in successfully chartering and opening Denali State Bank 20 years ago. During that time she has held multiple positions in the bank, including in operations, marketing, information systems, human resources and as executive vice president. She has held responsibilities for retail, financial, lending and administrative areas of the bank. In April 2003, Jo became the first woman in Alaska's history to hold the position of bank president and chief executive officer. As bank president Jo oversees a staff of over 90 employees with five branches in Interior Alaska. In 2003 Jo was named one of the 25 women to watch in banking by U.S. Banker.
Jo is also very involved in civic endeavors in the community. She is past president and board member of Junior Achievement, president of Financial Women International, former board member of the UAF Alumni Association, member of the UAF College of Fellows, Quota International, Rotary, executive committee for the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, Boys and Girls Club of the Tanana Valley and in 2004 she was selected to co-chair the United Way of the Tanana Valley campaign.
Jo received the William Cashen Service Award from the Alumni Association in 1999 and was honored in 2004 by the Farthest North Chapter of the Girls Scouts Council as one of their Women of Distinction.
It is with great pleasure that the UAF Alumni Association awards the 2006 Distinguished Alumnus Award to Jyotsna Heckman.