Employee Biographies

Lisbeth Gomeztagle Teller - Smith Ave

What do you do at BankCherokee?
I am the lead teller at our Smith Avenue location.

How many years have you been in banking?
I have been working for BankCherokee for 16 years.

Why do you enjoy working at BankCherokee?
I feel supported by all levels of management and valued as an employee. Coming to work as a member of the BankCherokee team is both an honor and a blessing. I look forward to many more years here.

What is your favorite activity outside of work?
I love to be with my family traveling, eating out, or watching a movie at home. I also enjoy taking my kids to their sports and watching them.

What band or music do you enjoy most?
Music from the 80's.

Ana Arias Personal Banker

What do you do at BankCherokee?
I'm a Personal Banker. I also back up the Call Center and teller line. My role is to provide great service for all your banking needs.

How many years have you been in banking?
I have worked at BankCherokee since 1999. I started as a part-time teller and have worked in various positions over the years.

Why do you enjoy working at BankCherokee?
I can see so many good things this organization does for our community. Every morning when I walk in I look forward to seeing new faces and my long time customers – I feel they are part of my family.

What is your favorite activity outside of work?
I enjoy walking and spending time at home with my family.

What was your best vacation ever?
I loved Ocean City in Maryland.

Heidi Gesell President / CEO

What do you do at BankCherokee?
What do I do at the bank?  That's a great question as no two days are alike.  Overall, provide the vision and direction for the bank.  Reinforce that direction.  Cheerlead.  Help grow the bank.  Keep us focused.  Serve as a representative in the community--a value of this organization.

How many years have you been in banking?
I started, professionally, in banking in January 1981 and have been at Cherokee since November 1983.  Truly, the bank has been a part of my life forever...

Why do you enjoy working at BankCherokee?
I received a thank-you note today that said, in part, "Thank you for believing in us." That's why--I get a chance to support people.  I get a chance to hear people's dreams.  I get a chance to build relationships with great people.  And every day I have the opportunity to work side by side with some really wonderful people.

What is your favorite movie?
I love movies, so it's hard to choose just one. The Sound of Music ranks near the top.

What was your best vacation ever?
I have been very fortunate and have traveled quite a bit, I love Colorado in the mountains, Italy for its food and warm people and the ocean just about anywhere.

Andy Gesell Senior Vice President Commercial Lending

What do you do at BankCherokee?
I am a commercial lender specializing in helping businesses meet their financial goals. 

How many years have you been in banking?
26 years. 

Why do you enjoy working at BankCherokee?
As a third generation banker, I am proud to carry on the tradition of being a trusted advisor for business owners. I enjoy working with businesses to help them meet their financial objectives.

What organization(s) are you involved in?
I'm involved in the MetroIBA and the Grand Avenue Business Association (GABA). Both organizations are advocates for local business and I like that.

What was your best vacation ever?
Going to Nepal because it's where my wife was born. It is a very friendly and beautiful country.

What is your favorite movie?
Shawshank Redemption.


Contact Information
651-291-6266 - Direct
Why BankCherokee for your business? Click here to find out!
Click here to follow me on LinkedIn.
Click here to learn more about the products and services I offer.

Landen Hedrick Director of Marketing & Commercial Services

What do you do at BankCherokee?
I provide leadership and management of BankCherokee's marketing strategies and commercial services. Providing service that differentiates us from others is a core value at BankCherokee and it is my job to align our products and services with that core value.

How many years have you been in banking?
I started in banking in 1995 as a part-time teller. I worked as a teller for 5 years and enjoyed it a great deal. Since that time I’ve worked in many areas of banking and have learned a lot.

Why do you enjoy working at BankCherokee?
The core values of the Bank are the same as mine. I truly appreciate that and it creates a lot of enjoyment in what I do.

What is your favorite activity outside of work?
I love spending time with my family. We love to camp in the spring, summer and fall – the kids absolutely love it. I also spend a lot of time driving the kids around to their different activities, but it sure is fun come game days!!

What's the last book or movie you've enjoyed?
My kids are of the age that the only movies my wife and I ever get to go to are geared towards them. With that being said, I did enjoy Toy Story 3!!!!

Chastati Schaefer VP Relationship Management

What do you do at BankCherokee?
At BankCherokee, my role is to provide leadership and management for the retail staff.  Developing strong customer relationships, providing oversight and support to ensure risk management and efficiency, and implementing development plans are a few of the things that I do to ensure we are providing service that differentiates!

How many years have you been in banking?
I have been in banking for 26 years. I started in 1991 as the switchboard operator for the local bank in my hometown of Bloomfield, Iowa.

Why do you enjoy working at BankCherokee?
BankCherokee defines itself as values based, family oriented, and community focused. Honesty, Integrity & Respect is the foundation of this organization. It is a privilege to work in an environment where I share the same values and where there is a commitment to building relationships that matter.

What is your favorite activity outside of work?
Faith, Family, Music & Cars - You may spot me around the Twin Cities leading worship, spending time with my husband and 4 children, singing the National Anthem at a sporting event or working on cars in my garage!  

What band or music do you enjoy the most?
As a musician, my taste is quite eclectic! But, if you find me at Studio G, I'll be jamming to a bunch of oldies.

Contact Information
651-291-6262 - Direct
Click here to follow me on LinkedIn.

Bill Patient Compliance

What do you do at BankCherokee?
My primary job is to review BankCherokee’s compliance with federal and state banking laws. I am also responsible for ensuring the Bank meets its obligations under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The law directs banks to ascertain and meet the credit needs of its community with particular focus on credit to low and moderate-income areas.

How many years have you been in banking?
Thirty-seven years.

Why do you enjoy working at BankCherokee?
I have had the pleasure of being employed by BankCherokee since March, 2002. At the time I wanted to work for a bank with a great reputation for giving back to the community. Through volunteer projects and involvement with non-profit s such as: AccountAbility Minnesota, Keystone Community Services,  Paint-A-Thon, Habitat for Humanity, FDIC Money Smart-  Financial Education Curriculum, NeighborWorks Home Partners and the BankCherokee Foodshelf at Neighborhood House, I have seen enormous benefits to both the community and the organization. I take great pride in the small part I play, but even greater pride when I am asked, 'Where do you work?' and my response is, "BankCherokee".

What is your favorite activity outside of work?
Reading. 

What is your ideal vacation spot?
Any national park.

Tammy Koop VP eBanking & Commercial Services

What do you do at BankCherokee?
My role at BankCherokee is working with businesses and nonprofit clients in developing their banking relationship with Cash Management Services, such as Remote Deposit, ACH Services, Sweeps, Merchant Services and Online Banking.

How many years have you been in banking?
I have been in banking since 1990. Started my career in Bank Operations and since then have managed many areas of banking, but found Cash Management to be my true passion

Why do you enjoy working at BankCherokee?
I enjoy the Gesell family ownership and the family-friendly environment. It is a Privilege to work for a family that has a true and genuine appreciation for its staff.

What is your favorite activity outside of work?
I enjoy spending time with my family, attending their various sporting events, going to our cabin and travelling to various places.

What's your favorite movie?
Remember the Titans

Contact Information
651-291-6268
Click here to follow me on LinkedIn.
Click here to learn more about the products and services I offer.

Scott Burger Assistant Vice President Commercial Lending

What do you do at BankCherokee?
I am a commercial lender specializing in helping businesses meet their financial goals. I like to work with the small "mom and pop" businesses.  As their lender, you have a chance to learn first hand what issues they deal with in their business and feel a sense of accomplishment when you are able to provide them with the tools they need to make their businesses successful.

How many years have you been in banking?
25 years.

Why do you enjoy working at BankCherokee?
The bank's ownership, senior management and staff all have great people skills and share a desire to provide the best service possible to all bank customers.  Unlike others in the industry, BankCherokee employees walk the talk when it comes to providing value and service to the customer.

What is your favorite activity outside of work?
Long distance road cycling and providing free fitness training to young athletes

What's your favorite movie?
Braveheart - A love story with an edge.

What organization(s) are you involved in?
I am involved in Rotary International. I believe we should pay forward the blessings we have been granted.

Contact Information
651-291-6236 - Direct
Why BankCherokee for your business? Click here to find out!
Click here to follow me on LinkedIn.
Click here to learn more about the products and services I offer.

Roger Hamilton Senior Vice President Commercial Lending

What do you do at BankCherokee?
I am a SVP of commercial lending for the bank. My primary responsibilities include developing new, relationship-based, business customers for the bank, effectively managing these relationships, and being an overall resource to the bank's commercial lending department. I also serve as a voting member of the loan committee.

How many years have you been in banking?
30 years.  I have worked directly with small and mid-sized businesses, both sales and underwriting, this entire time.  I hope to stay and grow with BankCherokee for many years.

Why do you enjoy working at BankCherokee?
I like the size and entrepreneurial spirit of BankCherokee.  It's rewarding when my accomplishments can have a meaningful impact on the overall bank.  I also like the variety that the bank provides me; I can work with businesses throughout the metro area, businesses of different sizes, and businesses in many different industries.

What is your favorite activity outside of work?
I enjoy fishing, running, skiing, and other outdoor activities.  We try to stay active in our kid's activities, including various sports and scouting.

What was your best vacation ever?
Our family vacation to the Grand Canyon. We hiked the canyon and did some white water rafting.

Contact Information
651-291-6263 - Direct
Why BankCherokee for your business? Click here to find out!
Click here to follow me on LinkedIn.
Click here to learn more about the products and services I offer.

Steve Johnson Senior Vice President Commercial Lending

What do you do at BankCherokee?
I'm a Commercial Lender helping small businesses, investors, entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations finance their growth and manage their cash and finances.

How many years have you been in banking?
30 years.

Why do you enjoy working at BankCherokee?
I believe that it is community banking like it should be.  Strong, independent, relationship based and service oriented.  The employees live and work in our community.  They know our customers and our neighborhoods, and that helps them provide outstanding service.  BankCherokee has been doing business this way since 1908.

What organizations are you involved in?
I enjoy serving on the Board of Directors for the Midway Chamber of Commerce.  It is comprised of an outstanding group of volunteers that share a common passion for our community.

What was your best vacation ever?
Sablet, France for Christmas 2011. We got the family together  to celebrate the holidays in a picturesque village that dates back to medievel times.

What is your favorite activity outside of work?
Time with family and friends;  bicycling, hiking, and golf; travel, especially winter getaways and long car journeys; moped rides; food and drink on Grand Avenue; dessert; Cretin-Derham Hall sports and MIAC football.

Contact Information
651-291-6246 - Direct
Why BankCherokee for your business? Click here to find out!
Click here to follow me on LinkedIn.
Click here to learn more about the products and services I offer.

Julie Novak Vice President Commercial Lending

What do you do at BankCherokee?
I'm a Commercial Lender. As a business lender I help small and mid-size businesses grow and meet their financial goals. Working closely with my customers and understanding their unique business needs is critical to their success.

How many years have you been in banking?
25+

Why do you enjoy working at BankCherokee?
I really enjoy the ability to work side-by-side with customers to accomplish their goals. Thinking outside the box is encouraged to help get things done for our customers. There are no "small" customers here - every business relationship is valued and appreciated. The employees at BankCherokee are awesome!!  Friendly, dedicated, professional folks with a great work ethic and attitude.

What organizations are you involved in?
Midway Chamber of Commerce because of the dedication to Saint Paul business development and the networking opportunities. Metro IBA, which is a fabulous supporter of small, independent businesses in the Twin Cities. Keystone Community Services because of the critical basic needs they offer people. They treat all the individuals they serve with respect, compassion and understanding - a wonderful, wonderful organization.

What's the last book or movie you've enjoyed?
A cookbook. I enjoy cooking and discovering new recipies to test on my family!

Is there anything else you would like to share?
I love being a part of a true community bank that has so much invested in the neighborhoods they serve.

Contact Information
651-291-6229 - Direct
Why BankCherokee for your business? Click here to find out!
Click here to follow me on LinkedIn.
Click here to learn more about the products and services I offer.

Sign Up For Our Business eNewsletter
Sign-up for our e-Newsletter
First Name:
Last Name:
Email Address (required):
Company:
Phone Number: