Heidi Gesell, president and CEO of BankCherokee, represents the third generation of her family to run the independently operated bank. Celebrating its centennial in 2008, BankCherokee is the oldest family-run bank in the Twin Cities metro area and a leader in community banking.
Heidi began her career at First National Bank of St. Paul and for three years worked in computer processing and training. In 1993 she joined BankCherokee and served in many banking capacities, including data processing, marketing, personal banking and operations, working her way up in the organization. Heidi became the organization’s sixth president in 1996. Three years later, she was appointed CEO.
Today, Heidi provides vision and direction for the bank, helping the organization grow and stay focused on its goals and values. Since she became president, BankCherokee has increased its assets by nearly 75 percent.
Heidi has also established herself as a leader and innovator in the Twin Cities’ business community and neighborhoods BankCherokee serves. Her work has earned her numerous local business and finance awards including Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal’s “40 Under Forty” (1997), Women in Business “Top 25 Most Innovative Women” (2001), as well as the Finance & Commerce “Top Women in Finance” award (2007). Heidi is also a frequent speaker at business and marketing events in the Twin Cities.
Over the years, Heidi has lent her financial expertise and leadership to numerous organizations. She served on the board of Neighborhood House on the west side of St. Paul; was board member, executive committee member and finance committee chair for United Way of St. Paul area; finance committee member for the Girl Scout Council of St. Croix Valley; and founding member, treasurer and president of the Rotary Club of West Saint Paul/Mendota Heights. Heidi currently serves on the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library board and on the organization’s Opus & Olives fundraising event planning committee.
Heidi graduated from the University of Minnesota with a bachelor’s degree in speech communications and from the Bank Administration Institute’s Graduate School of Banking. She and her husband John live in St. Paul with their son.