Shareholder Spotlight: Josie Heyano
Josie Heyano of Tanana, Alaska, was nominated for the shareholder spotlight after being highlighted on her employer, Covenant House Alaska’s Facebook page. Below is the Facebook post:
’We get the opportunity to prove to our youth that people are good, to prove human kindness.’Meet Josie Heyano, our Associate Program Coordinator. She introduces herself in the traditional Alaska Native way, as her mother taught her.
“I am Athabascan and Iranian; my mother’s family is from the village of Tanana, Alaska. I am the adopted daughter of Nina Heyano; my maternal grandparents are Alfred Miller, Mary Starr, and the late Paul Starr. My adopted father is David Heyano; my paternal grandparents are the late Pete and Rosa Heyano. My father’s family is from Ekuk, Alaska, a small fishing village in Bristol Bay. I have several siblings.”
In short, Josie has deep Alaskan roots, which is incredibly valuable in her work and for our team.
For several years, Josie worked for Doyon, Limited, where she learned all about operations management, government contracts, communications, and graphic design. She eventually decided she wanted to pursue something different and moved to Fairbanks for a time where she started her degree in social work and got a job at The Door, which is a shelter for teens ages 12 to 18. About a year and a half ago now, Josie moved to Anchorage, and, having learned about Covey’s programs while working at The Door, she knew this was where she was meant to be.
Our youth love Josie because she is patient, empathic, consistently positive, and always has a listening ear, but she also has high expectations of them because she cares. She handles her job with grace and humor and sets a solid example for youth and staff alike. One youth said, “I’m thankful for Josie because she is there for you like she is there for her own.” One of our teammates wrote a note to her once that simply said, “Real recognize real.” Other staff expressed gratitude for her witty humor in the face of hard times and her ability to always find compassion, and say they know her as a staunch advocate for our youth, protective, and fierce. We’ve come to depend on Josie’s reliable positivity and her calmness under pressure, especially these days!
Josie says she loves her job because she finds it so humbling. “I witness some of the bravest, kindest, and most inspirational young people walking through some of life’s hardest things and sometimes, if they let me, I get to walk beside them.” She talks often about the incredible wisdom and insight our youth have to teach and keeps a corkboard in her office full of little notes and quotes from youth who’ve said something profound or funny that she wants to remember.
She is also super active. When she isn’t holding down the fort here at Covey, she is an avid hiker and outdoorswoman and spends her summers commercial fishing in Bristol Bay and working at her family’s fish camp. Josie is a woman who really can do everything, and that makes us extra grateful to have her among our amazing staff!
To nominate a shareholder for a future spotlight in the Doyon newsletter, please complete the online form.