Supportive boss helped N.D. banker realize her potential

The Stanley office of American Bank Center, Dickinson, N.D., celebrated its 100th birthday last year. About that same time, the bank rang in the next century with something the bank had never seen before: a female president and someone who was not part of the founding family.

Cleo Bykonen, one of NorthWestern Financial Review’s 2011 Outstanding Women in Banking, began working at Stanley June 1, 1971. When bank CEO Gary Nelson announced Bykonen as president last year, “It was almost a non-event, she had always proven herself,” Nelson said. “I think people wondered why it took me . . .

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