FORT COLLINS — Andrea Heyman has spent her career teaching adults and children to communicate — most of them without a foundation in the English language.
International students, students with disabilities, immigrants, or teachers working to develop similar skills were all among those benefiting from her ability with language.
Heyman is this year’s BizWest Women of Distinction award winner in the outstanding mentor category.
Heyman carved out a path early in her career to help reach those who may have a challenge to communicate.
Her degrees were in speech pathology and audiology from Queens College in Queens, New York, and the University of Colorado Boulder. She worked as a speech pathologist in Northern Colorado for more than 20 years before joining Front Range Community College in its Center for Adult Learning. There, she taught English as a second language and mentored international students. She also worked at Colorado State University in its workplace English training program where she mentored interns and taught immigrant employees of the university.
She led and continues to work with the international English program for students at Gyeseong High School in South Korea.
Part of her work at CSU involved working with students with learning disabilities and also with teachers seeking professional development.
Off the job, she served in numerous board positions at schools and with nonprofit organizations. An example of this work included helping Children of Peace International test the hearing of children in orphanages in Vietnam, raising money for hearing aids and helping get them to the children.
She was owner and co-owner of a couple of businesses, including the Colorado Adoption Education Service that counseled prospective parents and the International Fair Trade Business, which provided mentoring to women in Vietnam, Thailand, Guatemala and Brazil.
“I believe that her little, day to day thoughtful interactions are what makes the difference no matter where she is spending her time,” said Mary Elizabeth Lenahan, artistic director of Dance Express, who recommended her for the award.