Employee Spotlight: Karleen Porcena

Please tell us a bit more about your work here at the Bank. What’s involved in the day to day of this work?

I’ve been at the bank for a little over two months but one of the things I love is the variety in the work we do as MyBankers. My days may consist of connecting and supporting local entrepreneurs who are using the brand new Reevxlab in Roxbury, meeting with local non-profits and community stakeholders to share our work, and bringing new relationships to the bank.

Can you tell us a bit more about our Friends & Family Fund partnership with The Runway Project?

The Friends and Family Fund is how we are filling more than a capital need for entrepreneurs of color, but truly breaking a major systemic barrier for these businesses to scale. The fund is uniquely called Friends and Family because many of the businesses we aim to support do not have friends and family with limitless capital or networks to capita, which make growing business easier.

What makes The Runway Project so special?

What makes The Runway Project so special is that it couples financial support with business support and mentors. They are focusing on developing the business leader as a whole and their business. The unique business training and log term technical assistance is something I haven’t seen in business training programs in the past. Our work with the Runway Project is doing so much more than simply lending, its truly about doing our part to decrease the racial wealth gap that exists within our community.

We’ve heard you’ve been nominated for the US Haitian Chamber of Commerce. Congratulations! Can you tell us a bit more about the nomination?

Yes, I’m truly honored and excited to have received this nomination. Its always an honor to be recognized for the work you are doing especially when it comes from your community. Before joining the Bank, I spent nearly 12 years dedicated to supporting local economic development strategies in Greater Boston through small business as well as workforce development support. I’m excited to also be nominated with a group of amazing Haitian-American young professionals from across the country doing amazing work and building with them.

What’s the part of the work you do that most excites you, and why?

The core of this role is about building relationships and using my knowledge and resource to meet the needs of those who I am working with. I love that I get to work in a community that I call home.

I think the Reevxlabs allows us at Berkshire Bank to not just talk the talk as a financial institution but physically show our local investment strategy. We are breaking the way communities interact with Banks and building back trust with communities who have been discriminated from banks for decades. I’m excited to be a part of that team who wants to truly make long-term change.

What’s one fun fact that people may not know about you?

I love to cook! I like mixing traditional Haitian dishes with different ingredients and influences from varies cultures I’ve been exposed to. I’m always looking for new recipes and putting my own twist on them then sharing on my social media pages.

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Berkshire Bank

Berkshire Bank


Berkshire Bank is a socially responsible community-dedicated bank with locations primarily in New England and New York empowering your financial potential.