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Karleen Porcena

Managing Director, Social Enterprise and Innovation

Dedicated to creating an equitable community, Karleen Porcena is an authentic leader who is driven to inclusive economic improvement.

With over 15 years of comprehensive community development experience, Karleen aims to create innovative strategies and partnerships to move the dial on the racial wealth gap.

As the daughter of Haitian immigrants, Karleen uses her unique lived experience coupled with professional skills to create solutions to eliminate economic disparities. In her current role as Managing Director of Innovation and Social Enterprise, Karleen is charged with building out revenue-generating models that support racial health equity at BARHII (Bay Area Health Inequities Initiatives). This role will give her the opportunity to pitch large-scale innovative ideas with the goal of long-term durable funding for solutions that create health equity within our lifetime.

Prior to joining BARHII, she served as VP Relationship Manager at Berkshire Bank, responsible for cultivating new banking opportunities and engaging underbanked populations. Karleen used her passion and love for community development work to provide the highest customer experience to all clients despite income level. In this role, she created a community dialogue series bringing timely and informative information to communities typically ignored by the banking industry and administered PPP applications for over 40 businesses throughout Massachusetts.

Karleen served as Senior Program Officer for Economic Opportunity at the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC), the nation’s largest community development organization, and oversaw all economic development strategies at LISC Boston. At LISC, Karleen took a special interest in entrepreneurship and developed ways to promote the talent and quality of entrepreneurs within Black and Brown communities as well as ways to create access to grants, loans, and contracts. She worked in both the local Boston as well as the national office which gave her the opportunity to work with over 35+ cities across the country as well as the Rural LISC communities.

Her career began with 10 years of direct services at the front lines of anti-poverty work at Action for Boston Community Development. This role has grounded Karleen in understanding program development and implementation, organizing with diverse populations as well administration of city and state contracts.

Karleen is passionate about building bridges between people, communities, and networks with intentions to have an equal playing field for all. She brings to her work a wide variety of relationships with community organizations, business, and resident leaders, elected officials, as well as faith-based institutions.

Karleen received her MBA at Babson College in Wellesley, MA and holds a double bachelor’s degree in Comparative Politics and Spanish from Clark University in Worcester, MA.

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