This week on JobMakers, host Denzil Mohammed talks with Karina Calderon, deputy director of The Lawrence Partnership, about her work to help immigrant entrepreneurs drive economic growth in Lawrence, Massachusetts. The Lawrence Partnership is a collaboration of business and civic leaders started in 2015 that helps by incubating, training, assisting, loaning, basically doing everything they and their partners can to grow the city’s businesses. The model they’ve adopted is replicable for sure, and is one based on longstanding relationships and trust between new and longtime residents. Karina explains how it works, shares some of the success stories of their immigrant small business owners, and details her own immigration story, as you’ll learn in this week’s JobMakers.
Karina Calderon, a native of the Dominican Republic, is Deputy Director of The Lawrence Partnership. She received formal training as an IT Technician and was three years into a degree as an architect at the Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra prior to making the journey to the United States in pursuit of more opportunities for herself and her young daughter. Like so many aspiring first-generation immigrants, Karina brought with her a basic grasp of the English language, limited personal networks, and a whole lot of ambition, resilience and work ethic. Those ingredients have proven a successful combination. Karina applied her skills to the health care distribution industry, starting with Conlin’s Pharmacy and Home Medical Equipment in 2012. Karina grew with the company and ultimately helped establish a new role managing referrals and partnerships. In addition to her professional accomplishments, Karina always kept close to heart the idea that education is the key that opens all doors. While working full time and raising a family, she continued her education, gaining formal education in Computer Drafting and Design as well as a degree from the Business Transfer Associates program at Northern Essex Community College.
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