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Senior Relationship Manager Carmen Panacopoulos
By Tim Estiloz
Boston – Bridging relationships is a big part of Carmen Panacopoulos’ role in the Regional & Community Outreach group at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.
Panacopoulos, who joined the Boston Fed in 2014, manages relationships with institutions headquartered in Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Vermont. In her role as a Senior Financial Institution Relationship Manager, she works closely with financial institutions, community development financial institutions, state and local officials, for-profit and nonprofit developers, and communities across New England. Her focus is on helping to drive sound investment practices in low and moderate income communities and exploring how capital from public, private, and philanthropic sources can support public purposes.
“Our work in the Regional & Community Outreach group allows us to get a pulse on the efforts that institutions are making in their respective communities and to try to connect them with the needs of low and moderate income communities,” she explained.
An important motivator for Panacopoulos is helping communities achieve their social, economic, and environmental goals.
“The past 25 years of my career has involved working in various aspects of the community investment system,” said Panacopoulos.
“If we improve the community investment system, communities are going to thrive and low and moderate income families will have a brighter future,” she added. “For example, small businesses will benefit by finding a much more integrated way of discovering how they can develop their establishments, their employees, and ways to prosper in their communities.”
Panacopoulos brings to her position at the Boston Fed extensive experience in community de-velopment, capital investment, and real estate financing.
“I started in community development in college as a mayoral aide in Lynn where I worked closely with the constituents in the community,” she said. “After graduating, I went to MassHousing and worked closely with many inner city resident groups, developers, community activists, and business leaders whose mission was to create and preserve housing for low to moderate income residents across the Commonwealth.”
“Later, I transitioned to the private sector where I held many leadership roles, including vice president/commercial real estate lender for both Citizens Bank and JP Morgan Chase,” said Panacopoulos. “In the private sector, I continued to work closely with state and local developers and nonprofit organizations to develop, create, and preserve multi-family and homeownership developments.”
Panacopoulos attributes her success to a solid educational foundation upon which she has con-sistently built – which is something she strongly encourages others to do as well.
“I realized at a very young age that completing my bachelor’s degree would not be enough to rise up and be successful,” she said, adding that she took advantage of executive master’s programs at MIT and Northeastern University and earned an MBA from Simmons College.
“I believe that investing in your education is critical to your success. Simply put, you cannot be complacent. As Latinos, we need to strive for excellence in everything we do,” said Panacopoulos. “Because of my continued drive for excellence, I feel very fortunate to be able to do the work I love and participate in different leadership programs at the Boston Fed.”
Panacopoulos also credits her success to having a strong professional network and from the support and counsel of various executives and managers who gave her opportunities to grow professionally.
“Over the years, I’ve benefitted from working closely with many successful executives who mentored me along the way. They helped me believe that I could take on new challenges and build my confidence – often giving me opportunities that I myself could not envision,” she said. “There’s also a mutual respect and admiration that comes from being the ‘right-hand person’ for your boss.”
Panacopoulos strongly believes in paying that professional guidance forward and uses her posi-tion as chair of the Boston Fed’s employee resource group focused on developing Hispanic and Latino talent to help others succeed.
“I’m passionate about giving back because I’ve been fortunate and blessed that so many people along the way have allowed me to do the work I love and to succeed in my career,” said Panacopoulos.