Who is Karlene Largie:
I grew up in Jamaica in a family where “paying forward” was the norm. There was no fanfare, no hoopla. They were just some of the strong, beautiful women of Jamaica. Born the oldest of four, I grew up in a home, that sometimes included extended family members, in the fifties and sixties. As was the culture at that time, place in the family held its roles and responsibilities as well as its privileges. My home was no different. I attended the same school from preparatory through the sixth form as a fifth-generation student. Consistency, discipline, and respect were inculcated into my daily chores, lessons, and prayers.
I have lived and worked in the Greater New York City area for over forty years. During that time, my community spirit has been engaged through various community service projects beginning with a corporate reading program with elementary school children about thirty plus years ago. My love for children manifested itself in subsequent contributions through my leadership in my high school alumnae association chapter in New York, the Union of Jamaican Alumni Associations, the Jamaica Diaspora Education Task Force, and several community planning committees. Interspersed with these contributions I have been a key participant in planning local Diaspora conferences, attending biennial conferences in Jamaica, as well as conducting the elections for the 2014 Jamaica Diaspora Advisory Board Member for the northeast USA.
During this time, I have also supported the NAACP’s New York City ACT-SO program (Academic, Cultural Technological Scientific Olympics of the mind) as the Secretary and Dance Coach, and as Chairman of the Board of Braata Productions.
Her Vision for the Jamaica Diaspora:
While my contributions to the Diaspora and my beloved island home were never conditioned on any compensation or reward, I have been the recipient of several awards including the Consul General’s Heritage Award in 2014.
In 1974, I joined Manufacturers Hanover Trust as a proof clerk trainee. Four corporate mergers later, I was a Vice President in Cash Management Operations.
This was the result of several years of experience in training, motivating and energizing large, diverse groups of employees and communities. My corporate experience spanned production oriented departments.
In 2006, I retired after thirty-two years from the then JPMorgan Chase. My corporate and community experiences combined with my knowledge and passion for serving the wider Diaspora community, tells me that the time is right for me to serve as our community’s Advisory Board Member.
My commitment to the Diaspora community comes with a vision of collaboration and organization, of leading by example, of being a voice in the community. I believe that the Diaspora is the key to the development and future of Jamaica, thus we must use our resources effectively and selflessly to realize that belief.