Within the last year, the Portland, Maine-based team for Mascoma Bank has grown from two to six members. Two of those six members, Andrew Cook and Amberlynn Esperanza, have recently transitioned into volunteer leadership roles with the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce (PRCC).
PRCC’s mission is to advance communities and the region through business prosperity and member engagement.
Andrew Cook became Chair of the PRCC Board of Directors in July 2022 and is Senior Vice President, Commercial Loan Officer for Mascoma Bank in Portland. Cook has held various positions on committees and the Board of Directors and served as Treasurer and Vice Chair of the Board before becoming Chair.
“The organization represents over 1,200 businesses that consist of single-person businesses all the way to the largest employers in the state of Maine. The organization has the ability to work for all businesses and their workforces to help better the community,” notes Cook. “I am excited to step into the role and work on important initiatives such as affordable housing, workforce development, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. Much like the Chamber, Mascoma Bank wants to see the business community thrive and flourish, and it gives me great pride to be able to help [PRCC Executive Director] Quincy and her amazing team continue to execute on that.”
While unique to have two members of a relatively small team taking on lead volunteer roles with a key business organization, the shared goals of PRCC and Mascoma Bank are notable. Both look to support and enhance their communities, adapt to changing needs of constituents and customers, build networks through connections and collaboration, and offer tools and opportunity to those they serve. PRCC CEO Quincy Hentzel shares, “I am incredibly pleased to have both Andrew and Amberlynn step into leadership roles at the Portland Regional Chamber. We are lucky to have leaders who share the same goals and priorities as the Chamber in both their professional and volunteer positions. Our organization will undoubtedly benefit from their involvement and leadership.”
Amberlynn Esperanza became President of PROPEL in May 2022 and a board member for the Chamber in June 2022. PROPEL is an affiliate of PRCC that offers leadership and professional development opportunities for young professionals. Esperanza is AVP Commercial Lending Development Officer for Mascoma Bank’s Portland team and was encouraged to connect with PRCC by a mentor when she was feeling nervous and uncomfortable stepping out of her professional comfort zone. Attending events by PROPEL helped her learn skills in networking, leadership, and confidence. Esperanza challenged herself to attend as many networking events as possible to talk to people and practice her skills. In addition to developing an impressive bulletin board collage of all her nametags over time, she also engaged in more meaningful conversations with customers and community members.
When the pandemic hit and the Paycheck Protection Program rolled out, Esperanza’s email and phone lit up with messages from people across her network who knew she could help support small business owners. Through PROPEL, she helped keep virtual events on the calendar to allow professionals to connect and partnered with nonprofits like Hope Acts, an organization committed to creating opportunity for asylum seekers and immigrants, to raise awareness of the need for volunteers and donations. “I see my role as being a driving force for change and innovation in Greater Portland. PROPEL gives our community the ability to connect with leaders in different roles and industries, and bring professionals together to achieve greater goals,” says Esperanza. “With Mascoma Bank being a B Corp, it is easier to share with others how our organization is giving back just as much as our Chamber is.”
Portland Maine’s economic hub and organizations like PRCC encourage growth for business and industry in the state. Mascoma Bank looks forward to supporting the efforts of PRCC and regional business leaders, bringing continued energy and opportunity to the region.