Karla Pena has been actively involved in her Puerto Rican community for many years, working through local NGOs focused on community development and youth programming.
Shortly after Hurricane Maria — in September 2017 — devastated her home region, she joined the Mercy Corps team. She wanted to participate in local recovery efforts. Her first role was as an emergency response programme manager with the goal of reaching 5,000 families affected by Hurricane Maria.
Karla currently works as the Resilience and Partnerships Programme Manager. In her role, she is responsible for overseeing the resilience hubs programme, which is currently helping 90,000 people increase their disaster preparedness within their own communities.
She enjoys the opportunity to support those in need and to collaborate with community-based organizations aspiring to create a better world.
A native of Puerto Rico, Karla worked with other local NGOs prior to working at Mercy Corps.
She founded and led a nonprofit called DogTown Puerto Rico, which provided educational opportunities that integrated rescue dogs. While the nonprofit was put on hold after Hurricane Maria, she plans to start it back up soon.
Karla has a master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University of Puerto Rico.
When she’s not working, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her husband. She also enjoys working out and taking care of her dogs.