Jonnathan Yepez Carino is an emerging leader finalist. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Jonnathan Yepez Carino is an emerging leader finalist. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

Jonnathan Yepez Carino: Helping fund student dreams

“Proud to serve minorities.” Carino recently established a scholarship fund for Latino high school students.

This is one of 12 finalists for The Herald Business Journal’s annual Emerging Leaders awards for 2024. The winner will be named at an event on April 17

Jonnathan Yepez Carino, 30

Pacific Premier Bank, senior vice president/banking manager

Growing up, Jonnathan Yepez Carino was taught lend a hand up and share what he could.

Carino is a returning Emerging Leader candidate who made the Top 12 list last year, too.

Carino teaches financial empowerment classes in Spanish and English on behalf of local nonprofits and financial literacy classes at area high schools, including his alma mater, Mariner High School.

He is the Latino Committee chair and treasurer for the Marysville Tulalip Chamber and a member of the city of Marysville’s Diversity Advisory Board. At the Snohomish Community Foundation, a nonprofit that promotes charitable giving, he serves on the finance and Leaders of Color committees.

Recently he launched a new initiative, the Overcoming Adversity Cariño Scholarship.

It’s a personal effort not connected to his job.

The scholarship aims to support students who have demonstrated the ability to overcome adversity and “fight for their success,” he said.

He hopes to raise $15,000 and distribute it to three high school seniors from the Latinx community. He has already raised $12,400.

As a high school student hoping to attend college, Carino faced barriers.

Carino and his mother emigrated from Mexico illegally when he was 9. Because he wasn’t a U.S. citizen, he didn’t qualify for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or most private scholarships.

Through a bill passed by the Obama administration in 2012, he obtained a Social Security number and was able to work legally.

Carino hopes his scholarship will let students “chase their American Dream,” and avoid his experience.

“I have made it a priority to serve the undeserved, to advocate and help those who often don’t have a voice,” he said. “I am proud to serve minorities and to hire and help promote diverse talent and future leaders.”

Through Pacific Premier Bank, he has sponsored panel discussions on engaging the Latino community. “I want to continue absorbing and sharing as much knowledge as possible to help others achieve their goals and aspiration in life,” he said.

Carino was inspired to pursue a banking career at an early age when he and his mother, who didn’t speak English, encountered an “unhelpful” banker,” he said.

“I went to the bank with my mother and had to translate for her. She wanted some bank statements, and the banker was not very friendly,” he said. He later told his mother that one day he would be a banker and help people who don’t speak English.

Recently, Carino was invited to participate in a Salvation Army event to help feed the homeless. Staff at Pacific Premier Bank joined him.

“We all ended up attending and the Salvation Army of Marysville was really happy,” he said. “Seeing my team being so engaged and caring and gentle with everyone they served was a beautiful experience.”

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097;; Twitter: @JanicePods.

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