Moving homes is inconvenient. Moving almost 6,000 miles to a new country is downright challenging, for numerous reasons.

“I was 11 years old when we emigrated from Ukraine to the United States,” said Kseniya Mamlin, Assistant Vice President at FirstBank.

Initially settling the family in the sprawling metropolis of New York City, Kseniya’s father chased work opportunities in Montana and finally, Colorado. The family’s move to Denver was so sudden that they were without an apartment for three days.

“We stayed in Cherry Creek State Park for three nights while we looked for a place to stay,” Kseniya said. “Our stuff was in a U-Haul and we were in a tent with our cat.”

Fortunately they settled into their new community quickly and these days when Kseniya sleeps in tents it’s strictly for fun. An avid hiker and skier, she’s fully embraced the outdoor lifestyle that Colorado’s pristine mountain towns offer.

That’s partly the reason that she welcomed the chance to help open the very first Carbondale FirstBank location in October 2019. Although less than a year old, the Carbondale office has already rooted itself in the community by sponsoring Carbondale First Friday.

Banking for good is really just about listening to people.

Kseniya Mamlin

The monthly event celebrates the town’s rich arts scene and supports local businesses through gallery showings, live entertainment, and shopping opportunities on the first Friday of the month.

In addition to attracting locals, Kseniya feels events like these spotlight the community to a larger audience.

“Our small Colorado community is incredibly connected with the outside world, and to be successful you need to understand the world you live in,” Kseniya said. “Cultural exchanges such as these help with that understanding.”

Cultural Melting Pot

Over half of FirstBank’s Roaring Fork employees identify as a minority group.

They come from different backgrounds, hold different values, some speak different languages. But they work tirelessly for a shared goal: banking for good.

Kseniya is one of those employees, and in many ways her background reflects the world’s increasing connection and cultural diversity.

She grew up learning both Russian and Ukrainian, and after moving to the States, she adopted English as her primary language. In high school she studied Italian and Spanish, but felt as if she was losing her native tongue, so she spent an entire summer reading only Russian.

As an adult, she’s embraced her love of travel and encourages others to expand their horizons whenever possible. While travel is limited under COVID, she recommends using the technology to connect with others virtually while embracing the cultural diversity all around you.

“Having a multicultural background opens your eyes to the many different ways people live, and for a banker, that’s important because you can’t be the bank for someone if you don’t understand their perspective.”

And that all begins with a conversation.

“Banking for good,” she said, “is really about listening to people.”