The Latino Professionals Association
Presents Yo Soy
|Jorge Antezana is a native of Lima, Peru
Peruvian restaurant that used to be in Madison, Inka Heritage. We would also go to Chicago. We did the things that people in their early 20s do like hang out.”
In some ways, Antezana acted as a bridge between both cultures for the students.
“I was kind of an international student,” Antezana recalled. “I was international, but I was also a Madisonian. I had a house I could stay at. International students
have nowhere to stay. And I had family here. The support base was there. The nice thing is sometimes at Thanksgiving or Christmas, I would invite the international
students to my house and we would spend Christmas together. My family always welcomed them and actually got to meet them. We invited a Peruvian guy to our
house. When I went to Peru a couple of years ago, we saw each other and talked a lot about Wisconsin and Peru. It was fun to see a Whitewater shirt in Lima, Peru.
I was driving around the city and you see Wisconsin Badgers.”
After attaining his degree, Jorge came back to Madison and got a job at Park Bank where he developed his love for service to others.
“I was a banker and worked there 3-4 years,” Antezana said. “I worked at the Park Street branch. I got to interact with people from different cultures including a lot
of Spanish-speaking people. My clientele were a lot of Spanish-speaking people. I realized that I really like helping Latinos learn about financial literacy, how to
open accounts, how to get credit, the steps to homeownership, steps to get a car loan and things like that.”
Antezana eventually realized that he wanted more and enrolled in an MBA program at Whitewater, working full-time and commuting to Whitewater several days per
week. It got too much for him and he resigned from Park Bank after one semester to focus more on his advanced degree. That next summer, Antezana worked at
BMO Harris, which gave him the flexibility he needed to get his MBA. But once he graduated in December 2014, Antezana decided to join the credit union movement
and became a mortgage specialist at UW Credit Union.
“I work with a lot of people who are purchasing their homes or refinancing their houses,” Antezana said. “I love doing education. I’m the only Spanish-speaking
person in the mortgage department at UW Credit Union, so I do help a lot of Spanish-speaking people. I work at the corporate office on University Avenue. I like my
job a lot because I like to again, do the education portion. I like to educate people on the steps to become a homeowner. Everyone should become a homeowner at
some point. I do the origination part. I’m not an underwriter, but I can help out on that end too.”
Antezana has always kept in touch with the community. Through Valentina Ahedo, Antezana learned about an instructor opening at Madison College in the Caminos
“It’s basically a partnership between Madison College and Centro Hispano,” Antezana said. “Centro recruits about 10-15 students and they go through a 10-week
program where they learn how to become tellers. And they take a personal finance class. This class teaches you how to use a financial calculator, steps to build
credit and the different credit products, steps to becoming a homeowner, how to invest and steps you should take to retire. He takes you through the life stage of
someone, from the time you start earning money to the time that you retire. I have taught this class for Madison College for the last 2-3 years. Most of my students
are Latino. Their target is ESL students. I really like it. I just started my ninth group this week. It’s been a great experience. The turnaround has been great because
the purpose of this program is for the students, once they graduate, to get a job as a teller. I’ve had about 75 students. And out of the 75, I would say that 60 are
employed at a credit union. Eighty-five percent find jobs as a teller.”
While his two jobs keep Antezana busy, he still stays somewhat involved through the Latino Professionals Association.
“It’s nice to meet with other Latino professionals in the area,” Antezana said about LPA. “You see people who work in healthcare. You see people who work in
construction, banking, real estate and other industries. As someone who works in mortgage lending, it’s nice to know that there are other Latinos who can help
other Latinos in case you are looking for a house, for example, or some sort of insurance product. That’s the impact. You can make referrals. Also I like that they
By Jonathan Gramling
As we talk over coffee at the Café Maya, Jorge Antezana comes across as a pleasant, yet determined
professional. And as we talk about his life, Antezana’s biculturalism is almost translucent. One gets the
sense that Antezana feels comfortable in American culture while also ensuring that he doesn’t forget
the land of his birth, Peru.
Antezana’s family moved to Madison when he was still in high school. Madison wasn’t new to
Antezana for his uncle had moved to Madison in the 1980s and Antezana would enjoy the best of both
worlds, summer in Madison and Peru. Antezana made the adjustment and graduated from Middleton
High School one year later.
After attaining a liberal arts transfer degree from Madison College, Antezana headed for UW-Whitewater
to attain a degree in international business.
“I got involved in the International Student Association,” Antezana said. “I got to meet people from
Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. I got to meet Peruvians studying abroad. It was fun to interact
with the Peruvians. They came to Whitewater as exchange students. We would eat Peruvian food at the
incorporate different types of sessions where they talk about things that interest
Latinos in Madison. For example, there is a session coming up about biases. There
are other sessions where they talk about their careers and things like that.”
Someday, Antezana would like to become the CEO of a company and perhaps move
back to Peru to raise children when he does get married. And so Antezana has
always nurtured his American and Peruvian cultures.
“Even though I live in the U.S., I am always involved with Peruvian culture,”
Antezana said. “I have CDs. I watch a lot of Peruvian TV. I follow my national soccer
team. We just went to the World Cup after 36 years. Peruvians were really excited
about it. We are very much nationalistic people. They like to talk about the culture.
They like to promote their culture a lot, especially now that Peruvian cuisine has
become very popular around the world. Peruvian culture is very old. We’ve been
through a lot. We have the Incas. And then they Spaniards came. We have a lot to
talk about in terms of the culture. The nice thing is in Madison, we have a lot of
Mexicans and Mexicans and Peruvians are very similar in terms of culture. They
have the Aztecs and the Mayans. We have the Incas. The Spanish came. We went
through the same things. There is a lot that is similar in our histories. We have a lot
of Mestizos who do us well. No matter how many years that I live in Madison, I am
still going to think a lot about the Peruvian culture. I try not to forget.”
One of the things Peruvian that Antezana stays closest to is Peruvian cooking.
“I like to cook and I am learning how to cook Peruvian food,” Antezana said. “It’s
hard. I am very lucky that my grandmother is a really, really good cook. My uncle
owns Crandall’s, the Peruvian restaurant on State Street. We have cuisine skills in
the family. It’s just a matter of me learning more skills about the tricks from my
grandmother before she stops cooking because of age. She loves it. Once in a
while, she will invite me to her house and asks me what kind of Peruvian food she
wants me to cook. And she will ask my sister the same thing. She will make a
different plate for each of us.”
Antezana also likes the things that Wisconsin has to offer, especially the Green Bay
Packers. He has learned a sense of contentment in his bicultural world, enjoying the
best that both cultures have to offer.