RDF Invests In Its Familia: Meet Fernando Ortega, Jr.

RDF Invests In Its Familia: Meet Fernando Ortega, Jr.

Raza Development Fund is proud to welcome Fernando Ortega, Jr., RDF’s Loan Operations Specialist, to our team of experts. Fernando brings experience in client relations, loan documentation processing and administration, portfolio management and Small Business Administration lending. He joined the Familia earlier this month with passion to serve his community and contribute to RDF’s mission.

Just as RDF invests capital in its community, it invests in its Familia. Fernando looks forward to overcoming obstacles and pursuing his dreams of attaining higher education– with RDF’s support.

Join us as we get to know Fernando and cheer on his upcoming education journey with a Q & A.

Where are you from?

I was born and raised in Phoenix. My whole family is here and has been long-time community activists and supporters of UnidosUS, formerly National Council of La Raza. I am a single father of three kids: twin 10 year-old daughters and a six year-old son.

Tell us about your career and educational journey.

I have been in the banking and finance industry for over 10 years. Unfortunately, I didn’t have a formal education, but learned with hands on training. While I had taken a few college courses, I had gotten to a point where I had kids and was just working, it was hard for me to pursue school further.

I found myself working alongside colleagues who had graduate degrees. It was always an obstacle for me and even intimidating and a little discouraging at times. There were times where I wanted to advance and grow, but that held me back.

Recently, I just plateaued. I wasn’t learning much more. I needed a change, but I need a degree to move up.

During conversations to join the Familia, RDF stepped in to help me pursue this goal willing to invest in me to go back to school and pursue a degree.

Why pursue school now?

It’s definitely something that I’ve been wanting to do that I need to get completed for myself, for my family, to be an example to the community for working parents, for anybody.  Here I am at 40 years old about to take this journey. It’s scary, but it’s something that I need to do because it is important to me and I do see the opportunities that I can create.

I want to be that example for my kids. I can’t tell them to go to college meanwhile I don’t have my degree. That weighs heavy on my heart when I think about that.

Why work for RDF and serve the community?

My family is full of community activists and leaders. They left a strong legacy and I want to continue that. I got laxed in that fire that I had for volunteering. It dwindled, but I knew it was in my heart. I just needed something to re-ignite it.

Now working for RDF is perfect. I can apply my skill set and be working to impact Latino and poor communities. That’s exactly what I wanted to do that would fill that other void in my heart, giving back, having a positive impact on my community. That’s always just something that I felt that I needed to do. I need to show my kids that this is what we need to be doing and striving for, that we need to be servant leaders.

What advice would you give someone pursuing similar goals?

It’s never too late to set those goals. One day, I would like to share my personal story with others to let them know not to give up. You just have to keep applying yourself. Keep going after your goals, don’t let anything discourage you. Have faith. It’s going to work out. No matter where you’re at in your life, the obstacles you’re facing or any adversary, just keep going for your goals. Don’t give up on your dreams. It’s never too late.

Success – it’s not just loving what you do, it’s loving who you do it for.

I am beginning this new journey with RDF, which is ultimately changing my life from a career standpoint, education standpoint and giving me the opportunity to give back to the community and serve. It’s just a blessing.

We are sure Fernando will make a positive difference at RDF and cheer him on his journey ahead. We are excited to have you, Fernando!

Rachel Jimenez

Rachel Jimenez serves in the RDF’s Communications Department as Social Media Specialist. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism and Mass Communications from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University. Rachel has extensive experience supporting content marketing efforts for national and state non-profits, as well as small businesses.

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