New passions, new purpose for former Senior Country Officer of Chile
In his 27 years at J.P. Morgan, Vicente Monge Alcalde grew the firm’s business in Chile as Senior Country Officer and helped establish J.P. Morgan in Colombia. Now, while he wears many hats, his passion lies in helping underprivileged Chilean children with cancer in memory of his daughter, Verito, who died of the disease in 2010.
Monge Alcalde launched Fundación Camino in 2013, and in 2020 the foundation finished construction on a four-story building in Santiago to house young Chileans in need from ages 12-18 while they’re in town receiving cancer treatment. The home provides meals and therapy and life coaching for the youth, too.
“My daughter, after six months of suffering, she said ‘when I return to Chile, I want to help other people suffering with cancer,’” Monge Alcalde said. When it became clear that Verito, who was 25 and one of his six children, wouldn’t be going home, he asked her to share her vision.
Now he’s proud the home has already hosted 60 young people. In addition to the foundation, Monge Alcalde and his family also commemorated Verito’s life by commissioning a book— El Otra Lado del Camino / The Other Side of the Road—written in her voice and based off her letters and diary entries. The project helped him and his wife, Veronica, grieve Verito, and proceeds go toward the foundation.
“I think it’s better for you to talk about someone rather than turning the page,” he said, “and the best way was this book.”
Monge Alcalde joined Chase Manhattan Bank in 1986, having previously worked at a local Chilean bank. At the firm, he was Head of Local Markets for Chile, Peru and Colombia, a role in which he was responsible for sales, FX Trading, fixed income, structured products, capital markets, derivatives, and funding activities.
In Colombia, he was team leader for the creation of Corporación Financiera J.P. Morgan, the definition of an Investment Bank by Colombian norms. In his last seven years at the firm, he took on the role of Senior Country Officer for the Chile office.
Creating a solid team that worked well together was always a priority. “I recognized that each person adds value to the bank,” he said. “If people are fighting to win business, you’re not going to be successful, you’re going to fail. In the end, the groups we created in Chile and other countries were very successful because of teamwork.”
It was his colleagues at JPMorgan Chase who rallied to help Monge Alcalde and his family in 2008 identify the best doctor and place for Verito’s treatment—Dr. Leonard Wexler at Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) in New York—when she was diagnosed with late stage alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare, aggressive cancer of the soft tissues. No doctors in Chile had experience treating the disease.
He also leaned on colleagues as his family faced earlier challenges—the death of another daughter at five months, and raising another child who was born with Down’s Syndrome.
“The bank, it’s not just a place that gives you a salary, it’s much more,” Monge Alcalde said. “It’s the incredible people you meet. J.P. Morgan alumni are more than a webpage, more than a newsletter. It’s a big family.”
Support for students and cancer patients
After Verito died, Monge Alcalde resigned from the firm, but he stayed on for an additional two years to help with transitions. “I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do in next stage of my life,” he said.
In addition to the foundation, Monge Alcalde these days spends the bulk of his time buying and developing real estate in the U.S. and Chile, mostly investing in secondary cities, or those that fall a tier below major cities, in the U.S. He attributes his success to the work ethic he honed at the firm.
“The bank is a very powerful place to work,” he said, “and one of the many things I learned is that to be successful, you have to work hard.”
He also volunteers as an MBA student mentor and advisor at his alma mater ESE Business School in Santiago. He’s on boards, including that of a local bank and an energy company transitioning to green energy. He also owns a popular restaurant in Lima, El Mercado, along with former J.P. Morgan colleagues. He’s an angel investor for Chilean start-ups, too.
With the foundation, Monge Alcalde’s goal is to raise money to build other homes like it across Chile. For many impoverished Chilean youth with cancer, not having a place to stay during treatment means delaying or not receiving care at all. Verito would support this expansion, he says. The homes are a way to always keep her memory alive.
“You have to look at the glass half full,” Monge Alcalde said. “Probably if she didn’t pass away, this foundation would have never existed. As a parent who’s lost a child, you will keep the pain for the rest of your life, but you learn to be happy again. We miss our daughter, but we’re at peace.”