Kenneth W. Edwards, Esq.
Vice President, Federal Affairs
Center for Responsible Lending
Washington, D.C.
Age: 39

Kenneth W. Edwards failed the seventh and ninth grades and graduated from high school near the bottom of his class. A teacher’s remark on the last day of class in his senior year turned him around. “The teacher sarcastically said, ‘Today is the first day of the rest of your life,’” Edwards recalls. That resonated with him. The Houstonian earned a bachelor’s degree in government, with a minor in Spanish, from the University of Texas, the first member of his family to earn a college degree. Not satisfied, he obtained a law degree from the University of California at Berkeley, taking law classes entirely in Spanish during a semester in Barcelona, Spain. He also earned a master’s in public policy from Princeton University. Today, Edwards is vice president of federal affairs at the Center for Responsible Lending in Washington, D.C. “I work in the field of consumer-financial protection, helping to combat predatory lending, particularly to minority and low-income communities,” he explains.

 

Edwards started out as a law clerk for a Dallas, Texas, federal judge. He volunteered as an academic tutor with the I Have a Dream Foundation and Big Brothers in a mentoring program. He later joined the law firm Fulbright & Jaworski and participated in the company’s “lawyer-on-loan” volunteer program with a nearby city attorney’s office. Edwards was also a prosecutor in Dallas. During that time, he was awarded an American Marshall Memorial Fellowship and visited several European cities, meeting with policymakers and prominent members of the business and legal communities. While abroad, he acquainted himself with European governments’ approach to issues concerning at-risk youth, particularly those from such places as North Africa. He also worked at the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges in Houston.

 

A proud father of a young daughter, Kenadie, Edwards says he views his future success “in terms of what I can do for others.”