We had the good fortune of connecting with Kenneth Williams and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kenneth, what do you attribute your success to?
My grandmother (Momo Lena) has always been a huge inspiration to me and the reason why a career in education and social justice was always on my radar. My grandmother (a domestic worker) with no formal education demanded I take every opportunity to learn in different environments and from different perspectives. From childhood I saw my grandmother work for and interact with many people doing domestic work in St. Martin and Lafayette Parish, Louisiana. Walking 5 or more miles with her in the smoldering heat to her jobs in the summer as a child has always been a motivation to ensure equitable resources and opportunities are readily available for individuals who look like me. Observing Black women do incredible things with little to no resources has been the driving factor to my life’s work fighting for social, environmental, and economic justice.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
For the last 10 years, I’ve focused my career on strengthening our society through government relations and nonprofit administration. As the Coordinator of Organizing Strategy at Leadership for Educational Equity, I managed a national team that used data to foster community engagement through digital organizing initiatives and strategies that led to three educational policy reforms surrounding school discipline and school funding in Chicago, Louisiana, and New York. As Government Relations Manager at Service Employees International Union (SEIU), I oversaw organizational management and strategic planning and partnerships which led to increased DEI impact and multiple increase the minimum wage Fight for $15 campaign wins across the nation. Currently, working with Houston Mayor’s Office of Complete Communities on workforce development to ensure equity in providing career pathways in the energy transition. Serving as a leader within nonprofit organizations has provided me with ample opportunity to steer efforts that bolster, challenge, and/or circumvent increasing civic engagement and social impact. I’m all about maximizing resources and opportunities for social and economic impact. My career journey is full of starts, stops, let downs and lift ups but throughout all of that I have kept a curious and optimistic mindset about the world and most importantly, about myself.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
The best things to do in H-Town are to start your morning at Mo Better Brew Breakfast Restaurant, have lunch at Burns BBQ, chill out with a snow cone from Sno Dreamz, enjoy culture at Project Row Houses. Be sure to check out the historic Third Ward tours and vibe out at the Local Seat.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My mother, Debra! Thank you for always providing a home both physically and emotionally.