When he was 5, Vidal Torres' family moved from the Dominican Republic to Queens, New York. Torres spoke not a word of English, but even then he had a plan: He showed up for the first day of school wearing a tiny, three-piece suit, his passport in hand. Anytime anyone asked him a question, he presented the passport. This simple strategy worked. "This day I still find it amazing that literally with no language," he says, "I could start my education."
He went through the prestigious Prep for Prep program for talented students of color, which helped him earn a full scholarship to the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, and then he attended Hamilton College. Torres rocketed through the University of Richmond's business master's and law degree program in three years, working the whole time.
His relentless pursuit of education was driven by a purpose set when he was a child. Once he learned English, Torres worked as his family's interpreter in many ways, including representing them at government services offices. And he saw how people in power ignored and stonewalled them.
He decided then to be a lawyer, so that he would understand the system and know the rules. "Nobody's ever going to tell me if I can do something or not," he said. "I'm going to know whether I can do something or not."
Torres now oversees mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, corporate transactions, corporate governance and regulatory matters for the Genworth life insurance companies and subsidiaries. He's also a football coach for 6- to 8-year-olds through Richmond's Metro Youth Football League, and has served as an advisory board member for the Avanzando Latino Education Initiative, a program at the Steward School for academically gifted, low-income Latino students — just like he once was.