Investing his talents for the less fortunate.
Michael Lawson is motivated by Jesus' parable of the talents, in which three servants are given money by their master. The ones who risk it and invest earn the master's praise; the one who hides the money is criticized as lazy. "If I don't use the resources that I have been given for the benefit of others, then I shouldn't have them."
Recently retired after 31 years of legal practice — he was a partner at the prominent Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom — the Harvard Law alum's investment of his talents goes beyond what appears on any résumé. In addition to Michael's heavy political and local involvement (he's president of the Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners, for one), he also spent considerable time mentoring students who "had questions about what it is that they should be doing" and considerable money supporting several individual students who needed it to finish their education. "I'm passionate about doing what I can to make sure everybody reaches their full potential, as well as understanding the importance of giving back."
This mentality of investing your talents for others isn't anything extraordinary for Michael; he credits the way he was raised. "All the successes we enjoy are there because somebody else worked hard to put us in a position to take advantage of them. I need to do what I can to be worthy of them."