Michael Lawyer (@mclawyer)
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
What inspires you to work for government?
Government is the place that creates the ecosystem. If we set the rules and structures correctly, our fellow citizens can grow and flourish to their full potential. If we can’t get the rules right, we take away people’s opportunities and they end up living as less than their full selves.
What does your typical day look like?
“If you know, in the morning, what your day looks like with any precision, you are a little bit dead–the more precision, the more dead you are.”
What advice do you have for senior level executives to help them cultivate the next generation of public servants?
Don’t build your rewards system around money-we’re not here for the money. We’re here because this is where the challenges worth tackling are. Pay us with problems.
Do you have any mentors? If so, what role have they played in your career?
I have had many mentors – I try to have 2 at any given time. Good mentors do two things: 1) they ask me the important questions I don’t have good answers to, and 2) they walk me through how they answer the difficult and important questions in their life.
What’s your favorite DC hangout?
I’m hooked on the wings at Molly Malone’s on Barracks Row. So delicious. Good beer list too.
How do you unwind?
I’ve got a 4 year old and a 2 year old at home, so I don’t actually unwind much. I do find listening to a 4 year old try and describe his day while eating ice cream to be a very Zen experience.
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