American Swiss Foundation

Leader Spotlight

Lake.MikeMike Lake (Young Leader 2013)

President and CEO, Leading Cities, and Candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts

What do you like most about Switzerland?
Its natural treasures -- the people and the landscape. It is such a beautiful country on so many levels, but the majesty of the mountains, the solitude of the lakes, and the warmth of the people are what make Switzerland so special. Of course, there is also the chocolate!

What do you like most about the USA? 
The diversity of our nation -- from the wonderful diversity of our fellow citizens, to the richness of the ideas and cultures we weave together, to the splendor of our drastically different landscapes. The United States has everything one can dream of and more!

What defines your leadership style?
Collaborative. I believe in the power of collective wisdom and perspective and the value of uniting stakeholders around a common cause or purpose.

Who inspires you?
Children. I am comforted by their innocence, fascinated by their imagination, envious of their energy, amazed by their curiosity, and excited about the future they will create.   

What is your greatest achievement?
Serving as President Clinton's Special Assistant for White House Operations.  It is not the highest achievement, but I consider it the greatest because it was a dream I worked hard to achieve, it anchored my passion for public service, and it was unfathomable to me that an ordinary kid with no political connections or family ties could find himself at such a young age to be working with some of the most dedicated and brilliant public servants.

Do you have any weaknesses? 
Of course! The weaknesses are the seedlings of success and triumph. They give us all something to strive for, something to improve.

Where do you live?
Boston, Massachusetts

What is your favorite place in the world?
Hiking in The Grand Teton National Park in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

What is the best book you ever read?
The Spirit of 1776, a collection of letters, articles, journal entries, etc. by both British and Colonial actors -- from the Heroes like John Adams and George Washington to the average soldier and resident. This collection of works captures the passion, commitment, intelligence and fear, hope, and wonder of what would lie ahead in the New World.

What is your goal in life? 
To answer a calling for public service by bringing hope, opportunity, and justice to my community -- both as narrow and broad as that can be defined.



About Mike Lake

Michael Lake is the President and CEO of Leading Cities and a candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts. Leading Cities is a global network of businesses, municipal governments, and universities committed to strengthening cities with vibrant business ecosystems that develop the local economy. Michael has served two U.S. Presidents as Special Assistant for White House Operations and was as a policy research analyst for the Prime Minister of Ireland. He has been elected as a member of the Electoral College. Most recently, Michael served as the Founder and Executive Director of World Class Cities Partnership, headquartered at Northeastern University. Michael is the only graduate in the history of the State of Massachusetts to have completed five undergraduate majors simultaneously. He graduated summa cum laude studying Finance, Political Science, Communications, Entrepreneurship, and Management Information Systems. Michael loves desserts and works off the added calories with hiking and the occasional long distance run.

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