Michael Masters has quite the resume. After graduating from the top of his class at the University of Michigan, receiving a Master’s degree from Cambridge University and a law degree from Harvard, Michael could have made a lot of money in the private sector; instead he joined the United States Marine Corps and has dedicated his life to public service and helping others.
Michael served in Mayor Daley’s office as an Assistant to the Mayor for Public Safety and as the Chief of Staff to the Superintendent of Police, Jody P. Weis. Currently, he is responsible for directing the homeland security and emergency management system across Cook County.
In his career, Michael has not merely dedicated himself to helping other people, but has done it in positions which require extreme dedication and personal sacrifice. From doing economic development work on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation - one of the poorest places in the country - to working in some of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago, Michael has taken to heart the Jewish notion of tzedakah.
Pays the bills:
Executive Director, Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency
Describe yourself in 10 words or less:
Loyal. Dedicated. Passionate. Committed. Organized. Enthusiastic. Supportive. Chocoholic. Slightly OCD (in a good way).
When I’m in a good mood, Chachi Arcola (not Scott Baio. Just Chachi). When I’m upset, my mouth apparently does something reminiscent of Robert De Niro in the movie Casino.
How do you Jew in Chicago?
For food and a good time: Hub51, Paris and RPM. For sanity: EBC. For myself: studying Jewish text.
My family. Pamela. A very adorable four year old. My friends. My work. The outdoors. Traveling. Learning about other cultures and people. Horseback riding. Cooking. Good conversation. Great food. Dessert (generally). Anything chocolate (specifically).
How do you give back?
The Chicago Children’s Musuem, JUF, and indigenous rights efforts.
Fill in the blank: If time and money were limitless, I would:
Enjoy a really fantastic meal in every country in the world. Figure out a way to go back in time and have a really good conversation with my grandfather, now that I’m older and know the truly important questions that I want to ask. Provide everyone who wanted it with a truly meaningful education and with more than just a basic standard of living. Spend more time learning.
Chicago's Jewish community in 10 years:
Stronger. I think we have one of the most engaged and socially responsible Jewish communities of any city in the United States. We have a responsibility to build from what those who came before us created…and I believe that we can. I look forward to being a part of that.
Me in 10 years:
Finding new ways to make a difference, and still having as much fun as I do now. Probably a little more gray and here’s hoping that the time in the gym will still be counteracting the chocolate.