Why do you do what you do?

I'm still inspired by an unattributed quote that I clipped in high school, "Success isn't the money or the privileges. It isn't the might and the mighty. It's being able to do the things you deeply care about."

I do what I do for the future, further propelled by the proverb, "I have drunk from wells that others have dug."

Before HBS, I was driven by a commitment to environmental activism and women's rights.

After HBS, it was decades of pushing the high-tech envelope, where creating jobs and growing protégés was deeply satisfying.

Now, it's teaching high school math. Upon losing my 20-year-old daughter to heroin addiction, I also spend my time educating about how the substance abuse epidemic is not just devastating families and communities, but also undermining U.S. economic competitiveness and national security.

I am humbled when young people look to me as their mentor, and love passing along the wisdom of my teachers and managers. I truly appreciate what my education has enabled me to do, especially encouraging those who aspire to be the first in their family to achieve a great milestone.

I like to think that my immigrant grandparents – who couldn't finish grade school because they had to go to work – are smiling with approval.

— Melissa Weiksnar

Photography by Marsha Wilcox