03/01/2013 12:31 pm ET Updated May 01, 2013

Leadership role models

Who are your leadership role models? In historical terms, Abraham Lincoln stands out to me for his strength, perseverance, vision and ability to communicate. On a more personal basis, I admire a brother-in-law who is a police officer and two nephews who are firefighters because they knowingly put themselves in harm's way to protect the lives of others.

I've asked that same question to many leadership experts from government, business and academia. Here are some of my favorite responses:

Having grown up in the 1950s and 1960s in the segregated South, Bill Corr, deputy secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, believes Martin Luther King, Jr. and Congressman John Lewis of Georgia are two of the most important leaders in his lifetime. "Their stand for justice and peace and serve as powerful examples for all of us," Corr said.

Kenneth R. Feinberg, an attorney who has mediated some of the nation's most highly charged disputes and author of "What is Life Worth?", said, the late senator Edward Kennedy of Massachusetts was his role model. "Senator Kennedy was my mentor, my friend and the guiding force of my career. He would bend over backwards to attend weddings and funerals with his fellow senators. Senator Kennedy was constantly bridging differences in an effort get a public policy result."

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