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News: December 2006

Lisa Mazur: It's Easy Being Green

Lisa Mazur stands with her father Michael MazurLisa Mazur, a third year JD/MBA student, stands
with her father Michael Mazur. Both Mazurs share
a passion for using business to make a positive
environmental impact.

When Yelizaveta (Lisa) Mazur entered Pepperdine School of Law, she was unsure whether the path toward the standard juris doctor was right for her.

After her first year, Lisa incorporated her lifelong interest in business by adding an MBA to her educational track. Now a third year JD/MBA student and a fellow at the Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law, Lisa has found the perfect fit through this combination of programs. The Palmer Center in particular resonates with her personality and interests, since the students, like her, are fascinated with the intersection of law, business, and social entrepreneurship.

Lisa's story began in Russia, where she was born and where her father, Michael Mazur, worked as an engineer and businessman. When Lisa was 7 years old her family moved to Manhattan Beach, California. She later attended UCLA, where she earned her bachelor of arts in Comparative Literature and Russian Literature. She began to develop her father's entrepreneurial spirit, and she sought law school for its practical nature and marketability.

Meanwhile, her father, who had an electrical engineering degree from Ivanovo Power State University in Russia and his MBA from California State University, struck out to start his own business, a "Green Energy" company called 3 Phases Energy.

"Green Energy" refers to electricity generated from natural resources such as solar, wind, geothermal, biomass, and low-impact hydro facilities. These power sources are continually replenished by nature - or by the activities of man - and produce little-to-no pollution or greenhouse gas emissions.

Lisa shares her father's vision of making a positive environmental and economic impact. In fact, she's now part of the Pepperdine University Chapter of Net Impact, a global organization with a mission to use the power of business to do just that.

In October, the Palmer Center sent Lisa and another Palmer Center Fellow, Brad White, to the 2006 Net Impact conference in Chicago. During the three-day conference, panelists spoke about social entrepreneurship initiatives such as microfinance. Many of the speakers shared two characteristics: successful corporate careers and leverage of their positions to give back to the community. Overwhelmingly, Lisa was encouraged by the presentations and the commitment to social responsibility portrayed by the panelists.

In addition to making a positive environmental impact, Lisa works hard to further social entrepreneurship initiatives. Her efforts include partnering with the nonprofit organization Opportunities Without Borders (OWOB), which facilitates the expansion of small entrepreneurial businesses in developing countries. Currently, Palmer Center Director Melanie Howard (also a founding director of OWOB) is working with Lisa and other Palmer Center Fellows on an entrepreneurial business development project in Mexico.

Lisa says she'll continue this work because she believes in its mission. "Something I always want to be involved in is social entrepreneurship," she says. "I believe it's really important to give back. If you've been given a lot, it's your obligation to use your skills - to your utmost ability - for good."

Lisa credits the Palmer Center and specifically the program's founder, Professor Janet Kerr, with affording her opportunities in entrepreneurship and, ultimately, for career direction. "Professor Kerr has been my biggest asset. She is always seeking out new opportunities and events for students. She's all about positioning students for the transition to the real world," says Lisa.

As for an upcoming "real world" job, Lisa wants to work were she can draw from both her degrees and do something she really enjoys, perhaps in the arena of securities, or mergers and acquisitions.

Perhaps she will address the increasingly complex legal problems that will arise as American business expands farther into the world market.

Or perhaps, like her father, she'll begin her own forward-thinking business, something she admits "might be on the horizon."

For now, she'll learn as much as she can.