On Sunday, October 24th, Stephen will receive the Susquehanna University Alumni Leadership Award. This award is given to alumni who have shown outstanding leadership in their careers or communities. Nominees will have had a significant role in bringing about important change or contributing to outstanding results in their professional, civic, or volunteer activities. He will also be speaking to students and faculty members while on campus.
Stephen Wallace ‘81
“Leaders lead. Period.”
That is what Stephen Wallace ’81 tells clients. But those are not just words; he also leads by example. Over the three decades since graduating from Susquehanna, Wallace has done so in the corporate world and in the public policy and service arenas.
After he graduated in 1981, Wallace went to work for Bloomingdale’s with his eyes on Madison Avenue. He then shifted his path, taking a job as a counselor for a locked adolescent psychiatric ward at Fair Oaks Hospital in Summit, N.J. This inspired him to enter a master’s program in psychology at Bucknell, during which he lived at Susquehanna as an assistant to the director of residence life in charge of the Project House System.
Master’s degree in hand, Wallace then became a school counselor. It was during this time that he became involved with SADD, then known as Students Against Driving Drunk. He spent 18 months traveling the country and speaking to middle school and high school students as a national representative, and then the director of communications and public relations.
After a nine-year hiatus, Wallace returned to SADD as a board member and then its chairman and CEO. In that role, he oversaw its evolution to a broader mission as Students Against Destructive Decisions. The organization now has more than 10,000 chapters and an estimated 350,000 active student members.
Wallace has appeared on NBC’s Today, MSNBC, CNN, Fox News, E! Entertainment, XM radio and national and regional newspapers, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and USA Today. He serves as a spokesperson for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and the American Camp Association (through his affiliation with the Cape Cod Sea Camps). His experiences formed the basis for his first book, Reality Gap: Alcohol, Drugs, and Sex—What Parents Don’t Know and Teens Aren’t Telling, published recently by Union Square Press/Sterling Publishing.
And that isn’t even his day job. He is principal of the consulting firm Summit Communications Management Corp., with regional and national clients in telecommunications, energy and consumer products. That alone is more than enough to fill one’s days, but Wallace draws energy from his work with youth.
“I am most proud of the enduring relationships I have established with the young people and families with whom I have worked in a variety of educational and therapeutic settings,” he says. “They inspire me, motivate me and keep me sane in our hectic, fast-paced world.”