Stephen’s recent receipt of the Distinguished Alumni Award for Leadership from Susquehanna University is discussed in the current edition of SU’s Currents Magazine.
Stephen Wallace ’81: Taking a Stand for Youth
Stephen Wallace ’81 tells his clients: “Leaders lead. Period.” But, for Wallace, these aren’t just idle words; he leads by example. Since graduating from Susquehanna, Wallace has become a leader in the corporate world and public policy and service arenas.After graduating 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 an adolescent psychiatric ward at Fair Oaks Hospital in Summit, N.J. This inspired him to enter a master’s program in psychology at Bucknell University, during which he lived at Susquehanna and worked 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 psychologist. 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, first as a national representative and then as the director of communications and public relations.
After a nine-year hiatus, Wallace returned to SADD as a board member and then as 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 and XM radio, and in 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 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.”