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Steve Pemberton

Senior Executive at Walgreens Boots Alliance, Author of A Chance in the World & Voice of Change for Youth


”This little boy doesn’t have a chance in the world.” This diary entry, taken from the journal of a babysitter, was the prediction for Steve Pemberton’s future. But for him, that defeatist notion would have the exact opposite effect; it would inspire him to move forward through life and triumph over extreme adversity to become the chance, and the success, he believed he deserved in the world.

Overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds, Pemberton has gone from being a forgotten ward of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to becoming a trailblazing Divisional Vice President at Walgreens and the first Chief Diversity Officer for the 113 year old company. Currently, he is Senior Executive at Walgreens Boots Alliance. Prior to that, he made history as the first Chief Diversity Officer and Vice-President of Diversity and Inclusion for an Internet start-up while at

His memoir, A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past, and How He Found a Place Called Home, chronicles his difficult path through foster care and his determined search for his family. It is an inspirational story that crosses generations and cultures, but specifically whispers to those who have had the odds stacked against them. Pemberton's relentless journey to overcome his setbacks, find his biological family and right the wrongs of his parents' past is a model for all families to follow. It is a true testament of faith, fortitude and forgiveness.

In every aspect of his life — diversity executive, author, father and a voice for the forgotten — Pemberton offers abundant inspiration to others, emphasizing that from tragedy and strife can come extraordinary accomplishment. He works tirelessly to translate the negative “a chance in the world” mindset into a positive message that encourages others to uncover the power within them to move forward.

Ultimately, Pemberton believes that who we are, our triumphs over adversity, and our successes begin and end with family. It is an exceptionally powerful sentiment from a man who fought to find his way and who in the end believes that you can choose your family after all.



A Chance in the World: An Orphan Boy, a Mysterious Past & How He Found a Place Called Home

From Corrective Action to Competitive Advantage: How Diversity is Reshaping Our World

The Advantage of Disadvantage: How to Transform Adversity Into Action

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