2016 Gala Honors Pemberton

January 21, 2016

This year’s gala features Steve Pemberton, who in every aspect of his life — diversity executive, author, father and a voice for the forgotten — offers inspiration to others, emphasizing that from tragedy can come extraordinary accomplishment. "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 its first Chief Diversity Officer. 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.