Steve Pemberton

Chief People Officer at Workhuman, Author, Speaker

Steve Pemberton is Chief Human Resources Officer for Workhuman, a leading provider of social recognition and continuous performance development solutions, that brings humanity to the world through positive recognition in the workplace. In this capacity he is responsible for all aspects of people function from talent acquisition and human resource systems to performance management. Prior to that, Steve served as the first ever Global Chief Diversity Officer for Walgreens Boots Alliance, the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise in the world.

Under Steve’s leadership, Walgreens reached record levels of performance on nearly every measure of diversity and inclusion from representation to supplier diversity spend. An extended part of his responsibility was to further the companies’ pioneering efforts to employ people with disabilities. In that capacity, he frequently represented Walgreens’ employment model at the White House and on Capitol Hill. In 2015, he was appointed by United States Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez to serve on the Advisory Committee for the Competitive Integrated Employment of People with Disabilities.
One of America’s most inspiring executives, he brings a deep personal understanding of human differences and the human experience to his position. Steve was a ward of the state for much of his childhood, an experience he chronicled in his USA Today best-selling memoir, A Chance in the World (Thomas Nelson). His extraordinary life journey, featured in People Magazine, CBS Evening News, The Washington Post and The Today Show has been translated into multiple languages and continues to inspire audiences across the world; the movie adaption of his life was released in late 2018. Steve’s tireless advocacy for the disenfranchised has earned him numerous accolades. His dedication to public service and personal and professional achievement have also earned him Honorary Doctorates from Winston-Salem State University (2014), Boston College (2015), Mount Ida (2016) and Providence College (2018). In 2015, Steve was awarded the prestigious Horizon Award by the United States Congress, presented to an individual from the private sector who has contributed to expanding opportunities for all Americans through their own personal contributions, and who have set exceptional examples for young people through their successes in life. Steve has furthered that mission with the creation of his own foundation, A Chance in the World, that specifically focuses on helping young adults who age out of the foster care system in America. He is particularly proud of the opportunity to provide scholarships to middle school students in his hometown of New Bedford, Massachusetts.

In 2019, Steve formed an exploratory committee to consider a run for The United States Senate. Steve completed his undergraduate and graduate work at Boston College, where he also serves on The Board of Trustees. He also resides on several non-profit boards including UCAN, Loyola Academy, Boys Hope Girls Hope, and DisabilityIn. Steve and his wife Tonya are the proud parents of three children.