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Director of client advisory and operations, Align Impact

It’s fair to say that Eric Stephenson catapulted to where he is today. When he injured his shoulder in high school, Stephenson decided to run track. But the team needed a pole-vaulter, so despite zero experience, he agreed because vaulting didn’t hurt his shoulder. His talent led to a scholarship from Temple University. There, he participated in the Sponsors Educational Opportunity program, in which volunteer executives mentor students from underprivileged backgrounds, arrange training and jobs, and help them navigate upper-middle-class mores. That led to an internship and a job at Xerox, followed by a short stint in private equity.

But motivated by his SEO experience, Stephenson wanted to give back. He enrolled in a graduate education program at the University of the Pacific where he met AssetMark founder Ron Cordes, who persuaded him to join the Cordes Foundation, which connects social entrepreneurs with resources. In 2018, Stephenson joined Align Impact, a female-led RIA that creates and implements impact-investing strategies for advisers, individuals and institutions.

Helping run the firm, he also helps give back as a member of Duke University’s advisory board on impact investing and as a due diligence mentor for a similar effort at Harvard University.

— Evan Cooper