took up civil engineering at Cornell University, where he was an All-American lacrosse player. Shortly after his graduation from college, he worked in his family's general contracting business. Trusting on the knowledge and experience he gained, he eventually founded his own company, the Renaissance Integrate Solutions. He is currently busy being the CEO of this technology-based company that specializes in pipeline industry. Stephen believes that his success is a blessing from above.
Thirteen years ago, someone challenged Stephen Paletta to decide whether his life was going to be about significance or about success. Only recently was he able to find out what his choice was. In 2004, a trip to Rwanda changed his life. For the first time, he felt what it was like being hands-on and connected to the plight of the poor and the Third World. "The images and the people I got to know would not allow me to just go back to work and worry about making my own money,” he said. Since then, he and his family regularly corresponded with and financially adopted ten African children. His involvement in reaching out didn't stop there as he conceptualized and started The International Education Exchange, a non-profit organization that teams up schools from America and Africa. One of Stephen's unforgettable giving back moments was when he built classrooms and bathroom facilities in a community in Africa, which has 2,700 children but had only one working toilet.
Stephen enjoys eating peanut butter and jelly dunked in chocolate milk and his wife's chocolate soufflé. The movie at the top of his favorites list is The Godfather and he listens to the songs of U2. His biggest indulgence is playing golf. Stephen currently lives in Bedford, NY with his wife and three children. He considers his wife as his best friend and proudly announces that she's the best thing that has ever happened to him.
Stephen Paletta is one of the 10 contestants on ABC's reality game show Oprah's Big Give
, where each contestant is given a large sum of money as they compete in finding “the most powerful, sensational, emotional and dramatic ways to give to others.” Stephen hopes to inspire others to engage in philanthropy on their own. He also wants to encourage people to move away from a strict career focus and spend more time on charities or caring for others.
(Photo courtesy of ABC)