From Valley to Vanguard: Steven Wilson '96

Photograph of Steven Wilson with American actress Sarah Michelle Gellar
Steven Wilson '96 (right) with American Actress Sarah Michelle Gellar / Photo provided


Steven Wilson '96 might tell you that his journey from Geneseo to a career in public relations has the makings of a good story—and he'd know. After all, crafting compelling narratives is what he's mastered since his days as a student at SUNY Geneseo.

"I picked Geneseo because it was close to home, and the price was right," Wilson recalls. "I was looking to get into the entertainment industry and liked their academic track. I majored in communication and minored in public relations, which, in hindsight, I'm glad I did because, at the time, I had no idea what public relations was, but that's what started my career." 

Campus life was where Wilson cut his teeth in responsibility, serving as a residence assistant and balancing classes with duties at the campus TV station, GSTV. "It taught me a lot about juggling tasks and figuring things out on my own," he shares, noting that these were the first real steps toward independence and becoming a self-starter.

Wilson's big break came through a job fair, landing internships at Nickelodeon during his junior year and HBO as a senior. "Those internships got me into the field," Wilson says, "They weren't just gigs; they were my foray into the industry."

At HBO, he learned to pitch himself—a skill that Geneseo had quietly nurtured. Wilson's initiative led to a unique position, practically tailor-made for him. "It was about making opportunities, not waiting for them," he says.

His career trajectory hasn't been a straight climb but a series of meaningful steps from the East Coast to Los Angeles, where he eventually founded his own firm, Scenario, with two long-time business partners. "The idea was to do the kind of work that felt rewarding, that made an impact," he explains. This year, Scenario garnered recognition on Inc.’s 5000 Fastest Growing Companies list.

Today, Wilson's firm is his canvas, where he paints the big picture for clients such as National Geographic, Hulu, FX, Apple, and various film festivals—marrying strategy with the art of communication. "We tell stories," Wilson puts it simply. "And hopefully, we tell them well."

Reflecting on Geneseo's influence, Wilson is grounded yet grateful. "I might not think about college every day, but Geneseo is where I found my footing," he acknowledges.

Wilson's professional goals are straightforward: keep growing, keep learning, and maybe, one day, welcome a Geneseo grad or two into the fold. "It's about passing on what you've learned, right?" he says, with the kind of genuine understanding that comes from experience.