ΦKΦ Member Spotlight

Marla Elsea
Sep 29, 2021

Stephen Hawthorne, from Freehold, New Jersey, has always had a passion for entrepreneurship. That interest led him to major in both finance and entrepreneurship at Elon University where he joined Phi Kappa Phi in 2020 and graduated earlier this year.

As a financial advisor with an independent wealth management firm, he works to help clients achieve their financial goals. But for himself, one of his biggest accomplishments was achieved during college when he joined with his roommates to start an apparel business. Their company, Good to See You, was founded with the goal of sharing a positive and uplifting message, and the greeting now adorns shirts, hats and other products which are sold in three states and online. The partners are also two-time recipients of grants from the Acorn Fund which gives entrepreneurs at Elon starting capital to expand their ventures.

Stephen has also been an active volunteer lending his assistance to Habitat for Humanity, the Positive Youth Center, Kopper Top, Relay for Life and more. In high school, he volunteered with a the I Can Bike program and taught individuals with disabilities how to ride traditional two-wheels bicycles.

Let's get to know Stephen!

Why did you accept the invitation to join Phi Kappa Phi?
I accepted the invitation to join Phi Kappa Phi because being invited to join such a highly renowned honor society was a huge honor. I consider the invitation a testament to all the hard work and countless hours of studying I put in to attain high academic standing. I also knew that being a part of an honor society would be an amazing resource for expanding my network with like-minded, high-performance individuals.

Who is your favorite band?
My favorite band is the Zac Brown Band! I really enjoy how they take different elements of country, classic and modern rock music to create a unique sound that does not conform to any one genre. They are also amazing to see in concert!

What is your favorite holiday?
My favorite holiday is Christmas! I grew up in an Italian-American household and we follow the Italian tradition of the Seven Fishes so the food is always excellent. It is also the time of year where I find myself reflecting the most and truly giving thanks for everything I have.

What is something you’re impressively good at?
I have always been a good swimmer and was the captain of my varsity swim team in high school. Swimming remains my favorite way to exercise and work out.

What is your drink of choice?
Iced coffee. It is essential to maintaining a high level of productivity throughout the day.

What do you do when you’re in the mood to do nothing?
When I am in the mood to do nothing, I will typically either listen to entrepreneurial podcasts or watch an episode or two of whatever show I am into at the time. Most recently, I have been really into Suits and it has become one of my most favorite TV series.

What do your friends love most about you?
I think my friends enjoy my humor and ability to plan ahead. Whenever we go on trips as a friend group, I really enjoy making sure that our time away is the best it possibly can be. I like finding great places to stay, activities to do and places to eat to make sure everyone has a great time!

What is the best advice you have ever received?
The best advice I have received is that you have to love what you do or you will give up. I have seen this play out the most in my clothing brand, Good to See You. Starting a business from scratch while being a full-time student took a lot of hard work, but the joy and passion I have for building our company has given me a true sense of purpose and fulfillment, unlike anything I have ever experienced. I found myself working 10-hour days over and over throughout my senior year trying to pursue this dream, but it never felt like work for a second because I love the process.

What’s one thing you still have from your childhood?
I have a necklace that I received from my grandparents for my confirmation. I still wear it every single day.

What is something that makes you feel like a kid again?
Riding my motorcycle. I have been riding and racing motorcycles since I was a kid, and every time I go out for a ride it gives me the same amount of joy and excitement as I had when I first started riding.

To learn more about Stephen and connect, visit his profile within our online member community, here.

Is there someone you would like to see in the spotlight? Send your nomination to engagement@phikappaphi.org and be sure to include basic information for the nomination.