Stevens attended Saint Olaf College, where she met game designers Jonathan Tweet and Mark Rein-Hagen. Stevens received an MBA from the University of Washington. After graduating, she continued to hang out on campus running Dungeons & Dragons games.:232
Stevens joined Tweet and Rein-Hagen in the game company Lion Rampant, which published Ars Magica in 1987. Lion Rampant was a volunteer organization, and Stevens's editorial experience was needed at the company.:232 After Stevens pitched the idea to Rein-Hagen and Stewart Wieck,:235 Lion Rampant merged with White Wolf in 1990. While on the road to GenCon 23 in 1990 with Stevens and Wieck, Rein-Hagen envisioned Vampire: The Masquerade, which the new company published in 1991.:216 After meeting Rich Kaalaas of Wizards of the Coast at a GTS convention in March 1991 and then GenCon 25,:276-277 Stevens left White Wolf that same year to join Wizards, becoming that company's first full-time employee.:277 She was a vice president for Wizards when they published Magic: The Gathering in 1993, and she launched The Duelist to support it. Having worked on the game while at Lion Rampant, she advised Wizards to acquire Ars Magica, which they did in 1994.:279 After Wizards purchased TSR, Stevens became the Brand Manager for the RPGA and Greyhawk.:282
Stevens left Wizards of the Coast in 2000, and made it known that she wanted to acquire the rights to Wizards' magazines if they ever became available.:412 In May 2002, she formed Paizo Publishing, and is the CEO of the company. When Wizards' entire magazine department was cut in 2002, Dragon, Dungeon, and Star Wars Insider magazines were all licensed to Paizo.:291
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- David Miller (December 6, 2011). "Pathfinder Online MMO". Purple Pawn.
- Appelcline, Shannon. "History of Game, #10". 3 January 2007. Retrieved 14 June 2013.
- "Paizo People: Lisa Stevens".
- Shannon Appelcline (2011). Designers & Dragons. Mongoose Publishing. ISBN 978-1-907702-58-7.
- Cherie Henderson (July 23, 1994). "It's Magic! Popular Cards Do a Disappearing Act". The Miami Herald. p. G1.
- Adrienne Ward Fawcett (June 26, 1995). "The Marketing 100: Lisa Stevens". Advertising Age. p. S24.
- Bonnie Britton (March 31, 2002). "The Force Will Be with Us". The Indianapolis Star. p. I1.
- Frank Vinluan (November 12, 2000). "Game Gives Sci-Fi Fans Free Rein". The Seattle Times. p. B4.