CJ Stewart,
Senior Contributor

C.J. Stewart is an Atlanta native and a former Chicago Cubs outfielder. He has earned the recognition of being one of the top baseball player development professionals in the country. As the founder and CEO of Diamond Directors , Stewart has achieved success in the player development industry. He has over 22 years of experience and his firm has developed some of the game’s top amateur, collegiate and professional players. Stewart’s impressive client list includes Jason Heyward (Chicago Cubs), Dexter Fowler (St. Louis Cardinals), Andrew Jones (Chicago White Sox), and Andrew McCutchen (San Francisco Giants) and current MLB impact player Peter Alonso (New York Mets).

Stewart grew up in one of Atlanta’s most dangerous housing projects, Hollywood Brooks. His story is a perfect example of the phrase, ‘where you start doesn’t determine where you finish’. Stewart used the sport of baseball to transcend statistics and become a compassionate, engaged member of his community while having an international impact in player development. Through the help of kind strangers in his community, he was able to play competitive baseball in high school and ultimately showcase his talents in front of college programs. This exposure led to a baseball scholarship at Georgia State University and an opportunity for Stewart to be drafted by the Chicago Cubs organization as well.

The opportunities that he enjoyed came from people in the community noticing his talent, and helping him access the necessary resources to help him use his talent to beat the odds. Now Stewart and his wife Kelli, who serves as the Executive Director, are doing the same for inner city youth in Atlanta through their non-profit organization, L.E.A.D. (Launch, Expose, Advise, Direct).

L.E.A.D.’s mission is to empower an at-risk generation to lead and transform their City of Atlanta. We use baseball as a vehicle to help 350 Black males from a Atlanta Public Schools overcome three curve balls that threaten their lives: crime, poverty and racism. Through year round programming, Stewart is providing deserving inner-city youth with a pathway to high school graduation, college access and career opportunities. L.E.A.D. is developing a fraternity of youth called Ambassadors: college bound, civically engaged student-athletes prepared to be positive change agents in their communities.