C.J. Stewart is an Atlanta native, a former Chicago Cubs outfielder and an Amazon #1 Best Selling Author (Living To L.E.A.D.: A Story of Passion, Purpose and Grit). 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 unmatched 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 (former Atlanta Brave), Peter Alonso (NY Mets), Kyle Lewis (Seattle Mariners), and Andrew McCutchen (San Francisco Giants).
Stewart grew up in one of Atlanta’s most dangerous apartment complexes, Hollywood Brooks, located on Hollywood Road. His story is a perfect example of the phrase, ‘where you start doesn’t determine where you finish’. Although statistically the odds were stacked against him, Stewart used the sport of baseball to overcome statistics and become a compassionate, engaged member of society. Through the help of kind strangers in his community, he was able to take his love for the game from John A. White Park all the way to Wrigley Field when the Chicago Cubs drafted him, not once, but twice in 1994 and 1996.
Now Stewart and his wife Kelli 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 so they can become Ambassadors who lead Atlanta to lead the world. Stewart is providing a way for deserving inner-city youth to transform communities through baseball. For young men who complete L.E.A.D.’s Ambassador program, 100% have graduated from high school, 93% have enrolled into college, 90% have received college scholarship opportunities and 14% have entered the military or workforce. Stewart’s way of saying ‘Thank you!’ to those who helped him stay on the right path is to pay his blessing forward and create empowering opportunities for Atlanta youth today and into the future.