Our Founder

Our Founder:

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 Player Development, C.J. has over 12 years of experience and has built an impressive client list that includes Jason Heyward (Atlanta Braves), Andrew Jones (Chicago White Sox) and Dexter Fowler (Colorado Rockies).

Stewart grew up in one of Atlanta’s most dangerous housing projects, Hollywood Courts. His story is a perfect example of the phrase, ‘where you started doesn’t determine where you finish’. Although statistically the odds were stacked against him, Stewart used the sport of baseball to transcend statistics and become a compassionate, engaged member of society. 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 had came from people in the community noticing his talent and helping him find the resources to use his talent to beat the odds.

Now Stewart is doing the same for inner city teens in Atlanta through his nonprofit organization, L.E.A.D. (Launch, Expose, Advise, Direct). Through L.E.A.D., Stewart is providing a way for talented inner city middle school and high school aged student athletes to use baseball as a means of paying for college and to promote excellence in academics, service and civic engagement amongst this age group. L.E.A.D.’s ultimate goal is to develop college bound, civically engaged student athletes who are prepared to be positive change agents in their communities and world. Like Stewart’s family, the families that L.E.A.D. serves don’t have the discretionary income necessary to create these educational opportunities through baseball for their sons, but through L.E.A.D., these deserving families have a proven system that is creating a formal pipeline from inner city baseball fields to college baseball fields all over the country. To date, 87% of L.E.A.D.’s Ambassador Student Athletes have received college baseball scholarship opportunities and 100% are enrolled in college programs. Stewart’s way of saying ‘Thank you!’ to those who helped him stay on the right path is to pay that blessing forward and create the same opportunities for Atlanta youth today and into the future.

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