Kelli Stewart was born in Atlanta and raised for most of her life in Oglethorpe County, a rural community just outside of Athens, Georgia. Although both parents were not a consistent fixture in her life, Stewart’s Grandmother, Ms. Amy Lou Faust, provided a stable and nurturing home environment where she raised Kelli to have an old soul that has served her well in life.
Stewart is a graduate of Cedar Shoals High School in Athens, GA, and credits her participation in R.O.T.C. to keep her on the mostly straight and narrow. Through the watchful care and guidance of her R.O.T.C. Instructor, Sgt. Fincher, along with Ms. Sue Lee (English Teacher) and Shirley Daniel (Guidance Counselor) Stewart graduated from Cedar Shoals in 1996 and went on to study at Georgia State University. She completed her undergraduate studies at Kennesaw State University in 2011, where she earned a bachelor’s degree from the Coles College of Business with honors. In addition to her degree, Stewart holds a wealth of knowledge regarding sport-based youth development as a resource for social justice and the impact sports have on the social-emotional development of youth.
Today, Stewart, and her husband, C.J. Stewart, oversee two business ventures they started together. Through Diamond Directors, they train and develop some of the country’s top amateur and professional baseball athletes; Jason Heyward (Cubs), Dexter Fowler (Cardinals), and Tyler Flowers (Braves) are a few notable professional clients. Through L.E.A.D., they train and develop some of Atlanta’s hidden treasures in Atlanta Public Schools. L.E.A.D. provides inner-city boys with the same opportunities to excel in life through baseball as the Stewarts’ Diamond Directors clients, focusing on accessing higher education and community leadership. To date, L.E.A.D. Ambassadors have achieved a 100% high school graduate ratio, 90% college enrollment rate, 93% scholarship rate (academic and athletic).
Stewart and her husband have two beautiful daughters, Mackenzi (Southern University) and Mackenna (The Lovett School). Together, they continue to “give back” in hopes of advancing the lives of deserving inner-city youth to transform communities through baseball.