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April 24, 2024 17 mins

Today’s guest Stacey D. Stewart, CEO of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) joins host Tommi A. Vincent on Radio Row during Super Bowl LVIII to discuss purpose driven leadership, her parents role in shaping her leadership, tapping into the sense of who you are as a leader, persevering through challenges, girl’s having access to compete in sports at the highest level, and more.

Stacey is intentional about living a life of service to others. A few of Stacey D. Stewart’s highlights:

•Purpose-driven leader: •Former President & CEO of Fannie Mae Foundation

•Former President of United Way

•Former President & CEO of March of Dimes

•Committed to working in the non-profit sector – has held director roles on 40 non-profit boards

•Focus on girls and sports “SportsMom” private family foundation

Host: Tommi A. Vincent  

Guests: Stacey D. Stewart, CEO MADD

Produced by: Tommi A. Vincent, Dimitri Golden, and Motion Hue Productions

Music By: Stichiz - Big T. Music / Roj & Twinkie


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Episode Transcript

Available transcripts are automatically generated. Complete accuracy is not guaranteed.
Speaker 1 (00:00):
Sitting with us at the table, we have Stacey D. Stewart,
CEO at Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.

Speaker 2 (00:09):
Enjoy our conversation.

Speaker 1 (00:12):
Take a seat, get comfortable because it's time to stay awhile.
I'm your host, Tommy Vincent, and I am here today
with Stacy Stewart. How are you today, Stacy?

Speaker 2 (00:23):

Speaker 3 (00:24):
Tommy, is so good to see. Great to be here. Yeah,
and look, I know you came straight from a flight.
Yeah I did so.

Speaker 2 (00:32):
I'm grateful.

Speaker 1 (00:33):
I'm honored that you've taken time to come and sentence
speak with No.

Speaker 2 (00:37):
I'm honored that you have me so thank you so much.
This is great, absolutely so.

Speaker 1 (00:42):
One of the things in our conversation that is extremely
important to me is to be able to talk about
who you are, not so much what you do, your
title and.

Speaker 2 (00:53):
All of those things. We know you are well accomplished.
But who is Stacy.

Speaker 3 (00:59):
Wow, that's a good question. People rarely ask me that,
so let me think about that for a minute.

Speaker 2 (01:07):
Well, you know, I'm the daughter of.

Speaker 3 (01:11):
Two really great parents, one of whom is still here,
one of whom is is not is passed on. And uh,
you know, I am I'm a mom, a wife, I'm
an executive. I am uh devoted to girls in sports,

and I can talk more about that that comes out
of me being a mom, But mostly I'm just like
a fun, you know person. I love I love I
love sports in general. It's a big passion of mine,
and I just send somebody who loves to give back.
I mean, I've always in some ways my personal life

and my professional life are very intertwined, and I've always
said that you know your personal passions on online with
your professional pursuits.

Speaker 2 (02:09):
So my work speaks a lot about who I am.

Speaker 3 (02:13):
I transitioned, you know, back in ninety nine into being
more on the nonprofit side of things.

Speaker 2 (02:20):
I was before that.

Speaker 4 (02:21):
I was.

Speaker 3 (02:23):
I had gone to business school, I worked on Wall Street,
I worked for Fannie may I worked in corporate and
then I became head of the Fanny Mae Foundation. That
launched me into non profit and philanthropy for me, though
it wasn't ever really a big difference because even when
I was working on Wall Street, I worked in an

area called public finances, okay, which was unlike corporate finance
is raising money for companies and mergers and acquisitions, I
would raise money for local and state governments. For roads
and bridges and schools and hospitals, right, because that was
who I was. My father was a physician, was very

active in the civil rights movement, and he kind of
left me with this. He and my mom really shaped
me into being the kind of person that whatever you
do professionally.

Speaker 2 (03:15):
It's not enough, it's not enough.

Speaker 3 (03:18):
You have to extend beyond.

Speaker 2 (03:22):
Just your work to do things for the community, for
other people. Right.

Speaker 3 (03:26):
And so for me, you know, my life has been
intertwined with, you know, really a life of service, even
in my work, even in what I'm doing now as
the CEO of Mothers Against Struck Driving. So I don't
know if that's who I am at There's probably some
deeper levels of it, but that's a little bit of one.

Speaker 2 (03:47):
Yeah, So you have a servance heart.

Speaker 1 (03:49):
And when I'm listening to you talk and you're talking
about the things you're doing and even from the for
profit to the nonprofit world, and I don't even agree
with the statement of non profit right, Oh, I know,
it's all about impact work.

Speaker 2 (04:03):
That's you have the ability to do.

Speaker 4 (04:05):
That's right, but it requires a level of service and
that takes a special heart, being willing to be committed
to that level of work because it's a constant pour out.

Speaker 2 (04:17):
Absolutely absolutely, How do you sustain the ability to be
a giver?

Speaker 3 (04:25):
Yeah, well, you know, it doesn't ever feel like you're
for me. It doesn't ever feel like you're pouring out.
I mean, when you're in service to others, you get
I feel like you get more out of it than
probably what you're giving. And so it's not a dram
for me, you know, when I can see that I'm
making an impact in the world in some way, and

for me my career has.

Speaker 2 (04:48):
I've worked in the area of.

Speaker 3 (04:49):
Education, affordable housing, homelessness, financial stability, healthcare, maternal infant health,
and now working on the issue of an ending and
pair drive. I like, I have wanted to do a
lot of different good in the world, you know, I
haven't been stuck and just I only want to do
this kind of good and this kind of way if

you mess my life, you know, yeah, yeah, because I
think there's so much that has to be done, you know,
and I enjoy learning about so many parts of society
and community and where there's so much need, even learning
so much now about how in pair driving is still
such a crisis on our roads and how it's still
killing thirteen thousand people and injuring hundreds of thousands more

every single year. You know, someone dying every seventy nine
seconds from an A pair driving accident. You know, this
was an area that I wasn't that familiar with. I mean,
I knew it, we all know it at some level,
but I didn't know it at the level that I'm
learning it now, and so that it's actually exhilarating to
be finding ways to make this issue eventually go away,

but certainly to improve it because it's saving lives.

Speaker 2 (06:00):
You know.

Speaker 3 (06:01):
I felt that way when I was at marchin and Drives.
I felt that way when I was a United Way
and Infanny May I just I don't And I think
if I didn't wake up every day knowing that I
would be able to give back and help other people
or improve my community, I don't know that it would
be that fulfilling.

Speaker 2 (06:15):
I mean, why would you get up every day? Just?

Speaker 3 (06:17):
I mean, of course you have to make money. You
have to pay your mortgage and your rent or whatever,
you know, your car note or whatever. Sure you could
do that, right, but is that really for me? That's
not my call it, you know, that's just not my purpose.

Speaker 1 (06:31):
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Speaker 2 (07:00):
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Speaker 1 (07:04):
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Speaker 2 (07:32):
So I know you're a purpose driven leader.

Speaker 1 (07:35):
Yeah, and all of the things that you talked about
in the different areas where you've had the ability to
make impact, there's a driving force behind that. When you
say that you are a purpose driven leader. What is
the purpose? What's the foundation of that?

Speaker 2 (07:52):

Speaker 3 (07:53):
Well, I you know, I think, first of all, to
go back to my parents, it's something that was instilled
in me early in life.

Speaker 2 (08:00):
My mother was my mother was a stay at home mom.

Speaker 3 (08:05):
At first she was trained as a pharmacist, and then
she had kids during that time when men were sort
of like stay at home.

Speaker 2 (08:15):
We don't want you out working, you know.

Speaker 3 (08:17):
And my father was a position so he did, he worked,
and she stayed at home. And I think she was
pretty bored by that. By the time I got to
be old enough, she was ready to get out. So
she became the first African American leader of the Atlanta
Fulton County Legal Women Voters, which was a pretty big

deal at the time. And then she moved into running
for office. She was known as a good government, very
ethical leader, and so she got elected the city council.

Speaker 2 (08:47):
She ran for mayor of Atlanta in nineteen ninety three.

Speaker 3 (08:50):
She lost, but she as a woman, she paved the
way for Akeisha Lance Bottoms and for Shirley Franklin and
others that came after. Her father was a physician but
also had done a lot to desegregate hospitals in the
nineteen sixties. He was head of the INAACP in Atlanta

for a period of time. So again I had these
role models of people that were in really big shoes
to feel really big shoes to fail, and you know,
it's funny and it does seem like big shoes to feel,
but for me, it was just they were just great
models of like, this is how you're supposed to live
your life, right. And then on top of it, I
had my own spiritual growth over a period of time,

and I, you know, really developed a sense of connection
to you know, my purpose and why I'm why I'm here,
and and I think, uh, you know, I tap into
that little voice inside me that says, yes, Stacy, you
should do that and no, Stay, you shouldn't do that.

Speaker 2 (09:51):
Because there's always that little voice in us. It's just
whether or.

Speaker 3 (09:54):
Not we choose to listen to absolutely, you know, and
that little voice is whoever we think is our higher
power or you know, our our spiritual source. And I
and that has sort of guided me, you know, in
my career and in my life, you know, in ways
that I hope I've created a great model for my
daughters too. But for me, again, it's just, uh, I

could be doing a lot of different things.

Speaker 2 (10:21):
I'm sure I could be in maybe other careers.

Speaker 3 (10:26):
When I was between my first and second years of
business school, I worked at City Corp.

Speaker 2 (10:31):
In what it was called the leveraged buyout group.

Speaker 3 (10:33):
This is just a group you know, that was buying
out companies and stripping out the value, you know, stripping
out everything to create the value.

Speaker 2 (10:41):
And I mean it was just pretty hardcore corporate finance.

Speaker 3 (10:46):
And I got an offer to go back and work
for them after I finished school, but I held out
my entire second year until I got an offer in
public finance because I just knew that that was raising
money for companies just for people to make money, versus
raising money for governments to do something good for someone else.
The latter seemed like the right in the right path

for me, right, So anyway, you know, I just think
that purpose people talk about purpose driven leader, I think
it's just, uh, it really is just tapping into the
sense of who you are as a person and making
an effort to not have any kind of barrier standing
your way that block you from fulfilling that works and

doing it at the highest level that you can, right,
Because it's not like you're not going to have challenges
along the way. You definitely are, I mean I definitely have,
but you know, you just keep going because there's some there's.

Speaker 2 (11:44):
A greater calling. How did you persevere through the challenges.
Oh boy.

Speaker 3 (11:50):
Well, you know, having a having a family, a husband, daughters,
a dog definitely help. Having that spiritual life definitely heals.

Speaker 1 (12:03):
You know.

Speaker 2 (12:03):
And I just really, you know, I just reflect on history.
We're in Black History months, so I can talk about this.

Speaker 3 (12:08):
You know, I'm like, look, whatever, the little stuff I
go through does not nearly compare to the kinds of
things that my ancestors or folks that came for me had,
you know, you know, I think about my own parents,
you know, growing up in jim Crow. You know, who
has to worry about even traveling or being out in

I mean, couldn't move freely through Georgia in South Carolina
or Louisiana where my mother went to school, you know,
without the fear of losing their lives or something happened.
Right in some ways, we still have that issue today.
You know, we still have a lot of people can't
move through communities safely, correct, right, But it's not the

same kind of challenge today that that folks had, my grandparents,
great grandparents and others. It's certainly going all the way
back hundreds of years and we come through a lot.
So you have to put these things in perspective, there's
nothing we have first world problems today. We have a
lot of challenges. We all face a lot of problems

in our life, but they are not you know, we
could just we still can look and say, look how
far we've come, right as a people. I look at
that in terms of my own life. Yeah, I can't
believe I'll be sixty years old this year. So that's
the other thing. It's like, you turn sixty years old,
it's like, I mean, it's kind of downhill from here.

Speaker 2 (13:30):
No, no, look, you still on.

Speaker 3 (13:33):
The other side of the mountain right now, so you
might as well just take it. E.

Speaker 1 (13:40):
So what about this space of girls in sports? Oh
my gosh, where did this come from? Your desire to
be an advocate in that space?

Speaker 3 (13:47):
Yeah, well it started with my daughters who were athletes.
My older daughter was a three sport athlete and played
everything basketball, volleyball, ran track, she was equestrian. My younger daughter,
she always says, look, there's a difference between being an
athlete in playing sports, but she did play lacrosse and
I'm gonna tell you, for I don't know, fifteen years

of going to every single game, every tournament, driving them
around like I've rarely missed anything, right, you know, I
would see the issues of my girls who were fortunate
enough to be in schools that had all the resources,
and you know, they had plenty of resources to pursue

whatever they wanted to pursue, playing against teams where that
wasn't necessarily true in neighborhoods or communities where that where
those communities didn't have all the resources, right, And what
you see is a real talent gap, right, So it's
not as if the girls in these other communities don't
have the same level of talents. All these girls are talented.
It's just do they have the resources to compete at

the highest level? Do the other kids have resources to
do strength and conditioning outside of what's available at school?

Speaker 2 (14:58):
You know?

Speaker 3 (14:59):
Do they have money to go for teen fees? Do
they have money for travel? Do they have money for
academic tutoring? All the things that today athletes need in
order to compete at the highest level and to get
college scholarships. Many girls lack the resources. It's not that
they lack the talent or the desire. And so I
started Sportsman Foundation. Really, my husband got me going on this,

started a foundation as if you don't have enough, Like
this is not my day job, right, this is totally
like my personal passion. But I just decided that it
was a good idea to raise money to actually invest
in girls being able to compete at the highest level
to become college recuit ready.

Speaker 2 (15:40):
So we have thirteen.

Speaker 3 (15:40):
Girls, actually twelve technically right now, because one girl graduated
from high school this past June, and she's running track
at BMI. She's actually a jumper, she's triple jump and
long jump at vm I in Virginia.

Speaker 2 (15:55):
And we have twelve other girls.

Speaker 3 (15:57):
We have six basketball girls, five volleyball girls, who've gotten
one soccer girl. Okay, and uh, all the girls are
black and brown girls, and uh they're amazing. And I
hope that our support, nurturing and all of that will
help get them to the next level.

Speaker 2 (16:16):
How do how are the girls identify?

Speaker 3 (16:19):
So, uh, they apply, We've We've created a couple of
rounds of applications. They applied, they had to write an essay,
they had to have coaches recommendations, they had tryouts and we.

Speaker 2 (16:31):
Selected girls that way.

Speaker 3 (16:33):
And then I had a board and we had a
bunch of helpers and advisors, you know, the help and
and and they've been We've just had tremendous support and
it's been great, you know. I it's not something that
I would replace with my day job at mother's againstruct driving,
but it is something that since we're in the sports environment,
it is kind of a nice thing to, you know,

stay very connected to sports in some way.

Speaker 1 (16:57):
Yeah. Absolutely, and especially there's this push especially where flag
NFL flag is consered, so that's.

Speaker 3 (17:05):
Another we we really I really would love to branch
into flag football.

Speaker 2 (17:09):
Okay, yeah, yeah, yes, so that's the next picture. Listen.

Speaker 1 (17:15):
It sounds to me just based off of what you
have done, that's just going to be a box that's
going to be checked soon.

Speaker 2 (17:23):

Speaker 1 (17:24):
I am so grateful that you took time to join
me here at the stairwell table. And absolutely my table's
always open to you. Thank you so much for your time,
and thank you for doing this and.

Speaker 3 (17:35):
Just creating a space for people to tell their stories.

Speaker 2 (17:38):
And you're amazing and your story is amazing. I appreciate it.
Thank you, Thank you for joining me.

Speaker 3 (17:43):
Yeah, absolutely, thank you. Gone
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