Best known for his high-profile relationship with Oprah, Stedman Graham has quietly built a reputation for community service

Kam Williams | 8/10/2010, 10:20 a.m.
Athletes Against Drugs (AAD) Founder Stedman Graham is pictured with local participants of his youth empowerment program. Larry Englehart

The curriculum that I teach encompasses all that. It’s especially pertinent to folks who already have an identity in terms of their job, their future employment or career path. [For more info, see Stedman’s book, “You Can Make It Happen: A Nine Step Plan for Success.”]

Do you support early childhood educational programs which help young African American males bridge the achievement gap, even before the first grade?

Totally! I have a 10-week program in the high schools, which we’d like to push down to the middle and elementary schools. And we also have a program for parents and teachers. So, we’re very much proponents of helping kids develop an identity as early as possible in their lives.

What is the lifestyle you see for yourself in 10 years?

I’d like to be able to travel around the world working with organizations and institutions to help educate as many people as possible about how to develop an identity for themselves and about how to find out who they are. And I’d like to teach them information making it relevant to their own development.  

Do you have any plans to come back to your hometown, Whitesboro, this summer?

I’ve been going back to Whitesboro, working in the community where I grew up, for the last 21 years. I haven’t missed a Labor Day celebration yet. And I don’t expect to this year.

What is your PR firm’s specialty?

We have a marketing and management consulting business. What we do is focus on the books that I’ve written and the content that I have, and other projects and ventures, including seminars, speaking engagements, online training and development, and on serving our strong existing client base to set up win-win situations.  

What’s your goal for the future?

My big goal is to develop a strong operational structure and alliances with our partners to build a better distribution network to deliver our content.

What advice do you have for those who’d like to start their own business in this challenging economic environment?

I would say, make sure you focus on what you love and what you’re passionate about, so that when times get tough, you can overcome that obstacle.

Are you still associated with Armstrong Williams and do you share his political perspective?

I’ve known him for a number of years. He’s been a friend of mine. I try to not allow my personal relationship with him as a friend get mixed up with his political aspirations. Also, I don’t make judgments about people just because they may have a different point-of-view from mine.

What is your most powerful, spiritual source of strength?

My most powerful, spiritual source of strength is knowing that God is love. So, when I focus on love, and put that in my heart, then I have the power of a strong, spiritual base and foundation.  

Do you think President Obama has handled the BP oil disaster well?

I think Obama has done a great job, based on what he was handed at the start of his administration. I also believe that he needs the support of the whole country. There are so many people trying to tear him down. America needs to come together as a country to figure out how we can support him as the president, including the BP disaster