Childhood & Early Life
Stedman Graham, Jr. is the son of Mary Jacobs Graham and Stedman Graham, Jr. He was born in Middle Township, New Jersey on March 6, 1951. He has five siblings among whom he is the eldest.
He received his early education from local schools in New Jersey before attending the Hardin-Simmons University in Texas and obtaining a bachelor’s degree in Social Work from there in 1974. While there, he played college basketball and represented his university. He went on to receive a master’s degree in Education from Ball State University in Indiana in 1979.
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Graham started his career right after obtaining his master degree from Ball State University. He moved from Indiana to North Carolina pursuing a career in Public Relations and immediately got a job at B & C Associates. He established himself very quickly as the go to man for Black causes. His sincerity and hard work did not go unnoticed and very early in his career he was working with stalwarts such as Maya Angelou, and Winnie Mandela, who eventually became the head of the African National Congress Women’s League.
In 1985, Graham founded the Athletes Against Drugs (AAD), a youth-oriented non-profit organization in Chicago, Illinois. Since its inception, AAD has helped thousands of young people and has granted over $1.5 million in scholarships. One of the primary aims of AAD, apart from providing scholarships to those who need it, is spreading awareness about, and preventing substance abuse among the youth. AAD arranges for world famous athletes and sportspersons in order to carry that task forward.
Three years after founding the AAD, Graham found the S.Graham & Associates in 1988. Based out of Chicago, Illinois, S.Graham & Associates is a management and consulting firm that specializes in educational and corporate marketing. Graham serves as the CEO of the company to this day.
In around 30 years of its existence, the company’s track record and credibility is enviable, and it boasts of a clientele that is extraordinary by any standards. It includes Merill Lynch, Harvard Business School, Apollo Group, Monster.com, the U.S Departments of Education and Labor to name a few.
Graham also founded the My Life Is About Foundation in 2008. This non-profit foundation helps teenagers and young adults to achieve the highest potential that they are capable of.
Graham is also a bestselling author with eleven books to his name. His books are primarily self-help and motivational books which have helped millions of people overcome major obstacles in life. He has also written entrepreneurial books addressing key issues in building and sustaining businesses. His first book came out in 1995 and the latest to hit the shelf was in 2012.
His noted books are The Ultimate Guide to Sport Event Management and Marketing (1995), You Can Make It Happen: A Nine Step Plan for Success (1997), You Can Make It Happen Every Day (1998), Teens Can Make It Happen: Nine Steps for Success (2000), Teens Can Make It Happen Workbook (2001), The Ultimate Guide to Sports Marketing (2001), Build Your Own Life Brand!: A Powerful Strategy to Maximize Your Potential and Enhance Your Value for Ultimate Achievement (2002), Move Without the Ball: Put Your Skills and Your Magic to Work for You (2004), Who Are You? (2005), Diversity: Leaders Not Labels: A New Plan for the 21st Century (2006), and Identity: Your Passport to Success (2012).
Graham is also very active in the field of education. He has been an adjunct professor at some of USA’s top universities, including the University of Illinois, Chicago where he taught a leadership course, and the Northwestern University where he taught a management course.
He is also the brain behind George Washington University’s Forum for Sport and Event Management and Marketing. He served as the director of the department for several years.
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Apart from his books, Graham has been a published writer elsewhere too. He wrote a column for the Huffington Post on personal identity. It was published in 2013.
He is also a motivational speaker and has delivered many lectures worldwide. His major focus is on personal development, leadership qualities and personal identity. He has travelled around the globe and delivered lectures in multiple universities and major corporations.
Currently, in addition to being the CEO of S.Graham & Associates, he is an adjunct professor at the Full Sail University.
Personal Life & Legacy
Graham married Glenda Graham in 1974 and had a daughter with her, Wendy Graham. Wendy was born shortly after their marriage, in 1975. The marriage ended soon after and the couple shared the custody of their daughter.
Graham started dating TV anchor, Robin Robinson, in 1982 and the couple was inseparable for around three years. They would be seen together everywhere and became the toast for the tabloids. However, this relationship did not last very long either and they parted ways in 1985.
Graham is probably most famous for his relationship with media mogul, Oprah Winfrey. Oprah needs no introduction. She has redefined the way talk shows have been viewed in the US and the world. Graham started dating her in 1986 and they have sailed strong ever since. For over 30 years, Oprah and Graham have been together without actually marrying each other. They did get engaged in 1992 but they haven’t been ever been married. When asked about it, Graham said that he believed in their ‘spiritual union’, which does not require the validation of marriage.
Graham recently became a grandfather as well, when Wendy gave birth to her daughter, Cadence, in May 2015. Graham shares a very warm relationship with his daughter who currently works at S. Graham & Associates. Wendy is also quite close to Oprah and has worked for her as well in the past.