1) Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up?
I was born and raised in East St. Louis, but now live on the south side of St. Louis in the Botanical Heights neighborhood.
2) Tell us about your family! What was it like the moment you became a dad?
I have a wife, Daphne, and a ten-year-old son, Kellen. We call him Kelz. Becoming a dad was the greatest moment of my life!
3) Tell us about The Access Foundation, the organization you’re president of. We would love to know more!
The Access Foundation is my not for profit that I launched a few years back. It centers around providing access to underrepresented communities in the form of Food and Nutrition, STEM Education, and Professional Development. At this time, we would be focusing on College Day Tours, but due to Covid-19, the focus has shifted to getting food in the hands of the families impacted by Covid-19. We kicked off our Food Delivery and Distribution on June 11th and will service several locations in the St. Louis metropolitan area throughout the summer, including East St. Louis. We are still focusing on Professional Development, and we have a “First 30 Days of College” Zoom series kicking off on June 25th for high seniors about to head to college.
In addition, I am the president of the 100 Black Men of Metro St. Louis. Our mission is to provide opportunities to the underserved in the form of Health and Wellness, Economic Empowerment, Leadership, and Education. We are currently partnering with People’s Health to provide free Covid-19 testing. We are also kicking off our free Summer Meals Program for kids on Thursday, June 18th.
4) What do you love about St. Louis? What do you dislike?
I love the restaurant scene, the parks, and nightlife in the summer. I dislike the blatant and proud racism that people show. This is 2020, not 1951.
5) What’s your favorite spot to visit with your son?
My favorite spot with my son varies from month to month. He loves basketball, so he likes being on the court with his trainers, R.J., K.B., and Nate from W.I.T.T.S., Ronnie from STL R.I.S.E, and Eldin from XD Training, as well as playing on Tribe Called King, his basketball team. He also loves to go to Fusion and other trampoline and gaming centers in the area.
6) Do you have a mentor or role model you look up to?
I look up to my mother, Jean, and my brother, Harlan. My mother has always been a hard worker and has a big heart. I get both of those traits from her.
7) What is your cause or passion?
My passion is empowering the next generation. If you follow me, you’ll find that I spend much of my extra time pouring into the youth and my mentees.
8) What is something you think is misunderstood about dads?
The most misunderstood thing about Dads is that we don’t care about the little things. We do, but we spend most of our energy on the big things. The little things can’t happen without the big things.
9) What is one thing you think could make a huge difference toward racial healing and reconciliation in St. Louis?
I would say conversation would help. In the last few weeks, this is the first time in my life that I have had calls from white colleagues wanting to have a conversation about race or admitting that they have been supporting racism by being passive or just “hoping for the best.”
10) What hope do you have for the next generation?
I hope to have a safe and healthy place for them to thrive and be anything that they want to be.
Keithen Stallings is from East St. Louis, IL., and currently resides in St. Louis City’s south side. He is married to his beautiful wife, Daphne, and they have one son, Kellen. He is a graduate of Illinois State University with a BS in Communications. He is the Founder and CEO of his own not-for-profit, The Access Foundation, to provide access and opportunity to underprivileged students and the current President of the 100 Black Men of Metropolitan St. Louis and the STEM Early Talent Lead at Danaher in Washington D.C.. He has been a recipient of the Salute to Young Leaders Award, selected as one of The Power 100 of most influential young professionals in St. Louis, a graduate of the Consortium for Leadership Development, keynote speaker at the Alonzo Mourning Winter Summit, host of KETC Phenomenal Kids Awards and serves as a mentor to teens, collegiates, and professionals in St. Louis and around the country.
Keithen successfully launched St. Louis Employment Network, an online group on LinkedIn to support the need to employment assistance during the economic downturn and layoff period in the St. Louis area. He also launched the Black HR Network, an online group created to become a platform for minority HR professionals to assist and guide diverse talent, and give employment opportunities to individuals seeking employment across the country.