Passionate, driven, focused, inspirational – four words that
perfectly describe Stacey Key. A businesswoman to the core,
she grew up talking finance and business with her parents.
She took advantage of opportunities that ultimately led her to
represent Georgia’s Fifth Congressional
District on the State Transportation
Board, a seat she’s held since 2013.
Key, the CEO of a non-profit that aims
to help small businesses prosper,
believes personal growth and taking
risks were keys to her success.
Change is important. The world is
changing around us every day. You
need to be innovative, collaborative
and open to new ways of doing things.
Don’t be afraid to take balanced risks
because it’s okay to fail ... it’s an
opportunity to learn and grow. We need
to think outside the box. Don’t be afraid
of change – change keeps you fresh.
Falling into place. Born in Louisville, Kentucky and growing
up in Minneapolis, Key moved to Georgia to pursue an
opportunity at IBM that launched her career in technology.
I didn’t know that was what I wanted to do, but my parents
got relocated to Atlanta and their neighbor mentioned that
IBM was looking for students and co-ops. My dad told me
to apply. I did and I got hired. So I moved to Atlanta, started
grad school at Georgia State University and started as a
co-op student at IBM.
Following the path. Most paths encounter a fork, but Key
always knew the direction she wanted to go. I’m focused and
passionate, so I was clear on my journey and intent on the
things I wanted to accomplish. I knew early on that I wanted
to be in business, ultimately as the CEO of an organization.
As a mother, along the journey I made the decision to leave
corporate America - and the associated hustle and bustle
and travel - to be a more engaged parent. I rerouted my
path – that’s when I went into the non-profit world and
accomplished my dream.
Motivated to help others succeed. I help small businesses
grow. Every single day when my feet hit the floor, I’m excited
– there’s something new, something different. There’s nothing
greater than seeing a $1 million dollar business grow into a
$10 or $50 or $100 million business. I get to see that every
single day. That motivates me, inspires me and encourages
me to do what I do. There is nothing better.
Infected with the bug. Key caught the transportation
bug from a friend who worked in the industry years ago.
My friend and I would always talk about transportation
programs and initiatives. Then I was approached to help with
a local SPLOST initiative. I got involved with education and
engagement efforts targeting small businesses. As a result
of the success, the bug took over and I
jumped at the chance to represent the
Fifth Congressional District on the State
Family foundations. Younger generations
are the future of our nation and investing in
their success is important to Key. My family
started a foundation in my father’s name
at his alma mater - the Dunwoody College
of Technology, formerly the Dunwoody
Institute, in Minneapolis - to support young,
budding engineers. We also established
a scholarship in my late sister’s name at
the Grady College of Journalism at the
University of Georgia.
Once in a blue moon. It doesn’t happen often, but when it
does, Key knows how to kick back and relax. I like to cook,
although I don’t get the opportunity to do it as often as I’d
like. My signature is my mac and cheese, which my family
loves. Most of my free time is spent with family and friends
and the people I love, watching football or vegging on the
couch, which is rare – but awesome!
Why the caged bird sings. You can learn a lot about
a person from the people they look up to. I admire Maya
Angelou – her elegance, her grace and her ability to change
the narrative with her words. She had an aptitude to reshape
certain aspects of how we think based on her writing. She
brought people together – a collaborator, a unifier. Her words
were calming and comforting.